Top 10 famous female poker players


Top 10 famous female poker players

Who said professional poker is a men’s territory? Only 5% of poker community are indeed women, but no one should ever doubt the abilities of ladies in this men’s habitat.

Poker was first introduced in Germany as a bluffing card game, then it got some of its variations in France to be finally taken to America, where its era began. People practised it everywhere – at their homes, during parties, it moved then to casinos and to eventually become a favourite multi-million entertainment.

Throughout its history, poker inevitably inspired women right next to men. We need to mention Barbara Freer as the first woman to ever participate in a poker tournament in 1979. Since then, right up to now, not a few ladies got mesmerized by the game and become famous gamblers. Ready to become a poker pro? Check out our Tropez casino review and start playing while keeping responsible gaming in mind. Get skilled and have fun!

Now, let’s have a look at some of them and enjoy their stories.


1.   Vanessa Selbst

Hats off to the brightest star among female poker players – Ms. Vanessa Selbst.

She’s the one!

She’s a New Yorker from Brooklyn, born on 9th July 1984 in a Jewish family. She spent a year at the Massachusetts University of Technology before going to Yale to get a degree in political science. However prestigious, her education does not correspond to her massive success in poker and her ever number 1 ranking of a woman in the Global Poker Index.

The world first noticed her to play great poker in 2006 with her cold-blooded bluff at her first final table of a World Series of Poker event in Las Vegas. She ended up with $100 000 (7th place), but this particular case gained her the notoriety of an aggressive and reckless poker monster who knew no limits.

Furthermore, Vannessa Selbsts is the only player (including men and women) who won three bracelets in the World Series of Poker with a total prize of more than $1.3 million. That’s when she did it:

  • 2008 - $228 000 in Pot-Limit Omaha
  • 2012 - $245 000 in 10-Game Six Handed
  • 2014 - $870 000 in Mixed-Max No-Limit Hold'em

Up to now, she proved to have the most considerable earnings of poker tournaments of female poker players of all time – nearly $12 million. She also remembered as a highly respected ambassador of PokerStars site, but the legendary player retired in 2019 and embarked on a carrier in hedge fund management.

Vanessa Selbst’s mighty talent in gambling is undisputable, and despite her recent resignation from professional poker, no other girl can dethrone her from World’s number 1 place.


2.   Kathy Liebert


Aged 55 today, the American Kathy Liebert represents the somewhat older generation of professional female poker players. Of course, we don’t mean to underestimate her total live tournament earnings exceeding $6.5 million. Wow!

She was born on 1st October 1967 in Nashville, Tennessee. She acquired a college degree in business and finance and, for some time, tried living on business analyses, but that one never even inspired her. Soon she moved to Colorado with no clear idea for her future, but she finally chose to concentrate on what she loved to do – poker playing. Quite wise, isn’t it?

Between her start in 1994 and 1997, she developed a tremendous poker carrier with her best performance still on the way. Let’s mention some of Kathy Liebet’s most amazing shots. In 2004 she participated in World Series of Poker and won a bracelet together with a prize of $110 000 Four years later, in the 2008 edition of the prestigious Championship she finished third place, winning more than $300 000 this time.

In 2009 she reached 12th place in PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event, and by these times, she’d already had more than 300 cashes in various tournaments. During her active years in the poker world, she’s proven to be one of the most persistent players and built up an approach of observation and adjustment in playing.

Currently, Kathy has turned to a more healthy and calm way of living. Anyway,it does not impede her from being nominated for the Poker Hall of Fame in 2022.


3.   Kristen Bicknell

She is a Canadian poker player that started her gambling carrier in her early years at university. It’s incredible that her tournament earnings by 2022 count to more than $5.6 million, which makes her one of the most successful female poker players worldwide. Let’s see how it all began and went on.

Kristen Bicknell was born on 29th December 1986 in St.Catharines, Ontario. In 2006, being a first-year college student, she took up poker as she got keen on the renowned Jeniffer Harman (a legendary name in poker playing). Then, she joined the site PokerStars with her first online nickname, “krissyb24“.

For 3 years (between 2011 and 2013) she played over $7.5 million in poker hands, and she thorouhly deserved her new nickname - “The Ultimate Grinder”. At this time, the PokerStars site had a level-based VIP program for their loyal clients, and it’s not surprising that Kristen took over the sixth and highest level in it – Supernova Elite. To achieve it, a player should earn 1 million VIP Player Points (VPPs) for a year. Imagine how dedicated to the popular card game Kristen Bicknell was!

The Canadian poker fury reached top positions in online poker, but she didn’t stop. She began with live poker tournaments and became a real beast with over $5.1 million cashes. For her proficiency, she received three times the honoured prize Global Poker Index Female Player of the Year. No limits for Kristen! She continued with winning the World Series of Poker Bracelet in 2013, 2016 and 2020 with a total earning of over $820 000. Meanwhile, in 2018, she deserved another very matching nickname – “Femme Fatale”, by winning several famous live tournaments in three continents.

The COVID-19 pandemic ceased live poker tournaments, and Kristen Bicknell returned to online experience where she was impeccable again.

This fabulous lady will surely write her name in golden letters on the pages of gambling history. She’s already been recognized as one of the world’s top poker ambassadors.

4.   Joanne Liu

An extravagant lady from Taiwan joined the family of famous female poker players quite late in life - at the age of 32. She was born on 10th April 1965 in Taipei,Taiwan and grew up there, but moved to Illinois to acquire a Master’s Degree in Computer Engineering. Logically she started working as a software engineer in Silicon Valley.

At this time, she didn’t have the faintest idea of what life hid ahead for her – a marvellous carrier in professional poker playing. A friend of hers invited her to a poker game one evening, and it was “love at first sight”. She began by practicing free games online but deepened her knowledge of poker strategies so much that, finally, she had to face the best.

She participated in numerous global tournaments worldwide to reach winnings of $3.2 million by 2019 and many first places. Although her dream of winning Gold Bracelet in WOSP did not come true, J.J. Liu (as she is more popular) got the reputation of a naturally sharp-minded and wise card player, and one unique thing about her manner of play is bluffing. Her cold-blooded behaviour brought her many wins, even in the most challenging moments.

J.J.Liu has been a flashing star in the universe of female poker for nearly 25 years and made a remarkable finish of her carrier in 2007 by earning $600 000 in a World Poker in California, earning $600,000. Currently, Ms. Liu makes her living as a private hotelier in Bristol. Why not?

5.   Maria Ho

Another female poker player comes from Taipei,Taiwan. Maria Ho was born on 6th March 1983 and was brought up in Chinese traditions, although her family moved to the USA when she was just 4 years old.

She became keen on the game during her university years, where she finished a major in communications and a minor in law. However, by the end of her higher education, she had reached such high lots in poker and  a solid bankroll that she could move to the next level – a full-time professional poker carrier.

It all began in 2007 with her participation in the industry’s most prestigious stage – World Series of Poker Main Event where she finished in 38th place out of more than 6 300 participants. She continued to prove her successful path in poker by winning the title Last Woman Standing in WOSP Main Event in 2011,2014, and 2017.

With over $4.4 million earnings in live tournaments she deserved her place in Women in Poker  Hall of Fame in 2018.

Poker is Maria Ho’s true passion, and she loves to share it with the world outside. She works as a poker coach, TV host and commentator on some streaming platforms. Not surprisingly, she was also chosen to host the 2020 Global Poker Awards.

6.   Annie Duke

Anne Ledered (later Duke) was born on 13th September 1965 in New Hampshire, USA. She became a talented poker player which is rooted in her early childhood. She had a brother and a sister with whom she used to play card games where they always competed. Amazingly, the lives of all three of them were destined by poker – Howard, the brother, proved to be a brilliant poker player and Katy, the sister, was even writing books about the art of playing poker.

Annie’s first touch to the big game was in her last years of school when she visited Las Vegas and played Texas Hold’em (a trendy variation of card poker games). Then, her brother persuaded her to become a professional poker player and supported her with money and advice all the way to the big wins.

Her ability to play good poker deepened with time and finally, she decided to move to Las Vegas and start poker as a full-time job. It happened with her first participation in the 1994 edition of World Series of Poker (WSOP) Championship. Her first Gold Bracelet in WOSP came ten years later, in 2004, when she became the top female winner in the history of the Championship by earning $650 000.

In 2005 she published her autobiography with the intriguing title “How I Raised, Folded, Bluffed, Flirted, Cursed, and Won Millions at the World Series of Poker”. Various poker guideline books followed, where she loved sharing all her knowledge and experience lavishly in her favourite game.

Besides, Annie Duke, graduated with a PhD in Psychology and wrote a few books on cognitive behavioural decision science. She has a big family with four children who she brought up herself after divorcing and moving to Hollywood Hill. Another big success for this remarkable lady! Currently “the Duchess of Poker”(as she is sometimes called) works as a consultant for several online poker sites.

7.   Annette Obrestad

Here comes a female gambler whose poker star ended up shining a bit too early. Let’s pay attention to her story.

Annette Obrestad is a Norwegian born on 18th September 1988. She took up playing poker when she was only 15, and given her fragile age, she could only do it online, still illegally, though. She resorted to her parents’ credit cards to play and apply the knowledge of poker she’d been accumulating in the meantime. Everybody watched out for the threatening nickname “Annette_15”.

The success that put her on the map of great poker came in 2007. Her brilliant performance in the inaugural WSOP Europe Main Event in London brought her the title of the youngest player ever to win a bracelet in WSOP. Her prize is not bad as well - £10 000, a fabulous gift for her 19th birthday the next day.

The Norwegian poker phenomenon re-proved her unique talent with an unbelievable win without looking at her cards in a PokerSrars tournament with 180 participants in 2008.She just did it to demonstrate to the world the importance of position in poker and what an iron will a winner should possess.

Anyway, in the following years, she had some good-to-know wins, but after 2014 she only appeared sporadically in the tournament circuit. The obsessive poker passion of Annette’s youth has gradually faded. Although she’s earned $4 million from poker, the sea life has brought her to a completely different shore today. Guess what? She has a YouTube channel for make-up, and she doesn’t even want to be remembered as “Annette_15”.

8.   Liv Boeree

Born on 18th July 1984 in Kent, England, Olivia Boeree is one of the female poker players who the world will also remeber for long. She is famous for being the only woman in gambling history up to now, who won two prestigious championships – European Poker Tour (Sanremo, April 2010, earning counts to $1.25 million) and World Series of Poker (Las Vegas, 2017, winning over $270 000).

The beautiful British girl with a witty mind and incredible strategic thinking acquired two university degrees in Physics and Astrophysics. Meanwhile, she was a passionate guitar player in a heavy-metal band, and what’s more – her natural beauty brought her to modelling for several alternative clothing brands. The pretty minds never know limits, ah?

Liv Boeree had her start in gambling as one of the contestants in the TV show Showdown in 2005. TV popularity was strictly for her as she continued to be on air in many other TV programs and YouTube streams throughout the years. Recently, she even took over delivering seminars on the strategy of decision-making and how acquiring poker thinking can influence life.

In addition, with total live tournament wins exceeding $ 3 million, she not surprisingly turned to charity work. Liv co-founded the organization Raising for Effective Giving (2014), which invests money and effort in promoting philanthropy in its form of effective altruism. Isn’t it fantastic to have the desire and expertise to direct what you’ve won from gambling to make the world a better place for (Liv)ing.

9.   Vanessa Rousso

This gorgeous French American woman blows away all prejudice about blondes. Her playing manner proves that poker is not all about luck: it requires sheer intelligence and a profound knowledge of game theory. Let’s see Vannessa Russo does it her way!

She was born on 5th February 1983 in a French Family in New York. Soon they moved back to Paris, but her parents divorced when she was just five, and she moved back to the USA, acquiring dual citizenship. She passed high school impeccably,being a valedictorian at the graduation ceremony and winning scholarships for not a few colleges. Her inborn intelligence brought her a bachelor’s degree in economics and later a diploma in Law studies, where she finished among the best 5% of all students.

She began with online poker in her school years and couldn’t wait for the lawful age to participate in live tournaments, her first winning being at the No-Limit Hold’em Summer Series in 2005. It’s great to have a look at the following crushing victories chronologically:

YearTournamentResultPrize won
2006No Limit Hold’ em1st place$285 000
March 2009No Limit Hold’ em2nd place$250 000
May 2009European Highroller Championship1st place$963 000
2010WPT No-Limit Hold’ em Main Event3rd place$360 000

By date, her earnings from both online and live tournament games exceed more than $2.5 million. Being as inventive, she has turned her impressive poker carrier into a profitable business with another focus – she leads her clothing line. She has also become a model for many PokerStars events.

We can’t miss mentioning that Vanessa Rousso is also one of the leading figures of Poker Players Alliance who managed to convince US Congress to revoke Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.

10.   Loni Harwood

She’s another American girl in her 30s (born in 1989) who relies on professional poker playing to make a wealthy living. Loni Hardwood perfectly fits into the cliche “apples don’t fall too far from the tree” as her first inspirer and teacher in poker were her own Father, Joel Hardwood, a well-known online poker player. She was 17 when she began with her first remarkable win at West Palm Beach Tournament, getting £22 000 ($30 000).

After finishing her finance degree in 2012, she went to Florida to finally dive into big gambling. She proved her talent for playing great poker by winning World Series of Poker bracelets twice in 2013 and 2015. Her prize sum of $609 000 in 2013 was the highest earned by a female gambler in any Las Vegas Event in WOSP and a second place in the history of this Championship.

Despite some cheating scandals and the somewhat arrogant public behaviour of Loni Hardwood, she still deserves her fame and fortune in gambling. She’s even engaged her private life with poker by marrying another professional player – Phil Hui. Her carrier is thriving, and she aims to become a top female poker player of all time.

Female poker players are making significant strides in the traditionally male-dominated poker world, proving that skill knows no gender and cementing their place as formidable competitors.

At Betway casino, you can enjoy a variety of card games including poker, blackjack, and classic games, and who knows, you might just hit the jackpot and become the next big winner.

Surely, the poker world can’t wait to meet its next big female name!





1. How has the perception of female poker players changed over the years?

Over the years, the perception of female poker players has evolved significantly. While poker was once predominantly a male-dominated game, talented female players have consistently proven their skills on the global stage, breaking stereotypes and earning respect in the poker community. Their achievements have paved the way for more women to participate and excel in the game.

2. Are there any specific poker tournaments dedicated solely to female players?

Yes, there are specific poker tournaments dedicated to female players, such as the Ladies Event at the World Series of Poker (WSOP). These events provide a platform for women to showcase their skills and compete at a high level.

3. How do female poker players compare to their male counterparts in terms of earnings and titles?

While the top male poker players have historically earned more in terms of live tournament winnings, female poker players have made significant strides in recent years. Players like Vanessa Selbst and Kathy Liebert have earned millions in live tournaments, proving that women can compete at the highest levels and achieve remarkable success.

4. What challenges do female poker players face in the industry?

Female poker players often face challenges related to gender biases and stereotypes. They may encounter skepticism about their skills or face undue scrutiny. However, many female players have overcome these challenges through consistent performance, determination, and by building a strong reputation in the poker community.

5. How have female poker players contributed to the growth and popularity of the game?

Female poker players have significantly contributed to the game's growth by bringing diversity and a fresh perspective. Their successes have inspired many other women to take up the game, broadening the player base. Additionally, many female players are also ambassadors for major poker brands, promoting the game on various platforms and reaching wider audiences

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