1. Kathy Liebert
Career Winnings: 5.5 million
Born in Tennessee, Kathy attended Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY, graduating with a degree in business and finance. After graduation, she worked as a Business Analyst for Dun & Bradstreet. Dissatisfied with the job, Kathy took the advice of her mother who encouraged her to do something she loved and the money would follow. During her time at Dun & Bradstreet she had played the stock market, doing well enough to quit her job to follow her heart and dreams. A friend encouraged Kathy to try her hand at tournament poker. She headed for Las Vegas where she finished second in the first tournament she played. A week later she entered another tournament and again came in second. She took home $34,000.
Kathy has had many repeat performances and success. She has appeared on GSN's Poker Royal, Poker superStars and on the World Poker Tour. Kathy has one WSOP title from the 2004 $1500 Shootout. She was the first woman to win one million dollars when she won the PartyPoker Millions Cruise. Kathy continues to play tournament poker and is the top ranking female poker player today.
2. Vanessa Selbst
Career Winnings: 4.4 million
Vanessa Selbst is studying law at Yale, and she started playing poker with her friends during her freshman year. In 2006 Vanessa made the final table of the $2,000 No Limit Hold'em event at the World Series. In 2007, she finished third in the $5,000 Heads Up event and final tabled the Ladies. She continued cashing in tournaments and won the Ladies event at the L.A. Poker Classic she also came in second that WPT Ladies Championship.
In 2008, Vanessa was the champion of the $1500 pot limit Omaha event and won her first gold bracelet. Vanessa has made five final tables at the WSOP.
She had her best year of poker in 2010 when she won the North American Poker Tour Championship at the Mohegan Sun for $750k, finished 4th at the EPT London High Roller for over 200k and won the Partouch Poker Tour Main Event for over $1.7 million. In 2011, Vanessa pulled off an incredible back to back victory by winning the NAPT Championship at the Mohegan Sun again.
Vanessa intends to use her law degree to fight for racial justice and economic equality, and against police misconduct and government abuse of authority. Selbst hopes to earn enough money to eventually fund a foundation dedicated to the creation of national civil rights projects. Vanessa Selbst won the 2010 Poker Maven award that recognizes the accomplishments of women in poker via poker community nominations and votes. Vanessa won in the category of Up and Coming Player!
3. Annette Obrestad
Career Winnings: 3.3 million
Annette started playing poker when she was only 15. She played under the name Annette_15 online. Annette was born in Norway, and was taught to play Stud by her father at a very young age and she was a great player.
In her early teens she became fascinated by the internet and online poker and started to study the game. She started to play freerolls and from her winnings grew a large poker bankroll online.
In 2006 she was at the height of her online poker career and, won $500,000 on Poker Stars, $200,000 on Ultimate Bet, and $136,000 on Full Tilt Poker.
Annette became a household name when she become the champion of the inaugural World Series of Poker Europe on September 17, 2007, just prior to reaching eighteen years of age. She took home $2.01 million, a record winning for a female poker player at that time, and became the youngest person to win a WSOP bracelet.
Since then, Annette has experienced a number of victories including taking first place in the £5000 No Limit Headsup at the European Poker Tour London in 2010 for $187,000 and second at the 5k No Limit Hold'em Main event during the 2011 Wynn Classic for $216.000. Annette won a Poker Maven Award for Most Notable Performance of 2010.
4. Vanessa Rousso
Career Winnings: 3.1 million
Vanessa has a dual citizenship in both France and the United States. She spent seven years living in France when she was young, and is fluent in French language. She attended Duke University on a full scholarship and while there she studied game theory and played backgammon, chess and of course poker. She received her degree in economics in just 2.5 years and then went to study law at the University of Miami.
In 2005, Vanessa came in 7th in the $225 No Limit Hold' em WSOP Circuit Event at Harrah's New Orleans, netting $6,456. Encouraged by this, she started participating in many tournaments, and in April 2006, she scored at the World Poker Tour Five-Star World Poker Classic where she came in 7th at the $25,000 No Limit Hold’em Championship event for $263,625.
In October of 2007, Vanessa came in second at the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker and won over $700,000.
Vanessa won $250,000 in for finishing second in NBC's 2009 Heads Up Championship. And a few months later she came in first in the €25,000 High Roller Event at the EPT Monaco and won € 570,000. Since that time she has been at many final tables including coming in third at the 2010 Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $359,000 and placing 5th in the EPT Grand Final Madrid in 2011 for €100,000.
Vanessa is passionate about poker and she instructs students and players of the game through her Big Slick Poker Boot Camps. Her teachings are based on Sun Tzu's "The Art of War." Vanessa won the Poker Maven Award for Player of the Year 2010.
5. Jennifer Harman Traniello
Career Winnings: 2.5 million
Harman was born and raised in Reno, Nevada. She started playing poker in 1972 at the age of eight. She later graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno, with a degree in Biology. She won her first WSOP bracelet in 2000, playing the No Limit Deuce to Seven Lowball Event. She had never played the game but got a quick lesson from Howard Lederer just a few minutes before.
Jennifer won her second WSOP Bracelet in 2002, in 5K Limit Hold 'em event. She is the only woman to hold two WSOP champion bracelets in open events.
Jennifer is the only woman who is a regular player in the "Big Game", the high-stakes cash game at the Bellagio. She was also an active participant in "The Corporation", a group of high stakes poker players who played Andy Beal for limits of up to $10,000-$20,000.
In 2004, Harman took a year away from poker to have her second kidney transplant. Problems with her kidneys – shared by her sister and mother, who died from the same illness when Harman was 17 - had plagued her since her childhood. Since her return to the poker tournament circuit, Harman has finished 4th at the World Poker Tour Five-Diamond World Poker Classic, 5th in the inaugural Professional Poker Tour event, and 2nd in the WSOP Circuit Championship Event at the Rio. Harman is a frequent charity poker tournament host and has raised over a hundred thousand dollars for the Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. She was awarded a Poker Maven Award as the Best Role Model for Women in Poker in 2010.
6. Joanne (J.J.) Liu
Career Winnings: 2.4 million
Joanne Jishung Liu (J.J.) was born in Taipei, Taiwan. She was raised speaking Mandarin Chinese. Her gambling gene kicked in early as she often gambled with cards and dice with her siblings and other family members in Taipei. Her years were spent focusing on her education, and after graduation from Ming Chuan College in 1985, she made the decision to move to Peoria, Illinois to pursue a Master's Degree in computer engineering at Bradley University.
J.J. made her first final table in a major poker tournament in a 1996 World Series of Poker limit hold'em event, the same year she started playing poker. She has nine WSOP cashes, including three final tables. She also has five WPT cashes, including a fourth-place finish in the 2005 Five Diamond WPT main Event, when she took home $400,000. She also won the Deep Stack Extravagana Championship at the Venetian in 2008.
In 2005, J.J. was named the highest ranking woman in the 2005 Cardplayer magazine Player of the Year competition. She is the highest placing female in a World Poker Tour Championship event, finishing runner-up to Ted Forrest at the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Stars in 2007.