Top international female player Vanessa Selbst (33) has amassed live poker earnings alone of $11,851,384 in a sparkling, 12-year-long poker career, but has decided to call it a day.
In a Facebook and Twitter announcement the MIT and Yale law graduate revealed that she is severing her Pokerstars obligations and moving in a fresh direction after a poker experience that she characterised as “intellectually challenging, exhilarating, fun, and extremely rewarding.”
“It has given me the opportunity to travel to places I might never have experienced, and forge friendships with people from all over the world. Speaking of those people, those whom I’ve met through the poker world (players and industry people alike) are some of the most dynamic, creative, out-of-the-box thinkers and all around passionate people that I know,” she wrote.
Listing her reasons for departing the poker scene, Selbst said that since the federal government shutdown of major poker companies in 2011, professionals were faced with the choice of moving out of the US or travelling extensively to tournaments; whilst the latter was fun for a while, for her it palled in favour of building a family, home and stable lifestyle.
Selbst said that secondly, she no longer feels good about promoting poker as an ambassador, observing: “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”.
“Lastly, whether because poker got more competitive or because we got older (or likely some combination of the two), poker recently turned into a real job, requiring hard work and discipline to succeed,” Selbst wrote.
“I had never treated the game that way–I always kept a very light poker schedule–I showed up and played for fun and did other projects back home as my “real work.”
“The shift in the nature of poker and what it requires put me at a crossroads and asked the question of me whether I would rather change my relationship to the game or move on. To me, the opportunity to work hard and learn something totally new and get to keep poker in my arsenal of fun go-to hobbies feels like the right approach.”
Selbst revealed that she will be entering the challenging fields of trading research and strategy in a hedge fund, something she has been trialling for four months and with which she has developed a similar affinity to poker. In this Selbst will be following her mother, who was an options trader, lawyer and recreational pokerplayer.
Poker will not entirely lose its grip on Selbst, who concluded her announcement by revealing that “… whatever happens with my next career, I know that I’ll never truly stop playing poker…I will always love the game and the people in it and I’m so thankful for everyone I’ve met and everything I’ve experienced. So with that, so long, and thanks for all the fish!”