Poker has traditionally been a male-dominated game, but there is still room for the top female poker players to shine.
Women have long had to fight for their place at the poker table, often experiencing sexism along the way. But among the Negreanus, Hellmuths and Iveys, the likes of Selbst, Boeree and Duke have enjoyed huge scores and world titles.
We've collected a list of the top female poker players of all time. We haven't just looked at total winnings but also their legacy and influence on the poker world.
|Top Female Poker Player||Career Earnings|
|1 - Vanessa Selbst (USA)||$11,906,246|
|2 - Maria Ho (USA)||$4,074,271|
|3 - Jennifer Harman (USA)||$2,765,348|
|4 - Liv Boeree (UK)||$3,852,996|
|5 - Vanessa Rousso (USA)||$3,554,328|
|6 - Barbara Enright (USA)||$1,729,181|
|7 - Maria Lampropulos (Argentina)||$3,377,913|
|8 - Annie Duke (USA)||$4,270,548|
|9 - Kristen Bicknell (Canada)||$5,098,014|
|10 - Kathy Liebert (USA)||$6,337,998|
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1. Vanessa Selbst (USA)
Biggest Live Win: $1,823,430 (2010 Partouche Poker Tour)
Career Earnings: $11,906,246
She might be just 68th in the world all-time list, but US poker pro Vanessa Selbst is unrivaled among female poker money earners, topping the total winnings list for most prize money by far.
The New Yorker started playing poker after graduating with a law degree from Yale. She burst onto the scene in the mid-2000s, hitting a series of WSOP final tables. She followed that up with victory in the 2008 LA Poker Classsic.
A North American Poker Tour (NAPT) title followed, before Selbst bagged the biggest win of her career in 2010 - 1st place in the Partouche Poker Tour in Cannes, France.
Selbst became known for her competitiveness at the poker table, and outspoken views on the game off it. She effectively retired from the game in 2014 to take up a post with a leading hedge fund. But poker's loss was short-lived: Selbst returned in 2020 to claim a respectable 22nd place at the WPT Fallsview in Canada.
2. Maria Ho (USA)
Biggest Live Win: $540,020 (2011 WSOP $5,000 NLHE)
Career Earnings: $4,074,271
Women poker players don't come more iconic than poker pro Maria Ho. The Taiwanese-American has been consistently cashing in live games since 2005. And though Ho hasn't scored a result over $1,000,000, her numerous cashes have helped her to a career haul worth over $4,000,000.
Ho was one of the most recognizable faces in the mid-2000s boom, and she was a regular star on shows like Poker After Dark. She's still taking down scores today in events as diverse as the WPT, Wynn Winter Classic and partypoker LIVE. She's also has a strong social media presence.
3. Jennifer Harman (USA)
Biggest Live Win: $383,840 (2005 $10,000 WSOP Circuit Championship)
Career Earnings: $2,765,348
From the cash games of Las Vegas to Full Tilt superstar and one of the top female poker players of all time: Jennifer Harman has achieved a huge amount in a career spanning more than two decades.
The US pro started her poker career during college in Nevada, playing in cash games in Reno casinos. She soon migrated to bigger-stakes cash games in Los Angeles before turning her attention to tournaments.
Harman's big breakthrough came in 2000 at the WSOP where she won her first gold bracelet. It was the same year that future fellow Full Tilt pro Chris Ferguson was taking down the Main Event.
Harman continues to take down scores, most recently in 2019 when she cashed three times at the World Series of Poker. She became the third female poker player to be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame when she gained entry in 2015.
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4. Liv Boeree (UK)
Biggest Live Win: $1,698,300 (2010 EPT San Remo)
Career Earnings: $3,852,996
Liv Boeree is a female poker player from the United Kingdom who has combined her twin passions of poker and science in a career stretching back nearly 20 years.
The British astrophysics graduate first discovered poker when she appeared on a reality show in the UK. Liv developed a liking for the game and was soon gracing low and medium-stakes tournaments across London.
She won the Ladbrokes Poker European Ladies Championship in 2008, around the same time she was picking up sponsorship from the soon-to-be disgraced Absolute Poker. A move to Ultimate Bet followed, after which Boeree became one of a handful of women poker players to win a European Poker Tour. Her victory at the EPT San Remo in 2010 remains her biggest score to date.
Boeree continues to cash regularly on the live poker scene as a PokerStars Team Pro. She has also revisited her first love of physics with a series of TED talks and YouTube documentaries.
5. Vanessa Rousso (USA)
Biggest Live Win: $700,160 (2009 EPT Monte Carlo Grand Final High Roller)
Career Earnings: $3,554,328
Vanessa Rousso is another female poker player who began life in the legal profession. The US-French pro discovered she had a skill at cards and was soon banking prize money in tournaments from Las Vegas to Atlantic City.
Rousso represented Team PokerStars for five years until Black Friday ended the site's availability in the United States. However, by then, Rousso had earned over $3 million in tournament winnings and had become one of the poker world's most recognizable women poker players.
6. Barbara Enright (USA)
Biggest Live Win: $180,000 (1996 WSOP $2,500 Pot Limit Hold'em)
Career Earnings: $1,729,181
As a top female poker player and ambassador for the game, they don't come much bigger than Barbara Enright.
The US pro was the first and only woman to reach the final table of the WSOP Main Event (in 1995, coming in 5th). Enright was also the first female poker player to be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame.
In 1996, Enright became the first top female poker player to win an open event at the WSOP. She won the $2,500 Pot Limit Hold'em event, which featured a final table that included Jennifer Harman and British female legend, Lucy Rokach.
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7. Maria Lampropulos (Argentina)
Biggest Live Win: $1,255,004
Career Earnings: $3,377,913
Maria Lampropulos has only been on the live scene since 2014 but the quiet Argentinian has already racked up numerous titles and a bankroll nudging $3.5 million.
Lampropulos' early tournament successes came in events such as EPT Prague and the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA). In 2017, she announced herself as a top female poker player by winning the partypoker LIVE MILLIONS in England. Her $1.2 million first prize earned Lampropulos a place on Team partypoker, and the results have kept coming ever since.
She final-tabled the WPT UK in 2019, before hitting more final tables on the European Poker Tour, and again at the partypoker LIVE MILLIONS UK.
8. Annie Duke (USA)
Biggest Live Win: $2,000,000
Career Earnings: $4,270,548
Annie Duke is perhaps best known as the sister of US pro Howard Lederer, but she's also a legend of the game in her own right. She now boasts over $4 million in tournament earnings and a WSOP gold bracelet.
Duke was one of the key pros and spokespeople on the Ultimate Bet brand, and arguably tarnished her reputation when the company was shut down following Black Friday. But Duke has worked tirelessly behind to scenes to improve the game and to fight for players' rights.
Despite the association with Ultimate Bet, Duke has long campaigned for online poker legislation in the United States. She testified to the US Congress for the Poker Players Alliance and co-founded the Epic Poker League in 2011. She also helped set up the Ante Up for Africa charity with Hollywood star Don Cheadle.
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9. Kristen Bicknell (Canada)
Biggest Live Win: $408,000 ($25,000 2019 Poker Masters)
Career Earnings: $5,098,014
Like many Canadian pros, Kristen Bicknell learned to play poker at college. She discovered a skill for online poker in particular and managed to hit Supernove Elite on PokerStars three years running. Bicknell's skills at playing huge volumes of hands became legendary.
The Ontario pro supplemented her online income with some big live scores, including first place in the 2013 WSOP Ladies Championship, then partypoker soon took notice and invited Kristen to join Team partypoker. As an ambassador for the brand, she has played all over the world, taking down cashes and titles in events like the APPT, Aussie Millions and partypoker LIVE.
10. Kathy Liebert (USA)
Biggest Live Win: $1,000,000 (2002 partypoker Million)
Career Earnings: $6,337,998
Kathy Liebert is not only known as a top female poker player, but one of the best all-round players ever. She began her poker career in Colorado before hitting the tournaments of Las Vegas in the early 1990s. Liebert spent several years taking down 4- and 5-figure scores before coming in second in a $3,000 WSOP No Limit Hold'em event.
Liebert's major tournament breakthrough didn't come until 2002, however. She won $1 million by capturing the $8,000 Limit Hold'em event at the partypoker Million, the first event of its kind. The final table included former WSOP champions Phil Hellmuth and Chris Ferguson.
In 2004, Liebert won her first and only WSOP bracelet by winning the $1,500 Limit Hold'em Shootout. No WSOP bracelets have followed since then, but the US female poker player has racked up a further $5 million in tournament cashes.
The number of top female poker players continues to grow, but in 2020 the proportion of women to men playing the game is small. We still await a first female WSOP Main Event champion, although a woman (Victoria Coren-Mitchell) did become the first person to win two EPT events.
With the popularity of online poker and amateur games attracting more women, a female world champion is only a matter of time.
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