Vanessa Selbst winning her third bracelet isn't a big feat for women. It is a big feat for poker. The 29-year-old poker pro cemented her status as one of the best in the game today, winning her third bracelet in one of the toughest fields of the summer, the $25,000 Mixed Max No Limit Hold'em event. The Yale Law School graduate bested Jason Mo in a lengthy heads-up battle that capped off four days of poker action against 130 of the toughest players the game has to offer.
The win is Selbst's third bracelet in as many games and ties her with Barbara Enright as the female with the most WSOP gold bracelets. It also pushes her total earnings over the $2 million mark and puts here within $75,000 of passing bracelet winner Annette Obrestad as the biggest female money earner in WSOP history. Moreover, this win puts Selbst in the front of the 2014 WSOP Player of the Year race, the first time a woman has ever held the top spot in the rankings.
Moments following her historic victory, Selbst was asked where this win ranks among the three. "There’s no feeling like having your first gold bracelet," she said. "But there’s no feeling like having your third, either. They’re all pretty incredible."
"I understand why people want to talk about women and the achievements of women in history that way," she continued. "Obviously, I would like to be considered in a conversation for the best poker player, not just the best female poker player. I think I’m starting to get there and people are starting to recognize that."
Indeed, these are all great accomplishments for women, but, as Selbst points out, to win three bracelets is an incredible accomplishment for anyone and she is just one of 30 with a trio of gold trophies on her wrist. Amazingly, Selbst hasn't even played a full slate of events each summer since she won her first bracelet back in 2008. She took off time from poker to finish law school and again when she got married last year. Even with that low volume though, Selbst consistently found her way to the final table and to the winner's circle, but still felt like she could have played better. Closing out this victory felt especially good to the champion, given she came close to a few other major wins this year, falling just short. "Honestly I was kinda disappointed by the way I played short-handed in those tournaments...so, to come here and play in an almost completely short-handed format and have some redemption feels really spectacular."
In this tournament, her ability to persevere was all the more impressive given the fact she began both of her heads-up matches with a chip deficit, but managed to overcome them each time to best her opponent and end the day as the last woman, nay last player, standing.
This tournament was one of the new events on the schedule at this year’s WSOP and is the only $25,000 buy-in of the summer. The unique format lasted for four days, with each day offering a different format of Hold’em. On Day 1 play was eight-handed, Day 2 play moved to six-handed, Day 3 was four-handed, and the final four players were seeded based on chip count into two heads-up matches.The event drew an impressive field of 130 top players, generating a prize pool of $3,11,250. The top 16 finishers made the money in this event. Notables who cashed included bracelet winners Noah Schwartz (16th), Nick Schulman (13th), Kevin Song (12th), and 2011 November Niner Matt Giannetti, who bubbled the heads-up portion of play in fifth place.One November Niner who did make it to the final four was JC Tran, who followed up his fifth place finish in last year’s Main Event with a strong showing here. He fell to Jason Mo in the semifinals, while Al Decarolis came in with a chip advantage over Selbst, but eventually lost to the bracelet winner.Here are the final results of the $25,000 Mixed Max Event:1st: Vanessa Selbst - $871,1482nd: Jason Mo - $538,308T-3rd: Al Decarolis - $290,622T-3rd: JC Tran - $290,622