Top 5 Poker Stories of 2010: Vanessa Selbst's Year

Vanessa Selbst
'It's nice to know that when I started playing a little more the results were there.'

It was another big year for the game of poker in 2010 and the PokerListings news team was there to document it all.

From highs like Jonathan Duhamel's 2010 WSOP Main Event win to lows like Amir Vahedi's untimely passing, the year was filled with stories big and small.

As has become tradition, PokerListings will spend the final week of 2010 counting down the top five stories of the year the way only we can - with the thoughts, words and opinions of the protagonists.

We continue today with Vanessa Selbst's year at Number 4:

Vanessa Selbst burst onto the live poker scene back in 2006 making a final table at the World Series of Poker.

The very next summer she made two more and by 2008 she had collected her first WSOP bracelet.

The poker world had reason to expect big things from the Brooklyn, New York native, but she had some big plans first.

After finishing a Political Science degree at Yale, Selbst went on to law school, making poker just a part-time gig.

But this year, winding down her studies gave Vanessa a little more time for poker and the results have been outstanding.

She began 2010 with a couple of prelim cashes at the Aussie Millions, but by Spring had booked a career-best $750,000 score by winning the PokerStars NAPT Mohegan Sun main event.

With Summer came the announcement she had signed with online poker giant PokerStars and would be playing even more tournaments under the Team Pro banner.

Fall then saw her finish fourth in the EPT London High Roller event and win the delayed Partouche Poker Tour main event in Cannes, collecting yet another career-best cash of more than $1.8 million.

Add it all up and Selbst earned $2,865,830 in 2010 – Not too bad for a part-time job.

“It's nice to know that when I started playing a little more the results were there,” she said. “It's been a pretty good year.”

To put it in perspective, Selbst earned more than both CardPlayer Player of the Year Tom Marchese ($2,114,491) and Bluff Magazine Player of the Year Sorel Mizzi ($1,895,430).

In fact, she made sixth on the list of top earners in 2010, sitting behind just the top five finishers in the 2010 WSOP Main Event.

And what makes her achievements even more notable is the fact she's a woman in the male-dominated world of high-stakes poker.

Selbst now sits third on the Women's all-time money list behind veterans Kathy Liebert and Annie Duke.

But while she enjoys hearing her name mentioned among the top women in the game, it's hardly her end goal.

“Being considered among the best women in the game is an honor,” Selbst said. “But at the end of the day, I'd rather be considered among the best players not just the best female players.”

Regardless, Selbst says the kind of year she had in 2010 may bring more women to the felt and there's nothing wrong with helping the game grow.

“There's no physiological reason why men are better at poker than women,” she said. “There's just more men playing it. So maybe if they see my success, more women will be drawn to the game and that's a good thing.”

While she remains committed to law and social justice, Selbst says she will be playing more poker in the months and years to come.

And if the past is any indication of the future, the year she had in 2010, and the fourth spot on PokerListings' Top Five Stories of 2010, is the just the beginning.

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