Vanessa Rousso Still Hungry After Nearly a Decade of Poker

Vanessa Rousso is a survivor.

Over the last nine years Rousso has stood the test of time in the poker world while having one of the most unusual career paths of anyone to play the game.

Since bursting onto the scene in 2005, Rousso is the only poker player in the world who’s been sponsored by GoDaddy, appeared in Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Edition, championed online poker before congress and won millions in poker tournaments along the way.

She’s also one of the longest serving members of Team PokerStars Pro and one of the most recognizable poker players on the planet.

Despite all the ups there have also been some noteworthy downs for Rousso and this year was perhaps her hardest ever as ex-husband Chad Brown finally succumbed to cancer after a long battle. Rousso was one of many poker players who spoke at the memorial.

“It’s been a rough six months,” said Rousso. “I didn’t play very much poker for quite awhile.”

Nine Years of Professional Poker Takes its Toll

Vanessa Rousso
Vanessa Rousso at the WSOP in 2006.

Vanessa Rousso at the WSOP in 2006.

It wasn’t just Brown’s passing that kept Rousso away from the poker table.

“I’ve been doing this professionally for about nine years now and you get to a point where it’s your job,” she said. “It becomes a bit of a grind. You wake up in the morning and you’re like, ‘I don’t really want to go to work today but I’ll go to do it.’”

After a considerable break from poker Rousso made the trip to Australia for WSOP Asia-Pacific and has plans to play major tournaments in Montreal, South Africa and Vegas.

“I’m actually hungry for it,” she said. “I’m going to be playing a lot of poker over the next five months or so.”

While Rousso’s interest in poker sometimes cools, it never leaves her completely.

“There is always a core appreciation for the game and a thirst for competition but there are large lulls between successful events in poker. It’s just the nature of the game as a tournament player.”

Rousso: Selbst, Obrestad, Coren are No One-Hit Wonders

Vanessa Selbst
Vanessa Selbst

Rousso helped inspire another generation of female poker players after her headline-grabbing seventh place finish at the WPT World Championship at the height of the poker boom in 2006.

Now she’s just one of many success female tournament players along with Vanessa Selbst, Annette Obrestad, Liv Boeree and many others.

At this point Rousso isn’t even sure there’s much to discuss when it comes to female players.

“It’s funny I get asked about [being a female poker player] all the time but I don’t really get it,” she said. “This thing goes way back. It’s sort of like asking why knitting is sometimes thought to be a female thing. It just started out that way.”

“Men just had such a head start on women it will be hard for women to ever catch them as far as representation at the tables. Of course women have solidified their place with players like Vanessa, Annette and Victoria. They aren’t one-hit wonders.”

Poker Can Hurt Your Soul in the Long Run

Vanessa Rousso

One major change for Rousso over the last few years is that she’s been able to find more balance in her day-to-day life. A big part of that is through her new-found love of DJing.

“It lets me use the right side of brain and gives me something else so my life isn’t entirely consumed by poker,” she said.

“I also try to spend time with my friends and family. It’s all so the swings of the game don’t determine my mood.”

DJing in particular has been a welcome contrast to the game of poker for Rousso.

“Poker is a zero sum game,” she said.

“My win is always someone else’s loss. Over time that can add up. It doesn’t feel so great when every time you do something well it’s directly at the expense of someone else. It hurts your soul over the long run.”

Fortunately Rousso has found solace in DJing.

“In music, on the other hand, my success is people’s happiness,” she said. “When I play a great set everyone is out there dancing. There is no greater feeling than that.”

“It kind of makes up for that soul-killing aspect of poker. That’s really what music is all about for me.”

Adapting to Ever-Changing Poker World

Vanessa Rousso

Despite her sometimes love-hate relationship with poker, Rousso appeared happy to be back at the tables at WSOP APAC.

She banters with the other players at her table and carries herself with the poise of a veteran.

How long will Rousso continue to play? She’s not quitting any time soon.

She’s hopeful online poker will become fully legalized in the US in the next five to 10 years and there will be a mini renaissance that harkens back to the boom years of the early 2000s.

“I don’t know if it will but I’d definitely be really happy if it did,” she said.

In reality the only constant in the poker industry is change but that seems to suit Rousso just fine.

“The people who survive in this game are going to be forced to evolve,” she said. “That’s a part of it that I really like.”

Related Articles

Unibet Poker Open 2023
Unibet Open Bukarest 2023 – Here we go!

Unibet Open Bukarest alkoi pari tuntia sitten, pahoittelut että blogi pääsee vauhtiin myöhässä. Syytetään Lufthansaa, joka onnistui eilen jättämään matkalaukkuni Frankfurtin kentälle. Nyt on laukku saatu tänne Bukarestin Marriottiin ja…

November 30, 2023 | Juhani Tyriseva
WSOP banner
WSOP Schedule 2020

The 2020 World Series of Poker kicks of in Las Vegas on May 27th. With a time frame of more than 7 weeks and 100 tournaments this will be the…

August 21, 2023 | Arved Klöhn
WSOP banner
Pikku tauon jälkeen jatketaan

Pidettiin pieni tauko, nyt peli jatkuu tasolla bb ante 4K, blindit 2K/4K. 111/573 pelaajaa.

July 25, 2023 | Juhani Tyriseva
melvin shroen live reports from The Festival in Nottingham 2023
PokerListings set to do Live Reporting from The Festival Series in Nottingham (13-19 February 2023) 

Melvin Schroen - Live Reporter For the first time in the history of The Festival Series, an event series is being held at the Dusk Till Dawn Pokerclub in Nottingham.…

March 22, 2023 | Melvin Schroen
PokerListings Awards 2022
PokerListings Operator Awards – Winners 2022

Since 2020, we have been awarding the best poker operators and innovators in the poker business with our PokerListings Operator Awards. Every year the operators are nominated and awarded in…

January 11, 2023 | Bjorne Lindberg
Oliver Hutchins Wins the Trophy in the €500K GTD PPC Malta Main Event (€71,000)

Oliver Hutchins Wins 2022 PPC Malta Main Event United Kingdom's Oliver Hutchins won the trophy in the €500,000 guaranteed PPC Malta €550 Main Event for €71,000 after a back and…

April 7, 2022 | Jason Glatzer
Final Table Payouts

PlacePrize1Oliver HutchinsUnited Kingdom€74,000*2Damir SavioCroatia€58,000*3Jingchun YuChina€31,0004Massimo RossiItaly€21,0005Wouter SchuurbiersBelgium€16,0006Federico CirilloItaly€13,0007Federico PetruzzelliItaly€10,0008Bradley GudgeonUnted Kingdom€8,0009Guiseppe DiBellaItaly€6,400 *Reflects heads-up deal.

April 4, 2022 | Jason Glatzer
Hutchins Doubles with Ladies to Take a Massive Lead

Level 41: 400K/800K (800K) Damir Savio jammed for 15 million from the button with 7 6 and Oliver Hutchins quickly made the easy call with Q Q from the big…

April 4, 2022 | Jason Glatzer
All Poker News

Comment on that

Your message is awaiting approval