Nominations are presently underway for the Women in Poker Hall of Fame. Every two years, the WIPHOF enshrines new members and fans have the opportunity to make their voices hears about which players and contributors should be considered.
There are plenty of women in poker that deserve enshrinement but the problem is that some may never receive proper recognition because they were not “TV poker stars” or they haven’t been seen on TV for a few years.
Today we take a look at nine women we believe are worthy for induction into the WIPHOF. Some are household names you’ve seen often and a few you may have never hear about.
The majority of you out there have never heard the name of Betty Carey, and that’s not surprising. Carey was to the 70’s and 80’s what Jennifer Harman is to today’s generation. She was a woman that played high stakes poker during a time where most women weren’t even allowed at the poker table. I recently spoke with Linda Johnson about the upcoming WIPHOF induction and she called Carey a “pioneer for women in poker.”
Carey played all the big names in the game during the road gambler era and walked away the winner more times than not. She also enjoyed solid tournament success for her era. In 1983, she finished 3rd in a $1k NL Event at the World Series of Poker and runner-up in a $1k PLO Event at the Jack Straus World Match Play Championships.
In 1984, she won both the $1,500 and $10,000 NL Events at the Celebrity Poker Classic in Las Vegas. Sometime in the mid-1980’s, Carey largely retired form poker to raise her family. However, 25 years later she decided to play at the 2008 World Series of Poker.
Considering her time away from the game and the changed face of poker, one wouldn’t expect her to do very well. She proceeded to finish 36th in a $3,000 NL Event and proved that world-class players can compete in any era.
Mimi Tran has been playing poker since the late 1980’s and began her career as strictly a cash game player. She reportedly learned how to play poker while dating Barry Greenstein. After spending several years as a cash game player, Greenstein convinced her to turn to tournaments and the rest is history.
During her career, Tran has earned over $1.6 million in live poker tournaments. She was successful from the onset, making WSOP final table in each of her first two years on the circuit. In 1999, she finished runner up in a $2,500 Limit Hold’em Event for over $112,000.
Casual poker fans may best know Tran from her final table run in the 2006 WPT World Poker Finals. She finished 3rd for over $472,000. Tran lives in Los Angeles, CA and the majority of her live tournament earnings have come from that area.
Lupe Soto may not be known by many casual poker fans, but she has left a permanent mark on the poker world and influenced countless female poker players around the world. Soto founded the Ladies International Poker Series, aka LIPS, the first major poker organization for women. The LIPS tour has provided venues for female players around the United States to play the game they love and network with other like-minded players. For many, the LIPS tour is their first exposure to live tournament play.
In addition, Soto founded the Women in Poker Hall of Fame and serves as the Board’s Chair. We wouldn’t even be discussing which women to enshrine if not for her hard work and at some point, her dedication should be rewarded.
As Chris Moneymaker is considered the primary catalyst behind the Poker Boom in 2003, Jennifer Tilly’s victory in the 2005 WSOP Ladies Championship sparked a similar explosion in women’s poker. The year following her victory, the Ladies Event nearly doubled in attendance and continued to grow for a few years after.
Tilly’s official standing as a poker player has bounced between pro and amateur a couple times since 2005 but her results speak for themselves. She has $916,276 in live tournament earnings with deep runs in events all around the world.
In addition to her live tournament performances, she has been featured on several TV poker shows throughout the years. Most recently, she has been a regular player on Poker Night in America.
Nani Dollison had an amazing 11 year run in live tournament poker from 1998 through 2009. During that time, she was one of the most feared and respected tournament players with results in major events around the United States.
Dollison won the Ladies Championship at the 2000 and 2001 World Series of Poker. She is one of only two women in history to win the Ladies Championship in back-to-back years. In 2001, she also won the $2,000 Limit Hold’em event for her third career bracelet. She is presently tied with Barbara Enright and Vanessa Selbst for career bracelets.
Looking at her resume, the majority of her live cashes were final table appearances. Largely retired from tournament play, Dollison has $776,992 in live tournament earnings.
One could argue that Kara Scott could qualify for the WIPHOF as both a player and contributor but you have to consider her complete body of work for her to qualify under the 10-year rule.
Scott began working in the poker industry in November 2005 as a host for the now defunct poker show Poker Night Live. She then did work for Sky Poker and then served as the TV Host for the 2007/2008 season of the European Poker Tour.
It wasn’t long before she began enjoying success on the felt. In 2008, she finished 104th in the WSOP Main Event. Scott also cashed in the 2009 WSOP Main Event, becoming the only woman to cash in the Main Event both years and just the second woman ever to cash in back-to-back Main Events.
Scott also had her breakout performance in 2009 when she went deep in the PaddyPower Irish Open. She made the final table and ultimately finished runner-up. The $413,612 score is the largest of her career. She has over $643,000 in career earnings.
Off the felt, Scott has worked in numerous poker projects both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. She is most known by casual fans as a sideline reporter for ESPN’s World Series of Poker broadcasts.
Last year, Scott joined Jesse Silvia as hosts of the Super High Roll Bowl broadcasts on NBC Sports Net. She is just the second woman in televised poker history to hold an analyst position during broadcasts.
Victoria Coren Mitchell
Victoria Coren Mitchell has a live poker career spanning back to just before the Poker Boom. She was well known in the UK from television but relatively unknown in poker until 2006 when she became the first woman in history to win a European Poker Tour. She took down the EPT London Main Event for over $941,000.
It would be seven years before Mitchell would final another major poker tournament, but again she made history. Mitchell won the 2014 EPT Sanremo Main Event to become the first person in poker history to win two EPT titles. She won over $660,000 for her second EPT title.
Victoria Coren Mitchell has the highest earnings of anyone on this list with $2.46 million. That’s good for 29th on England’s All-Time Money List and 9th on the Women’s All-Time Money List.
Shirley Rosario has been advocating for women in poker since the beginning of the Poker Boom. A former cocktail waitress turned poker pro; Rosario developed and operated Poker-Babes.com. The site provided information on female professional players and encouraged the growth of women in poker. The site was eventually sold to PokerStars and she continued operating the site for the company. Her association with PokerStars ended with the sale of the company to Amaya in 2014.
Rosario has served many roles in the poker world. She has been a cash game pro, prop player, game host and even commentator for Live at the Bike from the Bicycle Casino. She is also an accomplished tournament player. Some might argue that she doesn’t meet the player requirement because she has won “major poker tournaments.”
Well, that depends on what you consider “major tournaments.” Rosario’s primary focus has been on mixed games, including Omaha. As a result, she has posted some high profile non-Hold’em tournament results.
She won the $500 Omaha Hi-Lo Event at the 2005 Legends of Poker. In 2009, she won the $1,000 H.O.R.S.E. Event at the California State Poker Championships. She won the $330 version of the same tournament at the 2010 CSPC. Even though it wasn’t a victory, she finished fourth in the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Event at the 2014 World Series of Poker for her largest live score to date.
With over $434,000 in live tournament earnings, she is one of the best mixed game players on the West Coast circuit.
Karina Jett may be one of the most successful female poker players without a major poker championship. She has made the final table of the Ladies World Championship at the World Series of Poker three times in her career. She finished 4th in 2003 and 2004. In 2011, she finished runner-up to Marsha Wolak.
At present, Karina has over $489,000 in live tournament earnings. In addition, Karina has been featured on multiple poker TV programs, including Poker After Dark, GSN’s Battle of the Sexes and Poker Night in America.
A long-time proponent of women in poker, Karina is also a sitting board member of the Women in Poker Hall of Fame.