Top 5 Female Poker Players of All Time

Gone are the days when poker was a strictly male-dominated game. Nowadays, there is a growing number of women who prove that to be a pro, gender has nothing to do with the winning rate since your success boils down to learning statistics and a bit of psychology, honing your introspective skills, and arguably the most important of all, playing against people who are better than you to learn from them.

Here is the list of our top 5 female poker players of all time.

Vanessa Selbst

A player with a nerve of steel, she is known for her ultra-aggressive and brilliant play that contradicts the [unfair] stereotype of how women play poker. On top of that, she has impressive educational achievements, attending MIT for a year before transferring to Yale where she graduated with a degree in political science, then receiving a Fulbright scholarship before returning to Yale Law School.

Selbst’s talent in making money is not just reserved for playing poker. While she still plays as a side hustle, she spends most of her time making money for others as a hedge fund manager.

Selbst has raked in more than US$11.8 million in live poker tournament wins–and this doesn’t even include the earnings she made as a professional coach and an executive producer for a popular online poker training site.

She has three World Series of Poker bracelets and had won the PCA higher roller for a whopping $1.4 million, making her the highest-earning female in poker history. Plus, she is the first and only female to win three WSOP bracelets in open field tournaments and the only player to win the same North American Poker Tour Main Event in two consecutive years.

Kathy Liebert, aka PokerKat

Her rise to fame happened during the late 90s and early 2000, thanks to six WPT final tables that included a third-place finish during the 2005 Borgata Poker Open. Plus, she has impressive 47 WSOP winnings, a WSOP bracelet in 2004 $1,500 Limit Texas Hold’Em Shootout.

As of 2017, her total live tournament winnings reached more than $6,175,000, plus she gained one WSOP bracelet.

Annie Duke, Duchess of Poker

Her rise to fame happened during the poker boom, which occurred between 2003 and 2006. However, her first run at renowned tournaments was at the 1994 WSOP that landed her in fifth, 14th, and 26th position in the Main Event. After these excellent showings, she moved to Las Vegas to continue her poker career.

Annie won a 2004 WSOP bracelet, the 2010 National Heads-Up Poker Championship, the WSOP Tournament of Champions, and four WPT and 38 WSOP money finishes. When she retired in 2011, she raked in a total of $4.27 million from live events across the world.

Poker runs in Annie’s blood since she is the younger sister of Howard Lederer, one of the best American pro poker players of all time, winning two WSOP bracelets and holding two World Poker Tour titles.

Annette Obrestad

Annette Obrestad is a Norwegian poker superstar who started playing poker with an online nickname Annette_15 but managed to defeat seasoned players in cash and tournaments.

While her last live cash happened way back in 2018, her $2 million worth of winning at WSOP-E Main Event just a day before she turned 19 put her name in the history book of poker. Throughout her career that included a WSOP bracelet, European Poker Tour final table, and 10 money finishes, she raked in around $4 million from live events–and this doesn’t even include the millions she earned playing online.

Liv Boeree

This Brit poker pro and math nerd has a knack for bluffing her opponents, allowing her to rake in more than $3.8 million–an amount that is expected to climb up further since she’s still very much active on the scene.

Her rise to fame started way back in 2010 when she earned around $1.7 million in the EPT San Remo Main Event.

As of this writing, Boeree is the only female pro poker to hold both a WSOP and EPT bracelet.

One of the most common misconceptions of people, at least by non-pros, is that poker is nothing more than a game of luck, and so it would be foolish to attempt to make a living playing it. But in reality, poker is a game of skill in the long run–and that luck shouldn’t be something you should rely upon especially if you want to make a living out of it. 

Think of poker as a game that requires making the soundest mathematical decisions to increase your chances of winning and mitigate the possibility of failure. 

Here, we list the names of pros who earned the biggest poker wins in history. 

Antonio Esfandiari

In 2012 WSOP’s Big One for One Drop, Antonio Esfandiari won the biggest single payout in poker history by amassing $18,346,67, a worthy price considering that the buy-in was priced at $1,000,000, which was the largest at the time. 

While the prize pool reached $111,111, a huge portion of it went to charities.

Esfandiari was born in Iran but spent the majority of his life in San Jose, California. In recent years, he has become one of ESPN broadcasters and remains a prominent pro player that everyone looks up to. 

Daniel Colman 

This American online pro poker player won around $15,307,000 in WSOP’s 2014 The Big One for One Drop.

Colman surprised many when he reached the hyper-turbo live tournaments within nine months and amassed a million dollars even though he started as an online poker player, using the nickname “mrGR33N13.”

Many people would describe Colman as an aggressive but very calculated player who knows how to read the table well and understand the probability game. 

Elton Tsang

In 2016 WSOP’s Monte-Carlo One Drop Extravaganza, Canada-born pro poker player and businessman Elton Tsang won $12,248,912 in a game that required €1 million buy-in. The event was attended by 28 pros who competed for the prize pool amounting to more than $27 million. 

The tournament lasted three days, with Tsang coming out on top. This event, along with other high roller tournaments hosted by WSOP at the same time, raised money for charities. 

While Tsang was born and raised in Canada, he currently lives in Hong Kong where he runs multiple businesses. 

Jamie Gold 

In the Legendary 2006 WSOP Main Event, Jamie Gold amassed $12,000,000 amidst the height of the poker boom. This win had turned him from a nameless non-professional player to one of the world’s poker winners in history almost overnight, even though some people have criticized his strategy for being too unconventional, such as frequently exposing some of his cards. 

The American poker player was also purportedly seen talking to opponents into folding their better hands. 

Aside from his unorthodox approach, another thing that surprises people is that he is not really a full-time poker player. 

Sam Trickett

In WSOP’s 2021 The Big One for One Drop $1 million buy-in, this English pro poker player won $10,112,001 when he placed second before Esfandiari.

Trickett used to be a football player but was forced to leave the sport to become a professional poker player after a serious knee injury. As of this writing, he has amassed more than $20,000,000 in different tournaments.