WSOP 2011 Best Bets: Women

Leo Margets
Women are becoming more skilled and better represented at the WSOP.

Every year, PokerListings releases its list of Best Bets for the upcoming World Series of Poker.

Traditionally, we use our vast knowledge, extensive contacts and unparalleled intuition to choose a stable of poker players we think are the best bet to take home bracelets from a summer in Las Vegas.

And traditionally, with respect to Jason Mercier, very few of them ever do.

So this year we’re going to do things a little differently.

Rather than pick individuals, we’re going to throw darts at groups of individuals in the hopes one or two might stick.

Today we’re kicking off the 2011 WSOP Best Bets series with our first group: Women.

When it comes to poker, there is no reason women can’t be as successful as men are.

The truth has always been that there are simply more men with more skill playing than there are women in the game.

However, 2008 WSOP bracelet winner Vanessa Selbst, who has earned about $3.4 million in the past 18 months proving tournament poker isn’t just a good old boys club, says that’s changing fast.

“For such a long time poker has been a man’s game, and it took a while for women to break into that world." - Vanessa Selbst

“I actually think that if you look at any of these major tour events, the women are going to be better than the average player,” she said.

“There are fewer of them, but the ones that are here are doing really well.

“For such a long time poker has been a man’s game, and it took a while for women to break into that world.

“Obviously women have the ability to be just as capable at poker as men, and I think it’s just a matter of time until we start to see a lot more women at major final tables.”

Vanessa Selbst
Vanessa Selbst is one of the few women to win an open event at the WSOP.

Liv Boeree won EPT San Remo in 2010 and believes women like her and Selbst are helping pave the way for a future generation of female poker stars.

“Without question women are getting better,” she said. “We’re seeing this emergence of particularly young women, who in my opinion are just as good as the best male players out there.

“They have a very aggressive style, a very thinking style. People like Lauren Kling and Melanie Weisner, these names that maybe a couple years ago people hadn’t heard of.

“I really do hope that established female pros like Vanessa Selbst are part of the reason we’re seeing this happen.

“But at the same time, the generation of women graduating university right now, really do have a different mindset than women from 20 years ago.

“We’re encouraged to do whatever the hell we want. We’re encouraged to compete against and beat the boys in anything.”

“We’re seeing this emergence of particularly young women, who in my opinion are just as good as the best male players out there." - Liv Boeree

Leo Margets was the last woman standing in the 2009 WSOP Main Event.

While she may have been relatively new to poker while going through that experience, the result has seen her become a serious student of the game.

“I’m not even close to the same player, and if you ask me the same question in one year or five years, I hope that the answer will be the same,” she said.

“I have improved a lot and studied the game a lot. I am super aware of the need to always progress.

“I think playing the major events around the world is like getting a Masters degree. It can be an expensive education so luckily I have a great sponsor that has paid for it.”

Now with her Masters degree in tow, she is one of an ever-growing group of female players who have done their homework and are ready, willing and able to find success at the 2011 WSOP.

“Now there’s more and more women on TV, and you’re seeing women winning majors,” added Selbst.

“I think it is inspiring for other women coming into the game.”

Keep an eye on their progress, along with all the action from Vegas this summer, in our WSOP 2011 Live Coverage section.

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