Vanessa Selbst Quits Poker and Leaves PokerStars’ Pro Team


The poker community have started the year with shocking news from Vanessa Selbst who announced that she is retiring from being a poker pro. Selbst, who is an all-time winningest tournament player parted ways with PokerStars which she had been promoting for years, citing a number of reasons for leaving.

The announcement which was on her ‘Tournamentality’ Facebook page on December 31st included an official statement as well as over 20 photos of fun times at different poker events from all over the world over the past couple of years when her poker career was at its peak.

Reasons for her Departure

On the Facebook post, Selbst attributed her decision to leave behind her poker career was influenced by “a number of factors, big and small, that contributed to a general feeling I’ve had for a while that it was the right time.”

The first reason that she cited was her dwindling passion for the game in the past couple of years – despite being a PokerStars ambassador since 2011, in the Facebook announcements she highlighted the fact that poker is now more difficult for laypeople:

“I can’t tell amateurs they should come play online and it’s beatable for them when I don’t feel like it’s true,” she wrote in the post.

This sentiment is rather true and very good examples can be drawn from the likes of Texas Hold’em which has shifted to become more of a mathematical game rather than the instinct-based game it once was. Also, this is more prominent in online poker games.

Selbst further said that she had enjoyed traveling to different parts of the world to play live tournaments but her interests and priorities have since changed – she mentioned that she had begun thinking about building a stable home and community as well as starting a family, all of which are difficult to achieve with constant travel.

What’s Next for the Former Poker Pro?

The 33-year-old poker maestro is betting her next professional career venture on working at a hedge fund where her roles would revolve around helping with trading research and strategy. In fact, while she did not disclose any substantial detail about her new professional role or her employer, she did mention that she has been at her new job for nearly four months now. Furthermore, Selbst said that she was finding her new position challenging and that she had a newfound passion for it that was partially attributed to her interest in following in her mother’s footsteps – Selbst’s mother worked as an options trader and recreation poker player as well.

On the same note, her exit from professional poker does not mean that she will be quitting poker completely adding that she will play occasionally to top up he over $11 million lifetime tournament winnings.