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Rant: Selbst Stays Cool During Infuriating Bloomberg Bombardment

It was both amazing and infuriating to see Vanessa Selbst represent the poker world on Bloomberg television’s ‘In The Loop’ segment last week.

Selbst was invited to comment on the recent production of “Poker Night on Wall Street" a made-for-TV sit-and-go featuring six of Wall Street's biggest players.

The appearance was amazing because I cannot think of a better role model for our game, and infuriating because the two hosts were more interested in talking than listening.

A Barrage of Rude and Ignorant Interruptions

Selbst must have been nervous about her appearance. Not only was she being broadcast to the world on national television but she was also representing the entire poker community.

Vanessa Selbst
Demure isn't really Selbst's vibe.

Kudos to her for managing to maintain her composure through a barrage of rude and ignorant interruptions that made me want to have a sex change, don a pair of boxing gloves and punch both of the hosts lights out.

“So why is this such a male dominated game?” asked one of the hosts, Betty Liu.

Selbst responds: “I think the hyper aggressive attitude you really need to dominate in such a competitive environment is really frowned upon. Women are taught to be more demure...”

“You don’t look demure…” interjects one of the hosts, before entering into a different dialogue altogether.

“Can you see why these Wall Street players would be good at the tables?” she continues.

But There's a Lot of Math, Right?

Once again Selbst composes herself and delivers an organized and intellectual response only for host Trish Regan to blindside her mid-sentence.

“But there’s a lot of math Vanessa, right...? These guys are good at numbers..."

“Absolutely. It’s a game of numbers and a game of pushing small edges," Selbst responds. "Another skill that is important is to take the downswings, and not go on tilt as we say, and really be Ok with losing for a log time in a row ...”

Bill Perkins
Bill Perkins.

Once again that annoying fly that just can’t seem to stop landing on your dinner chimes in once again as Regan cuts Selbst off and starts talking directly to Betty Liu about a completely different subject.

Liu then asks Regan some questions about the personalities in the Wall Street game with David Einhorn and Bill Perkins pointed out specifically.

“You know these guys, right?" Liu asks Selbst.

“I know Bill. He plays in the highest stakes game around the world….”


Here comes Trish Regan, “He’s a great guy with a big personality right?”

Mmm … pretty sure she was going to answer that for you … IF YOU WOULD JUST STOP TALKING!

Has Anyone Taught You to Shut Up and Listen?

Unfazed by the barrage of nonsensical questions, Selbst tries to respond. But before the words can hit the oxygen Liu asks her a totally different question.

“Have you taught these guys anything about risk?” she says.

Has anyone taught you how to shut the f**k up and just listen?

“I haven’t personally but….”

Here they come again like spitfires bombing a building: “I think they could learn something from you.”

Selbst doesn’t have time to respond before Regan starts talking about how important patience is in the game, which is rather ironic given the situation.

Selbst continues: “There are so many different strategies you can use in poker…”

Liu butts in now: “Actually I am not a poker player although I admire people who can play it very well. What do people do wrong?”

Actually don’t answer that. How about you answer this question instead?

Vanessa Selbst
No, go ahead. You guys talk.

“How do you capitalize on being a woman … how do you build your brand?" asks Liu.

“I do what I do and the I think the female players look up to me because there aren’t many of them….”

Here Comes Trish Again

There she is … here comes Trish who must have been itching in those high heels after not talking for the past 45 seconds.

“Did you start as a kid or in high school?”

“I started in college… “

Betty butts in…

Selbst regains the flow: “My mum was an options trader and poker player…”

Trish butts in…

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