Being a woman in the male-dominated world of poker is certainly not easy, but plenty of female poker players have managed to be a part of this world and thrive in it. Also, the number of female players has been rising in recent years, although only about 5% of players registered in tournaments are female.
This makes the feats of the top female poker players we will look at here even more amazing, as they have defied the odds and succeeded in competition against the very best poker players in the world.
This is the list of the 10 best woman poker players who have ever played the game, both in terms of their tournament results and earnings and their overall skills, contribution to the game, and fame. Let’s get started!
Born in 1984, Vanessa Selbst emerged on the poker scene in 2006 as part of a generation of young players inspired by the Poker Boom and the massive growth of televised and online poker.
Over her first two years in live poker circles, Vanessa made three WSOP final tables and even got a third-place finish in the $5k WSOP Heads Up Championship.
In 2008, Vanessa won the first of her three WSOP bracelets in a $1,500 PLO event, which she followed up with a 2012 win in a $2,500 10-Game tournament. Her third bracelet came in a $25k Mixed-Max NLH event.
Vanessa played poker professionally for only 10 years but managed to amass almost $12 million in tournament winnings, putting her firmly in the number one spot of the female poker players tournament winnings list.
Her WSOP success was followed by a number of other wins and deep finishes in tournaments across different tours and festivals around the world.
Apart from her success in poker, Selbst also received a JD Degree from Yale University, making her one of the few professional poker players with such a high level of education.
Selbst quit her career as a professional poker player in 2016 and only made scarce appearances since, but recently announced she would be coming back to poker as part of the WSOP Thrill Team, a group of top-notch players put in charge of promoting the brand.
The return of Vanessa Selbst to poker may be bad news for many other female poker players who were hoping to overtake her on the all-time money list, as we can expect her to start climbing the ladder once again as early as summer 2023.
Born in 1967 in Nashville, Tennessee, Kathy Liebert has stood the test of time and managed to make one of the longest-standing poker careers of all players in the world, male or female.
PokerKat, as she is often called, started her poker career back in 1994 in low-stakes tournaments in Las Vegas, where she was instantly a dominant figure and a regular final table finisher.
It took a few years of grinding it out, but in 1997 Kathy was playing heads-up for a WSOP bracelet in a $3k NLH event. She lost that battle to Max Stern, but her poker career was just getting started. Over the next few years, Kathy continued to do well in the lower buyins, but it would take until 2002 for her big break.
That year, she won the inaugural $8,000 Limit Hold’em PartyPoker Million for a cool million dollars, instantly propelling her into the ranks of poker royalty.
Interestingly, Liebert continued to grind hard in the lower buyin tournaments throughout her career, which has led her near the top of the “number of cashes” leaderboard, which is another impressive feat.
She won her first and only WSOP bracelet in a 2004 Limit Hold’em Shootout event, which was worth $110,000 and a place in the poker history books.
With countless tournament cashes, including numerous online results in recent years, Kathy Leibert has cemented her name as one of the best woman poker players ever to have lived.
Kristen Foxen (Bicknell) learned the ropes of poker at a very young age and was already playing in live tournaments at the age of 21, but only truly burst onto the scene in 2013 when she took down the WSOP Ladies Championship for her first WSOP bracelet.
This score may have kick-started her poker career, but the next couple of years were not too big for Kristen, who only scored a few live tournament cashes before winning her first open WSOP event in 2016 and cashing for another $290,000.
Holding two WSOP titles so early in her career was huge for the young Canadian player, who was quickly on route to becoming one of the top female poker players who ever played the game.
In 2017, Kristen won a $5,200 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic event in Vegas for $199,000 and her first WPT title.
She married one of the best high-stakes poker players in the world, Alex Foxen, took his last name and continued to crush poker tournaments just as hard, if not harder, than before.
In 2020, She won her first-ever online WSOP bracelet and her third in total, this time taking down $356,000 in a $2.5k 6-Max event.
Today, she is a regular in the high-stakes tournament circuit and one of the top poker players in the world all around, with tournament winnings coming close to $6,000,000.
Kristen has the potential to eventually become the top female poker player of all time, as she is still very young and motivated to compete, which definitely gives her more than a fair shot.
Born in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1983, Maria Ho is easily one of the world's most recognizable female poker players, as her poker skills and TV appearances have made her somewhat of a celebrity in the industry.
Like so many others, Maria got her poker beginnings in 2005 and 2006, during the Poker Boom years, when she recorded her first tournament cashes.
Over the years, Ho had traveled the world and pursued her career as a professional tournament poker player, first coming close to a major honor in 2011 when she came second in a $5k NLH event at the WSOP for $540,000 after failing to beat Allen Bari in a heads up match.
Maria is one of the few female poker players who have also excelled in mixed games, as she scored countless scores in mixed games events at the WSOP and beyond.
While her skills as a player certainly define who Maria is, her side gigs as a poker host and commentator have also earned her quite a bit of fame among her peers. Over the years, Ho has hosted or commentated on poker shows such as Heartland Poker Tour, World Series of Poker, US Poker Open, Poker Masters, and more.
In 2019, Maria was named the Global Poker Awards Broadcaster of the Year, a title she more than earned with her successful TV performances.
Hoping to help all future women poker players, Maria also wrote a chapter in the book “Winning Women of Poker: Secret Strategies Revealed,” which may well be one of the best sources of information for all the ladies looking to get into the game.
Olivia Boeree was born in 1984 in Kent and has shown an affinity for mathematics and sciences since the earliest years. She earned a First Class Honors degree in Physics and Astrophysics and played the guitar in a heavy metal band before even starting her poker career, earning her the nickname “Iron Maiden.”
As most people call her, Liv got her poker start on a poker-themed reality show Ultimatepoker.com Showdown, which gave her a chance to meet and get training from famous poker pros such as Phil Hellmuth and Dave Ulliott.
Liv fell in love with the game and started playing whenever she could, resulting in some reasonable scores between 2007 and 2010. In 2010, however, Liv’s life changed forever as she entered the EPT San Remo Main Event in Italy and won the first-place prize worth nearly $1,700,000.
After this win, Boeree was instantly one of the world's most famous female poker players, and the story of a female astrophysicist who took down well over a million bucks at the poker tables quickly spread.
Before long, Liv was one of the most famous poker players around, as she continued to travel the world, play the game, and spread positive vibes wherever she went.
In 2010, Liv captured her first WSOP bracelet in the $10,000 Tag Team Championship, which she played with her partner Igor Kurganov, a famous professional poker player from Russia.
Boeree has been less active in poker in recent years and more dedicated to her other interests, but her $3.8 million in tournament winnings still make her one of the best female poker players out there to this day.
Born in 1988, Annette Oberstad burst onto the poker scene in 2007. At the age of just 19 and having only played a few live poker tournaments to date, the Norwegian traveled to London and took down the WSOPE Main Event for a cool million pounds, beating a stacked field of 362 experienced poker players.
Just a month later, Oberstad was on the brink of another huge success, as she came second at EPT Dublin Main Event, taking home nearly $430,000 for her score.
Having won nearly $2.5 million in those two events alone, Oberstand became an instant star in the poker world, with her youth and aggressive playing style inspiring thousands of young people to follow in her footsteps.
Annette continued to have major success in both live and online poker tournaments but decided to leave her poker career on a high, with the 2018 WSOP being her last recorded tournament stop.
Today, Oberstad hosts a successful YouTube channel specializing in makeup tutorials and reviews, focusing on what makes her happy in her private life.
Despite no longer playing poker actively, Annette Oberstad is one of the best female players ever played and remains the youngest player to win a WSOP bracelet.
Vanessa Rousso was born in White Plains, New York, in 1983 and has built a successful career as a professional poker player that spans over a decade. Often called Lady Maverick by her fans and fellow players, Vanessa started her poker career in 2005, just like many of her female poker-playing peers.
Her career culminated in her biggest tournament poker win, which amounted to $700,000 in the 2009 EPT Monte Carlo High Roller Championship.
During her career, Rousso accumulated over $3.5 million in winnings at the tournament tables but was also one of the few female poker players who successfully played in high-stakes cash games.
Vanessa played some famous TV poker hands against the likes of Tony G and managed to cement a name for herself in the poker history books before going relatively off the grid in 2017.
She holds dual citizenship in USA and France, was a contestant on several reality shows, including Big Brother, and had working relationships with PokerStars, GoDaddy.com, and Sports Illustrated during her long and exhaustive career.
You can’t have a serious conversation about the top female poker players in the history of the game without the name Jennifer Harman coming up. Born in 1964 in Reno, Nevada, Jennifer Harman is a true legend of the game and a player who had dominated the poker tables long before poker was so widely popular.
A cash game specialist, Jennifer started playing poker back in the nineties, with limit mixed games being her forte.
Despite focusing on cash games whenever possible, Harman managed to capture two WSOP bracelets in 2000 and 2002 in NL Deuce to Seven and Limit Hold’em events.
Never one to focus too much on No Limit Hold’em, Harman still managed to hold her own against the world's best in this game and accumulated $2.8 million in tournament winnings over her career.
Those who know Jennifer closer know she's won far more than that in some of the biggest mixed-game cash games in Vegas, where she has been a regular feature for decades.
Today, Harman remains one of the best female poker players to ever sit at the green felt and is one of the few women inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame, an honor she was given in 2015.
Another successful female poker player from England, Victoria Coren, was born in London in 1972 and made her poker start in the early 2000s.
Victoria has traveled the world playing poker but has focused mainly on tournaments happening on her home soil, where she won the biggest prize of her life in 2006 at EPT London. On that occasion, Coren won nearly a million dollars and her first EPT title.
The feat alone would perhaps not be as impressive if she did not go ahead and win another EPT Main Event in 2014 in San Remo, adding another $660,000 to her bankroll and proving to the poker world she was not a one-hit wonder.
Victoria remains a feature in the tournament poker circuit today and is one of the community's most prominent female poker players.
If you want to talk about poker players who are still active and have stood the test of time, Barbara Enright’s name comes right next to that of Doyle Brunson.
Born in 1949, Barbara started playing poker in the 1970s and has had a career in the game spanning more than five decades.
Her first appearances in recorded tournaments go as far back as 1986, which was the year she won her first WSOP bracelet in the $500 Women’s 7 Card Stud event.
She repeated this feat in 1994, winning her second bracelet and once again beating the other ladies at Seven Card Stud while regularly winning tournaments across America with open participation for both men and women.
In 1995, Barbara Enright placed 5th at the WSOP Main Event, won $110,000, and played side by side with Dan Harrington, that year’s Main Event champion. In 1996, she added a third bracelet to her cabinet, this time taking down the $2,500 PLH event, good for $180,000 in cash.
Barbara’s countless wins and final table finishes over various poker games are certainly impressive, but not half as impressive as the fact that she has remained an active poker player for more than 50 years.
Enright booked an ITM finish at the 2022 WSOP at the age of 73, showing she still has the skills and the wits that have made her one of the most recognizable female poker players in the world.
She may be number ten on our list of top female poker players, but Barbara's place in poker history is forever written, and no amount of tournament cashes will allow any other lady to catch up to her status in the poker community anytime soon.
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