5 Top Ladies in Poker Today
Jun 18, 2006  
2006 Deanna Goodson  

I know that poker is still dominated by men. There's still not a woman Main Event winner at the WSOP. The only WPT event that a woman has won as of the date I'm writing this article is the Ladies' Night events - and we all know those don't feature men. In a world where women have been crashing through glass ceilings in various industries, I know it's just a matter of time before one of the ladies will prevail.


Women are coming to poker in droves. Although it's hard to get firm stats, a Time Magazine article from October 31, 2005 reported that the numbers are increasing exponentially. Some online sites have shown an increase from 3% of players a few years ago to 20% of their online population - and growing! Women are also more likely to play poker online away from the bright lights, smoke-filled rooms and aggressive brick and mortar tables.


The point is that women are coming to poker - and we're here to stay. I am pretty sure we'll have a female WSOP Main Event winner before we have a women president in the United States. Poker is a great equalizer. The cards don't care if you’re male or female.

Here's my list for the top 5 candidates to take home the WSOP 'gold'. I know that it's just a matter of time, y'all.


Jennifer Harman: This petite poker pro - she stands about 5 ft. tall and weighs all of 100 lbs. - is one of the fiercest and best poker players around, male or female. She's a fantastic high-stakes player and often rakes in the cash at the Bellagio, where she plays against the likes of Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan and her best friend, Daniel Negreanu.

Jennifer has made the final table at the following WPT events: Aruba Poker Classic (Season 1), Ladies' Night (Season 2) and the Five Diamond World Poker Classic (Season 3). Jennifer is also the proud owner of 2 World Series of Poker bracelets. She won her first in 2000 in the Duece to Seven (lowball) No-Limit Event. Her second came in 2002 in the $5k Limit Hold 'Em event. She's made it to the last day in the Main Event as well. Jennifer is aggressive, intelligent and has a fantastic card sense. She's a fantastic candidate to be the first woman to take home the most major of championship titles.


Annie Duke: She's more than Howard Lederer's kid sister. Annie Duke is arguably the best - and most successful - of all the female poker players in the game. Annie was the winner of the 2004 $2 million winner take all WSOP Tournament of Champions. She beat out the likes of Phil Hellmuth, Doyle Brunson and her big bro. Also in 2004, Annie won her first WSOP bracelet in Omaha Hi/Lo. She has coached the likes of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck - and is the author of How I Raised, Folded, Bluffed, Flirted, Cursed and Won Millions. Annie proves that with intelligence, intuition and a strong competitive streak, we women can hang with the boys at any poker table! And she's a mom of four to boot!


Kathy Liebert: She is the first woman to ever win a tourney with a $5,000 buy-in. Kathy's also the first woman to ever win $1 million in a tourney. She's one of the best tournament players in the game. She's got a WSOP bracelet from the $1,500 Hold 'Em Shoot Out Event in 2004 and has cashed in many other WSOP events and tourneys all over the world. Liebert left behind her executive-level position with Dun & Bradstreet to play poker. She's a pioneer in this game who is ranked third on the all-time female money winners in World Series of Poker history. She's classy and business-like, a true student of the game who makes the greats shiver in their boots, cowboy or otherwise, when they find themselves sitting at her table.


Jennifer Tilly: This Academy Award nominated actress (for 1994's Bullets Over Broadway) met poker pro Phil Laak at a tournament. They hooked up in love and poker - and the partnerships has been very successful on both fronts. In 2005, Jennifer won both the WPT's Ladies' Night III and the Ladies' Main Event at the WSOP. She's the first woman to accomplish that feat which has made her quite the hot commodity in the game today. She's aggressive and courageous. Jennifer shows that she can play at any table and is willing to earn her chops in poker just as she did in the highly competitive world of Hollywood.


Cyndy Violette: This petite blond is a mom of one. She started playing poker while on pregnancy leave from her position as a poker dealer. Cyndy's a stud master. She won $74,000 in a Golden Nugget stud tourney in the mid-80s and has never looked back. In 2004, she took home a WSOP bracelet for Stud H/L. Cyndy is patient and kind. She practices yoga and is in control of her emotions and her health. Cyndy's a positive influence on the game and would make a fantastic Main Event winner.


In fact, any and all of these ladies are poised to win the World Series of Poker Main Event soon. Maybe 2006 will be the year for Cyndy, Annie, our two Jennifers or Kathy. Perhaps, another woman will rise to the occasion and take the title. It would be great for the game and for women in the game.

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