The Biggest Female Poker Stars You Can Learn From

History of Poker

The poker game started in Germany as a bluffing game called Pochen; the French then developed their version, which they called Poque. Eventually, it moved over to the New Orleans riverboats.

In the 1800s, the game evolved and became what we know as Poker. Poker was played in homes, at parties, then moved to rooms in casinos, and finally, it developed into a multi-million dollar sport.

There are a hundred versions of Poker, from seven-card stud to five-card draw and the ever famous Texas hold ’em. To bet on these variations and other games head over to unbiased casino site such as NewCasinos and place your own bets. 

The Basics

As much as Poker is a game of luck, it requires a great skill set. A standard 52 – card pack is used, sometimes with an additional joker or two. In most versions of the game, a poker hand consists of five cards.

Common terms

Five of a kind – highest possible hand only when one card is wild. (e.g., joker)

Straight Flush is the highest possible hand when the standard pack is used, and there are no wild cards.

Full House – this hand comprises three cards from one rank and two cards from another rank. (e.g., three 8s and two 4s). 

Women of Poker

Poker has long been considered a man’s game, but it has gained popularity with women over the years. Only 12.5% of professional poker players are female; that’s an 8:1 ratio; there are many theories for this. We will profile women like Barbara Enright, the first woman inducted into the hall of fame in 2006.

Some of these players are still playing, others have retired, but the one thing they all have in common apart from their gender is that they have exceptional playing skills and have used Poker to create lives for themselves. 

Vanessa Selbst

Selbst was born in 1984, and the former player was the only woman to reach the number one ranking in the world on the Global Poker Index. She is the only player to have won the North American Poker Main Event back-to-back.

Her first professional appearance was at the Las Vegas World Series in 2006; she was the first woman to play in a super high roller event in January 2014. Selbst had an aggressive style of play and was not afraid to show emotion during play.


Selbst currently has three World of Series Poker Bracelets (2014, 2012, 2008). As a professional Poker, she had a contract with PokerStars. Her first winnings raked in 74 748 pounds, and her biggest live game earnings were in 2010 at the Partouche Poker Tour, where her first place winnings were 1 300 000 euros. She has made over 8.71 million pounds  ($11.8 million).

In January 2018, she announced her retirement from professional Poker to focus on her family; she also cited that playing felt like a job and was no longer fun for her. With a law degree in hand, she secured a position at Bridgewater Associates hedge fund and started a charitable foundation called Charitable Foundation Venture Justice.

She has recently started to play again in a few tournaments and recently entered into a contract with LearnWPT to coach poker players. It looks like she maybe is back in the game, whether it will be full-time or part-time. All we can say is it would be great to see her playing again.

Loni Harwood

The 33-year-old has a finance degree from the University at Albany State. She developed an interest in Poker by watching her father, Joel Harwood, who used to play online. She has two WSOP bracelets (2013, 2015) with total lifetime earnings of 1 414 921 million pounds ($1 917 238).

Loni once stated that she started playing at 17 years old under her dad’s account, which violates all sorts of rules. This statement was dredged up again when the cheating scandal broke, but we digress; she won her first big tournament in West Palm Beach, which was 22 140 pounds ($30 000).

In 2013 she “borrowed” another registered player’s account called multi-accounting and considered cheating against poker site rules. In response, she was very arrogant and did not apologize, saying she did not know it was against the rules.

Loni is married to Phillip Hui, another professional poker player and still actively playing.

In Closing

Many more talented female professional poker players quickly dispel the myth that men are better players than women. There has been a suggestion from the WSOP that there should be a separate series for women, which many female players have rejected as this would be another way of saying women are fewer players than men. With the year 2022 just beginning, we are waiting for new up-and-coming players and how the current players will fair this year.