7 of the Best Female Poker Players That Shatter Stereotypes

7 of the Best Female Poker Players That Shatter Stereotypes

So, when you think of the casino game Poker, you might imagine this scene straight out of a classic movie—a tough dude, cigar in hand, sitting in a smoky casino corner. But hold up, because we need to clear something up: women are totally owning the poker scene these days, smashing those old stereotypes to bits. And in this post, we’re getting into the stories of seven of the best female poker players who’ve left their mark—proving that poker prowess doesn’t care about gender.

Ready to hear how they’ve changed the tune of the poker tables? Keep on reading to learn more about these amazing women and their incredible feats in poker!

Top 7 Best Female Poker Players That Are Breaking Barriers

These women dominate the land-based poker games, as opposed to the more modern online and live poker games we are used to. But that just makes the best female poker players that extraordinary. They show guts, grits, and a flair that not many players can hold under pressure. And we’re here to share their incredible stories to inspire all other female players that they can just as easily take over the tables.

With that, here are the seven best female poker stars to date:

1. Vanessa Selbst

Vanessa Selbst, one of the best female poker players
Vanessa Selbst, one of the best female poker players | Credit: World Poker Tour @ Flickr

Very first on our list of the best female poker players is the Vanessa Selbst—the poker queen from New York City. This lady has made serious waves in the game, and even though she’s taking a bit of a breather from poker these days, her legacy is still rock solid. Like $12 million in tournament earnings under-her-belt kind of rock solid.

Vanessa’s got some serious bragging rights as well. She’s pretty much the only woman to win three World Series of Poker bracelets in open events. And with a law degree from Yale University, we’re talking brains and poker skills all in one shiny package!

But as one of the best female poker players, Vanessa’s not just about the numbers. She’s made headlines for her bold moves, such as that mind-boggling bluff back in 2018. Even though it didn’t quite work out, she was still absolutely revered for her tough-as-nerve steels.

And let’s not forget her off-the-felt achievements: she’s the first woman to ever reach the number #1 spot on the Global Poker Index rankings. And her partnership with PokerStars? It’s just the tip of the iceberg on her glowing poker career.

2. Vanessa Rousso

Vanessa Rousso, one of the best female poker players
Vanessa Rousso, one of the best female poker players | Credit: World Poker Tour @ Flickr

When you think of the brainiac beauty of the best female poker players, your mind will immediately go to Vanessa Rousso. She didn’t start with cards though; she kicked off her journey with chess, then blitzed through college in record time, earning her law degree with top honors. But it was poker where she found her true calling.

In the early 2000s, Vanessa hit the poker scene like a tornado, scoring big at events like the WSOP Circuit and the European Poker Tour. PokerStars saw her talent and snatched her up as a pro in 2006. From there, she jetted around the globe, tearing up the tables and raking in wins both online and live.

But Vanessa wasn’t just about the game; she was a fierce advocate for poker, lobbying for better laws in Congress and her home state of Florida. And let’s not forget Vanessa’s stint on Big Brother where she snatched third place. Not to mention that epic moment in Big Brother when she silenced Tony G. with a killer hand—classic.

Vanessa’s got an iconic look that would make even the toughest poker players quiver in fear: cap, headphones, and those killer shades—you’ll immediately know it’s her. She’s not just a poker pro; she’s a style icon too. Sure, she hasn’t clinched any of those shiny WSOP bracelets yet, but with over $3.5 million in winnings and that wicked sense of style, she’s definitely up there among the best female players in poker.

3. Liv Boeree

Liv Boeree, one of the best female poker players
Liv Boeree, one of the best female poker players | Credit: World Poker Tour @ Flickr

As does in sports where women even make head coaches, so do they lead even in the realm of Poker in casinos. Here’s one of the best female poker players that absolutely defied all odds—Liv Boeree!

Liv didn’t exactly follow a traditional path to poker glory; she dabbled in modeling, shredded guitar in a heavy metal band, and even pondered the sciences with her degree in Physics from the University of Manchester.

Her poker journey truly kicked off when she appeared on Ultimatepoker.com Showdown in 2005, where she discovered her knack for the game. With some coaching from legends like Annie Duke, Phil Hellmuth, and Dave Ulliott, Liv quickly rose through the ranks.

In 2008, she clinched her first title at the Ladbrokes Poker European Ladies Championship, marking the beginning of her poker domination. But it was in 2010 that Liv truly made her mark. In that year, she scored a massive €1.25 million win at the EPT Sanremo Main Event. And did we mention that she became only the third woman ever to claim an EPT Main Event title?

Liv’s prowess as one of the best female poker players also earned her a spot on Team PokerStars for nearly a decade. With a WSOP bracelet, an EPT championship, and over $3.5 million in tournament earnings, Liv’s record just about speaks for itself.

And let’s not forget her philanthropic efforts! Liv also founded ‘Raising for Effective Giving’, a charity dedicated to advising poker celebrities on effective altruism. With over $6 million donations to selected charities, she truly shines as an inspiration both in and off the poker tables.

4. Annie Duke

Annie Duke, one of the best female poker players
Annie Duke, one of the best female poker players | Credit: Bill.meinke, CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Now, we couldn’t possibly go with a list of the best female poker players without popping in the Duchess of Poker herself—Annie Duke.

Annie’s journey into the game began back in 1994 at the WSOP. Back then, she was already breaking barriers with three impressive showings, including a 14th, 5th, and 26th place finish in the Main Event. From there, she and her husband made the bold move to Las Vegas to pursue her poker dreams.

Annie’s poker career skyrocketed, earning her a WSOP bracelet in 2004 and a monumental win at the 2004 WSOP Tournament of Champions, where she bested none other than Phil Hellmuth himself in heads-up play. Now that’s a legendary showdown!

Before her abrupt exit from the game following the Epic Poker League scandal in 2012, Annie Duke did get ove4r $4.2 million in live tournament cashes, making her one of the best female poker players of her time. Controversies aside on her departure, Annie’s legacy in the poker world remains undeniable.

5. Jennifer Harman

Jennifer Harman, one of the best female poker players
Jennifer Harman, one of the best female poker players | Credit: World Poker Tour @ Flickr

Another true female legend in the world of poker is Jennifer Harman. Now, she may not be your typical tournament grinder, but trust that her skills are off the charts. With over $2.7 million in tournament winnings, she’s no slouch at the tables.

But where she really shines is in the cash games. Hailing from Reno, Nevada, she’s been tearing it up in the highest-stakes games in Las Vegas for years. Not forgetting to mention that she’s a regular in “Bobby’s Room” at the Bellagio, mixing it up with the best of the best.

And hey, when Daniel Negreanu himself calls you one of the best female poker players, you know you’re doing something right. But let’s not just focus on her poker chops; Jennifer’s got a heart of gold too. As a two-time kidney transplant recipient, she’s all about giving back, raising awareness for organ donation through her charity work with CODA.

So, whether she’s crushing it at the tables or making a difference off the felt, Jennifer Harman is a true poker icon—and an inspiration to players everywhere.

6. Maria Ho

Maria Ho, one of the best female poker players
Maria Ho, one of the best female poker players | Credit: World Poker Tour @ Flickr

Let’s chat about Maria Ho, a true poker powerhouse who scored a spot in the Poker Hall of Fame—talk about a major achievement! Hailing from a Taiwanese-American background, Maria’s not just a pro at the tables; she’s also got some serious hosting and broadcasting chops.

With nearly $3 million in tournament earnings under her belt, Maria’s poker resume speaks for itself. She’s racked up an impressive 54 World Series of Poker cashes, including a standout performance as the last woman standing in the Main Event back in 2007, finishing in 38th place. Plus, she’s notched up 5 World Poker Tour final tables and scored wins in smaller events across the globe.

But Maria’s talents extend beyond the felt. She made history as the first female strategic commentator on the Heartland Poker Tour and lent her expertise to NBC Sports, providing commentary for the Super High Roller Bowl events.

And that’s not all—Maria’s a woman of many talents aside from being one of the best female poker players. From competing in pro-level Mahjong games to gracing reality TV shows like The Amazing Race and American Idol, she’s truly a jack of all trades.

7. Kathy Liebert

Kathy Liebert, one of the best female poker players
Kathy Liebert, one of the best female poker players | Credit: World Poker Tour @ Flickr

Last, but certainly not least, one our list is Kathy Liebert. This lady has been in the game for more than half her life, kicking things off with low-limit cash games in Colorado back in the early 1990s while also working as a prop player.

But Kathy didn’t stop there! She soon found herself hitting the tournament circuit in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, and the rest, as they say, is history. With over $6.6 million in live tournament earnings, Kathy’s poker journey has been nothing short of incredible.

One of her standout moments as one of the best female poker players? Winning the 2002 PartyPoker Million Cruise for a $1 million—talk about a payday! And let’s not forget her WSOP bracelet win in 2004, cementing her status as one of the best in the game.

During the poker boom, Kathy was everywhere, making appearances on televised shows like Poker Royale: Battle of the Sexes and Poker Superstars Invitationals. Plus, she’s been a trailblazer in advocating for smoke-free poker rooms, earning respect from fans and players alike.

And if all that wasn’t impressive enough, Kathy’s also a member of the Women in Poker Hall of Fame and was nominated for the Poker Hall of Fame in 2022. So yeah, when it comes to the best female poker players, Kathy Liebert is definitely part of that royalty list.

Wrapping up on the Famous Female Poker Players

And there you have it! That about closes up our list on the best female poker players who’ve truly changed the game. They’ve proven time and time again that no matter your gender, you can make a mark in this world. From Vanessa Selbst’s groundbreaking wins to Kathy Liebert’s tireless advocacy, these players have inspired women in Poker—and everyone else, really—everywhere.

Next time you’re playing, make sure to keep their stories in mind! Remember that in poker, just about anything can happen. Here’s to these incredible women who’ve made poker history and continue to inspire every player out there!