Eighty-five high school students at Drew University’s summer Governor’s School of the Sciences received a lesson a bit outside of the curriculum last week when poker pro Vanessa Selbst gave a talk on poker.
Selbst was invited to impart her wisdom on the teenagers, telling them about her life and how she has earned over $10 million in live poker tournaments, more than any other female poker player on the planet.
Why would the Team PokerStars Pro talk poker to gifted students who may be leaning more toward careers in physics, biochemistry or neuroscience? Because Selbst is an alum of the three-week program and uses some of the theories she learned there pertaining to math and probability in her highly successful career as a poker player.
It was that training more than a decade ago that may have propelled Selbst toward poker, taking her knowledge of probability and funneling it in a direction that perhaps not a lot of advanced students would consider. But the kids at the Governor’s School of the Sciences may be considering it now, seeing that it has brought Selbst immense wealth and a certain amount of fame – at least in poker circles.
Selbst didn’t necessarily encourage the nimble-minded high schoolers to take the same path she did in life. In fact, she did more to dissuade them from doing so, explaining the difficulty involved in becoming a successful high stakes poker player. The competition is much more fierce nowadays than it was when she began playing over a decade ago, Selbst said.
She’s Not All About Poker
Included in her talk about her chosen career was another part of Selbst’s life that takes up a portion of her time. Selbst is a graduate of Yale Law School and recently passed the bar exam, giving the 31-year-old an outlet to perhaps make a difference in the world.
In addition to over $10.6 million in career earnings, Selbst has won three WSOP gold bracelets. Her most recent came at the 2014 WSOP in a $25,000 Mixed Max event when she topped a field of 131 to grab $871,148 in first place prize money.
The first WSOP title of Selbst’s career was claimed seven years ago in $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha that resulted in a $227,933 payday. Four years later in 2012, she scored her second WSOP victory and $244,259 in a $2,500 10-Game Six-Handed event.