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Women in Poker

The explosion in popularity of no-limit hold’em poker has brought new groups to the green felt table. Young internet hotshots mix it up with veteran professionals and Europeans, Asians and Africans do battle with Americans, Canadians and Australians. However, one group has been under-represented during the poker boom: women. The Battle of the Sexes is as old as Eve’s disagreement with Adam over eating the apple, and a few women have taken that ages-old fight to the field of cards and chips. Here is a short and incomplete list of some of the best female poker players in the game today.

Annie Duke

With the help of her brother, “the Professor of Poker” Howard Lederer, Annie Duke has become one of the leading women in poker today. She learned the game of no-limit hold’em by playing in a small casino in Montana before launching her career as a professional poker player. She earned a World Series of Poker championship bracelet by winning the 2004 Omaha Hi-Lo title. She also won the inaugural Tournament of Champions and its $2,000,000 first prize by beating fellow Ultimate Bet pro “Poker Brat” Phil Hellmuth. Currently, she can be seen on NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice” as she works to raise money for charity. For the past three years, she has also organized a charity tournament at the WSOP to aid victims of the war in Darfur, Sudan.

Jennifer Harman

Which task is harder: earning two WSOP bracelets (one in no limit deuce-to-seven draw, one in limit hold’em) or playing in the “Big Game” with men like Doyle Brunson and Phil Ivey? Jennifer Harman can answer that question, because she’s done both. She has also made two World Poker Tour final tables in her career and has earned over $2.2 million in tournament winnings. Her contributions to the game go beyond the table, however. She wrote the chapter on limit hold’em for Doyle Brunson’s Super System 2 and organizes charity tournaments for animal rescue organizations, making her one of the most accomplished women in poker history.

Annette Obrestad

This young lady from Norway received some special birthday presents the day before she turned nineteen: a 2007 World Series of Poker Europe championship bracelet and one million British pounds! Annette Obrestad is considered one of the best online tournament players in the world of any age, male or female. Although, as one of the youngest women in poker, she is still too young to enter any casino in the United States (where the legal gambling age is twenty-one), she has established herself as a great live tournament player with her second-place finish at the 2007 European Poker Tour Dublin event and a payout of almost three hundred thousand euros!

Kathy Liebert

This experienced professional player has made so many World Poker Tour final tables, some players have nicknamed the broadcast “The Kathy Liebert Show”. With five WPT final tables and a WSOP bracelet (2004 $1500 Limit Hold’em), Kathy Liebert is unquestionably one of the toughest women in poker. She also holds the distinction of being the first woman to win one million dollars in a single tournament. Recently, she came within one player of becoming the first woman to ever win a WPT event when she and Steve Brecher played the longest heads-up match in WPT history at the Bay 101 Shooting Stars tournament. 

Jennifer Tilly

Women in Poker - Jennifer TillyFrom Oscar-winning actress to bracelet-winning poker player, Jennifer Tilly has made a successful transition from the silver screen to the green felt and created a new wave of women in poker. She established herself in the poker world by winning the 2005 Ladies’ No-Limit Hold’em championship. After that, she began to appear regularly on poker shows such as “Poker Superstars” and “Celebrity Poker Showdown”. In addition to her bracelet win and her numerous TV appearances, she also outlasted over a hundred players to win the $1000 buy-in open event at the Bellagio Five Diamond World Poker Classic in 2006.

- Gerald Hanks



07-May-2009, 17:15

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