An Exclusive Interview with Poker Pro Vanessa "Lady Maverick" Rousso

Vanessa Rousso
Vanessa Rousso Playing in Day 1 of the $5,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Split Event

Vanessa Rousso is one of poker's brightest new stars. Known online and on the poker circuit as the Lady Maverick of Poker or "Vanessa the Dresser," Rousso stands out in a crowded poker room with her trademark oversized designer sunglasses, stylish clothes and animated manner at the tables. She has a bachelor's degree in economics from Duke University and is currently pursuing a law degree. She can play poker, too. Last year she became the youngest woman to reach the final table in a WSOP circuit event, and this year she finished seventh in the WPT World Championship tournament. caught up with Vanessa during the $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha tournament earlier today.

How did you do in the Ladies No-Limit event this morning?

I had flush over flush when I busted. I had an open-ended straight flush draw, and so I took a chance. There was only three to the flush on the board, and I took a chance but just didn't have the nuts and she did. So I was out pretty early, but that's the way it goes.

How are you playing so far in the Pot-Limit Omaha tournament?

I'm playing pretty well. I've got about $13,000 in chips and my stack's been fluctuating between $13,000 and $19,000. It's been good hands, bad beats, good hands, bad beats, but it's no big deal.

Are you going to play in the H.O.R.S.E. tournament?

Well, if I get knocked out of the Pot-Limit Omaha tournament, I think I'm going to try to play in the satellite tonight for the H.O.R.S.E. event. I've thought about playing it for quite a while, and I'm not exactly sure. We'll see. I think I'm probably five to one against.

How has becoming a professional over the past year changed your life?

Well, before, when I used to play poker, all of my friends and family were supportive of me, but I had a pretty big law career in the works, so they used to give me a hassle about all the time I was spending at the tables. I would say that with my performance over the last year, a couple people have seen that maybe there is a future for me in poker and sort of started supporting that aspect of my life too.

What's it like to balance going to law school and getting an education with the crazy poker-playing lifestyle?

You use the right word, balance, for sure. I definitely have to make sure that this is all the work that I do, law school and poker. I do need to work on my game. I also have to budget in time for breaks and stuff, you know. It is summer, and I like to try to have a good time. So it definitely requires efficiency and scheduling and just making sure my priorities are in order.

Are you still planning on pursuing that big law career?

Yeah. I mean, I'm only 23, so I think I have time for quite a few careers. So I'd say at some point in my life will I utilize my legal education? Absolutely. Will it be in the next three or four years? Probably not.

Thanks, Vanessa.

You're welcome.

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