Vanessa Selbst wins third bracelet, surpasses $10 mil in career winnings

wsop-bracelet2Vanessa Selbst has won the $25,000 Mixed-Max No Limit Hold’em event at the World Series of Poker to give her the third gold bracelet of her career. This puts her in a tie with Barbara Enright for the record of most WSOP wins for a woman, while the $871,148 in prize money brings her lifetime winnings to $10.5M, putting her in 21st place on the all-time leaderboard.

Due to the format of the event, the final table featured only two players – Selbst and Jason Mo. Although the two were civil to each other in person, Mo’s trash talk on Twitter leading up to the match gave it the feeling of a grudge match for Selbst fans. Despite his loss, Mo seems uncowed, immediately returning to Twitter to assert that Selbst would be afraid to play him in high stakes heads-up Sit-n-Gos online.

For me, the main takeaway from watching Selbst’s run is a reminder of the way a professional deals with adversity. After taking a major blow in a tournament, the first instinct for most of us is to panic and attempt to get back to our high water mark as quickly as possible, which is a mistake, especially in a slow-format tournament where there is plenty of time to recover as long as one retains their composure.

Selbst’s tournament was a veritable roller-coaster, but she was adept at riding the waves of variance, and that was what saw her through in the end. Although she finished Day 1 as the chip leader, she proceeded to run top two pair into Al Decarolis’s middle set at the beginning of Day 2. She came back from that setback to be in a virtual four-way tie for the lead again by the end of the day. Day 3 went similarly; towards the end of four-handed play, she ended up very short stacked, and had to face Decarolis heads up at a 7-1 chip deficit.

After digging herself out of that hole and beating Decarolis, she was still at almost a 2-1 disadvantage against Mo. The early going of their heads up battle didn’t go well for her, and she dropped as low as 1.68 million and a nearly 5-1 chip deficit before recovering, reversing the momentum, and ultimately winning.

Alex Weldon is a game designer by day and poker tournament wizard by night. You can read more from Alex at and follow him on Twitter at @benefactumgames

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