Vanessa Selbst Retires From Poker to Pursue Hedge Fund Career

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Vanessa Selbst has called it a career. (WPT photo)

One of poker’s biggest stars from the last two decades is officially on the rail with Vanessa Selbst announcing her retirement. On Sunday, Selbst announced on her Facebook page that she is formally moving away from poker as her full-time career. The Yale law degree graduate now moves toward a life in the financial world. Selbst says she has been working for a hedge fund in New York City for four months with a focus in trading research and strategy.

The 33-year-old Selbst accomplished nearly everything she could have wanted to in a poker career that earned her over $11.8 million in tournament earnings. Selbst first came into the national conscience by final tabling the $2,000 No Limit Hold’em event at the 2006 World Series of Poker. That final table aired on ESPN and the viewing audience was introduced to the aggressive 21-year-old.

In her first ever televised appearance, Selbst finished seventh to win $101,285 and decided to take on poker as her full-time job.

The career of Selbst took off in no time thanks to an incredible natural talent and a playing style that allowed her to always have opponents on edge. In 2008, Selbst won her first bracelet in the $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha event. Gradually, Selbst added to her growing list of accomplishments before officially breaking out in 2010.

Selbst had her best year in gross tournament earnings and two major wins catapulted her into the discussion of best players in the world. In April, Selbst took down the PokerStars North American Poker Tour $5,000 Main Event at Mohegan Sun for $750,000. Five months and one continent later, Selbst shipped the Partouche Poker Tour €8,500 Main Event in Cannes, France. That win earned Selbst a career-best score of $1.823 million.

Those wins added to Selbst’s legend and in 2013, she made history by winning one of the most prestigious events in the world. By taking home the gold medal in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $25,500 High Roller, Selbst became the leader on the women’s all-time money list.

With her poker tournament life formally behind her, Selbst retires as #41 on the all-time money list with the likes of Tony Gregg and Allen Cunningham on either side her. Selbst retires with three World Series of Poker bracelets, the last of which came in the 2014 $25,000 Mixed Max No Limit event.

In respect to the reasoning behind her retirement, Selbst said, “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.”

The poker world reached out on Twitter with kind words of Selbst with media members and players alike wishing her the best in her new venture.