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Poker News | Casino Poker | Tournament Reports

Who is the Best Female Tournament Player Today?

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Players 2-6

Jennifer Harman has been called the best woman in poker, while Annie Duke's website calls her "...the top rated female poker player in the world." Who really is the best? The answer will surprise you.

So who should be considered the top tournament player in the world? The criteria used in this analysis is cash earned in tournaments from the 2006 WSOP through the 2007 WSOP as well as the number of cashes. The only exclusions are Made-for-TV events; e.g., Poker After Dark. The NBC Heads-Up Championship was included, although its heavy weighting toward FullTilt Poker as well as the exclusion of many young, top heads-up players makes this questionable. In Part I , we profiled #7-11:

#11: Vanessa Selbst
#10: Katja Thater
#9: Cyndy Violette
#8: Kristy Gazes
#7: Erica Schoenberg

Here now are the top five female tournament poker players today.

6) Vanessa Rousso ($450,992) may be the most controversial player on the list. It's tough to argue with her results, including a win at the Borgata in last year's $5k NLH event for $285,450. This bested the $263,625 she won for 7th place at the $25k WPT Championship in April 2006, which came prior to the time period we evaluated. The Duke grad and Miami Law student is very talkative at the table, and the online forums were lively during the WSOP regarding her play. Many players openly questioned her skill and knowledge of the game. The Team PokerStars member failed to cash at the 2007 World Series of Poker,

5) Mimi Tran ($629,026) is the protégé of Barry Greenstein. The Los Angeles pro first hit the radar of the poker community with a 4th place finish in the 1998 WSOP $2k NLH followed by a runner-up finish in the 1999 WSOP $2.5k NLH event won by Joe Esposito. The biggest cash of her career came last year at the WPT Foxwoods, where she finished 3rd for $472,228 won by Nenad Medic. Tran is a regular on the tournament circuit but also can be found in high-stakes cash games. She cashed three times during the 2007 World Series of Poker, including finishing 317th in the Main Event.

4) Anna Wroblewski ($705,389) exploded on the Vegas poker scene when she took down the $3k NLH event for $337,395 at the Bellagio's Five Star World Poker Classic in April of this year. Her life story is a touching one, as she lost her parents and baby sister in Vietnam when she was four years old. She and her younger sister eventually went to an orphanage after a couple of years bouncing between family members. Marily Wroblewski adopted both sisters in 1994. "I still do not know how old I am," she said. "It used to bother me, but I know that there are many kids out there like me. When I was in grade school I was the only kid that did not know what day they were born on, much less the time and where." She followed up her win at the Bellagio with a 4th place finish for $192,875 at the WSOP $2k NLH, won by Blair Rodman. She is a prolific online tournament player, regularly playing small buy-in events on PokerStars and FullTilt Poker.

She moved to Las Vegas when she was nineteen only to become an unsuccessful poker player. Wroblewski was making $10/hour as a receptionist in a Las Vegas maintenance company when her employer gave her $400 as a start-up poker bankroll in April. She won $600 playing $15/30 LH at the Bellagio, won a satellite to the $2k NLH Five Stars event, finished 17th for $7,290, won another satellite into the $3k event, and then took down the title. We should see big things from Wroblewski in the coming year.

3) Joanne "JJ" Liu ($727,828) studied computer science in her native Taiwan before heading to Bradley University for her Masters. She moved to Palo Alto to work for Loral Space Systems. It was there she discovered poker, entering her first NLH event at the Bay 101 Casino in 1996. She made a WSOP final table a few months later, placing 4th in the $3k NLH event. Liu played tournaments throughout California and Nevada over the next decade. This March, she had the highest finish for a female at the WPT Bay 101 event, where she battled Ted Forrest for almost 100 hands before finishing 2nd for $600,000. It was one of the toughest heads-up battles in the history of the World Poker Tour, with Liu holding a 6m to 3m chip advantage over Forrest at one time. "It was the toughest heads-up battle I've ever had," he said afterwards.

Liu was literally a big presence at this year's WSOP. The pregnant Liu regularly sat at the poker table during WSOP events, smiling and chatting at the table as her husband, Dan Alspach, played as well. Her due date is in late August, and the poker community will celebrate the birth of its newest entrant-and pros will be glad to get one more shark away from the table!

2) Kathy Liebert ($737,664) is a native of Nashville but was raised in Long Island, New York. She graduated from Marist and worked at Dun & Bradstreet. She left D&B after doing well in the stock market and moved to Colorado where she sold ATM machines. Still unsure of her career plans, she began playing poker in Central City and Blackhawk, two mountain communities with legalized poker. She became a house player there before dipping her toe in the tournament waters. She finished 2nd in the first two tournaments she played in, a $100 Omaha Hi/Lo and a $200 LH event at the 1994 Gold Coast Open in Las Vegas. Those two final finishes were good for $23,137, and she's never looked back.

Her biggest payday was in the inaugural $8k Party Poker Million in 2002, where she took home the title and $1,000,000 at a final table that included Mel Judah, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, and Phil Hellmuth.

She's had a stellar career, with a WSOP bracelet in the 2004 $1.5k LH Shootout to go with two 2nd place finishes and 23 cashes, as well as a 3rd place at the 2005 WPT Borgata ($427,115). She had five WSOP cashes last year and four this year, along with 5th place at last year's WPT Foxwoods ($257,579), 2nd place at the $5k NLH at Foxwoods ($103,984) in March 2007, and 2nd place at April's $2k NLH Five Star event at the Bellagio ($164,075). She's also a regular at nearly every ladies event, giving back to the game to continue to build poker.

Check PokerWorks again to find the top lady who has won more than any of our Top Ten since the 2006 WSOP, a name many of us may never have heard of.

Winnings June 2006-July 2007
1 ?
2 Kathy Liebert ($737,664)
3 JJ Liu ($727,828)
4 Anna Wroblewski ($705,389)
5 Mimi Tran ($629,026)
6 Vanessa Rousso ($450,992)
7 Erica Schoenberg ($415,261)
8 Kristy Gazes ($408,766)
9 Beth Shak ($334,583)
10 Mary Jones Meyer ($319,236)
11 Cyndy Violette ($287,038)
12 Katja Thater ($277,889)
13 Sally Anne Boyer ($262,077)
14 Maria Ho ($260,652)
15 Vanessa Selbst ($250,308)
16 Melissa Hayden ($213,325)
17 Jennifer Tilly ($197,128)
18 Liz Lieu ($190,698)
19 Annie Duke ($172,381)
20 Anne Heft ($166,177)
21 Shannon Elizabeth ($135,009)
22 Shawnee Barton ($128,060)
23 Sabyl Cohen ($123,699)
24 Clonie Gowen ($108,559)
25 Randi Calabro ($108,034)

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