Vanessa Selbst

For over a decade, you couldn’t open a poker publication without seeing Venessa Selbst ranking on the top of leaderboards everywhere. Like many players, she discovered poker during her teenage years and started off playing in home games.

Her climb to stardom started in the 2006 World Series of Poker, where she managed to make the final table of the $2,000 No-Limit Hold’em tournament, finishing in 7th place and banking $101,285 for her performance. In 2008 Vanessa won her first WSOP bracelet in a $1,500 PLO event, netting over a quarter of a million. Then in 2010, Selbst took down the North American Poker Tour Main Event, winning the prestigious title and the $750,000 first-place prize. She then went back to back, winning the same event the next year, this time around to the tune of $450,000. She also won the Partouche Poker Tour Main Event in September of 2010 for her biggest career win of over $1.8 million. And in 2012 and 2014, Vanessa won two more WSOP bracelets, becoming the only female player with three bracelets from open events.

Although Vanessa has left poker professionally to pursue her career as an options trader, she still plays on occasion since it allows her to enjoy the game more than following the professional circuit.

Vanessa has close to $12 Million in tournament winnings which is double than the second ranking person in the GPI Women’s All Time Money List.

Terry King

Terry King is one of the pioneering women in poker. She arrived in Las Vegas in 1972 and watched her friend play poker until she had the nerve to sit at a table on her own. She loved the game. In 1978 she won the WSOP Ladies’ event bracelet and was also was one of the first women to deal the $10,000 Main Event.

Terry crossed paths with poker legend David “Chip” Reese, an event which changed her life forever. Terry explains, “In 1979, Chip Reese asked me to play in the mixed doubles event. Not long after that, Chip took over the poker room at the Dunes and asked me to play for him to keep games going. Our first date was going to Lake Tahoe to play blackjack.” After their 5 yr relationship ended, they split amicably.

Terry eventually moved to California and went to work at the Bicycle Club. She also helped open Hollywood Park Casino and was a shift manager for 5 years. Terry has been both a poker player and industry person for over 50 years. She is also known as a Poker Historian, being the keeper of many “early years of poker” stories. She continues to share the history in a popular Facebook group with over 4,000 members.

Jennifer Tilly

At times, the film industry crosses over into poker. There are several well-known Hollywood actors who are serious about the game and Jennifer Tilly is one of them. She is well know for her acting but many don’t realize she has over 25 years in poker. She is often the first one to break out a deck of cards on a Hollywood set in between acting duties and will teach the crew how to play just to have people to play with. She loves the game and plays anytime she can. One of her friends took her to a home game where she met Vince VanPatten and Gabe Kaplan Both huge poker players as well as Hollywood regulars.

In 2004 she attended the WPT Celebrity Invitational at Commerce Casino in Los Angeles. The tournament combined poker with charity fundraising, with a side benefit of potentially befriending poker players with whom to play live poker on occasion. Instead, she met Phil Laak a professional poker player who has become her life partner.

In 2005 she attended the WSOP and entered the Ladies Championship where she won the bracelet and a $158,335 cash prize. And shortly thereafter, she won the WPT Ladies Night invitational event. She still plays ladies-only tournaments when possible because of the camaraderie. And she believes the tournaments are just as tough as open events, maybe even more so. “I think women are tougher than men because they are more intuitive.”

Jennifer has over $1 Million in tournament winnings.

Angelica Hael

Angelica Hael is an extraordinary Poker Industry person. She is the VP of Global Tour Management at World Poker Tour and is now in her 12th year with WPT, Hael oversees the overall management of World Poker Tour and WPT-branded events.

She started in poker as a Poker Dealer at the Crown Casino in her home country of Australia. It was in 2005 when partypoker sponsored the Aussie Millions and Angelica became the liaison for them both by coordinating bookings, filming guidelines and other needs. Her talent was noticed and she later joined partypoker as VIP Marketing and Player Development Manager.

It was in 2010 she was called upon to join the WPT family to develop the International market in which she has succeeded in spades.

In 2018 Angelica was awarded the GPI Industry Person of the Year for her work in poker as well as creating the WPT Women’s Poker Initiative which served to begin serious conversations around women in poker throughout the industry.