Jennifer Shahade is Not Alone: The Best Female Pros

One of the best Open-Face Chinese Poker players on the planet right now, if not the best, is Jennifer Shahade. Jennifer made an impact in this game many months ago, but she increased her acclaim and her respect when she picked up the High Roller title at the OFC World Championship, along with some other big-name tournaments.


Typically, the fairer sex don’t have the best time of it playing poker. No female has played on a WSOP Main Event final table, for instance, and their male counterparts always outnumber them. However, this has nothing to do with their abilities as players and is purely because there are far fewer women taking up the game of poker than there are men. There are no doubt many reasons behind this, but the main one could be that poker has always been seen as somewhat of a macho game, played by heavy smoking, heavy drinking men in back rooms. That image is disappearing in the modern age though and as it does, we’re seeing more females entering the ranks of the poker professional.


In this article we’ll look at the best female players currently playing poker at the highest level.

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Jennifer Shahade is Not Alone: The Best Female Pros

Vanessa Selbst

Although it is disputed as to whether she is the best female player or not, you can’t argue with the fact that Vanessa Selbst is one of the most successful. Her live tournament winnings are into 7 digits and her CV includes two World Series of Poker bracelets, two NAPT Main Events and a victory at the Partouche Poker Tour Main Event. Vanessa is also a poker celebrity and can be seen on many television cash games, tournaments and more.

One of her biggest single victories to date came in 2013 when she scooped a prize of close to $1.5 million at a PCA High Roller event. According to the global rankings (who, incidentally, do rate her as the best female player in the world right now) Vanessa is currently ranked as the 8th best poker player overall, a ranking that is well deserved and one that should improve.

Annette Obrestad

The Norwegian poker pro began her poker career playing online games and receiving a lot of recognition for her abilities. She once won an entire tournament without looking at her cards, proving that poker is more about playing the player than it is about playing the cards. Annette became the youngest person to win a WSOP bracelet when she was just 18, and since then she has increased her total online earnings to over $2.5 million. It should also be noted that Annette’s online name is “Annette_15”, on account of the fact that she was only 15 when she started playing.

Jennifer Harman

Perhaps more of a regular feature on the poker circuit several years ago than she is now, Jennifer still makes an occasional appearance. She was one of the first female poker celebrities, having appeared on several televised events. She was also the first female player to win two WSOP bracelets, an achievement she realized back in 2002.

Liv Boeree

Part model, part poker pro, British-born Liv excels in both professions. She’s also incredibly smart, having studied astrophysics at university before deciding that her career lay in poker. The biggest win Liv has had to date came in 2010, when she scooped the San Remo stop of the European Poker tour, collecting a pot of over $1 million. Her total live winnings account to just over $2 million, but she is also prolific online.

Victoria Coren

Another super-intelligent Brit with a passion for poker, Victoria is also a great writer and has written many books and articles on poker. She is one of the most experienced female players in the world, although she tends to be more selective with the number of tournaments she plays these days, having a number of other things on her plate (including hosting a quiz show in the UK). Victoria’s biggest and most memorable win came back in 2006, when she scooped over half a million Sterling in a European Poker Tour event in London.

Xuan Liu

This Chinese poker pro has picked up close to $1.5 million in live earnings, including a 4th place finish at a PCA Main Event, where she earned around $600,000. She’s young and ambitious and as her talents are plain to see, she has a long and no doubt prosperous career ahead of her.

Vanessa Rousso

With over $3.5 million in live tournament cash, Vanessa is a force in the live game, with consistent ITM cashes. She is ranked as one of the best female players in the game and as well as a number of top performances in live events, she has also recorded some big wins online, where she plays under the screen name “Lady Maverick”

Allyn Shulman

Allyn had a very successful career outside of poker before she retired and invested her free time and her wealth into this game. It’s a good thing she did as well, because she has proved to be an impressive force in the game of Texas Hold’em, winning a Senior’s Championship at the WSOP in 2012 that netted her a pot of over $600,000. Since then she has won another big pot and continues to play the game when she can.

Jennifer Tilly

Formerly an actress, with roles in films such as The Bride of Chucky (where she played the eponymous bride) Jennifer Tilly has also picked up some prestige playing the game of poker. Her live tournament winnings fall short of $1 million, but she once scooped a Lady’s Event at the WSOP and as her career obligations lie elsewhere, you can’t blame her for not being a regular feature on the live poker circuit.