Jennifer Harman

Today Jennifer Harman is a familiar name in the poker circuits. This 5’2″ tall, petit poker champion is regularly seen playing high limit games. With two bracelets and twenty-four money finishes in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and, two final tables and eleven money finishes in the World Poker Tour (WPT), Jennifer has firmly established herself as one of the best poker players in the world.


A Winner against All Odds

Hardships During Early Years

Jennifer Harman’s journey from playing in her home town to competing with the best players in the world is a long one. She was born of the 29th of November 1964 in the town of Reno in Nevada. Her father was a keen poker player and Jennifer grew up watching her father play. She played her first game at the age of eight. She soon knew so much about the game that her father started allowing her to play once he was out. Jennifer admits that she frequently won sufficient money to make up for her father’s losses.

Jennifer battled health problems all her life. While still in her childhood, her condition deteriorated and she required a kidney transplant. Successful transplant allowed her to lead a normal life. She was able to continue everyday activities like attending school and taking part in poker games. At 16, Jennifer managed to get hold of a fake ID to be able to enter casinos and play poker. But she soon found out that there was a big difference between playing with her father’s friends and playing in a poker room. Here she was up against stronger and more aggressive competitors. She frequently ended up losing in these games.

After finishing high school, she decided to study biology at the University of Nevada. While studying, Jennifer took up job as a part-time waitress. This allowed her to observe players in poker room and try her luck at the end of her shift. Although she was pursuing a college degree, poker was not just a hobby for her. She not only played regularly, but also read up a lot on the subject and tried to improve her game by keenly studying the opposition.

Jennifer completed education and received her degree, but decided against taking up a regular job. She soon headed to Los Angeles. Here once again she took up job as a bartender. A visit to the Bicycle Casino convinced her to focus exclusively on poker. So she gave up her job just 5 days into it and started playing full-time. Her father did not approve of her decision and it was many years before he talked to her again, but Jennifer was sure that poker was her future.

Journey towards Becoming One of the Best Female Players in the World

Jennifer continued playing poker in LA for 2 years. After this, she decided to start her own business. She set up a business in Maryland, but ended up going broke within a year. Jennifer saw only one way to pay off her debts – poker. With a small amount of money loaned by her friends, Jennifer was on her way to Las Vegas.

Nothing came easily to Jennifer, not even success in Vegas. It was years before she was able to move to high stakes games. Although she mainly took part in cash games, by mid-90s she had started trying her luck in tournaments as well. In the 1995 WSOP, she finished sixth in the $2,500 Pot Limit Hold’em. She also won the Limit Hold’em tournament in Orleans Open and No Limit Hold’em Championship at Commerce Casino. She was placed 13th in Limit Hold’em in 1999 WSOP. Without having played No Limit 2-7 Draw ever before, she managed to win the event and get a gold bracelet in 2000 WSOP. The 2002 World Series brought Jennifer one more bracelet in Limit Hold’em. She has been successful in WPT as well.

Some Interesting Facts

Jennifer Harman is married to poker player Marco Traniello and they have twin boys. She has authored a chapter in Doyle Brunson’s Super/System 2. She is friends with fellow poker player Daniel Negreanu. Her biggest cash win was $9,000,000 while playing heads-up against billionaire Andy Beal for The Corporation. She is sponsored by Full Tilt Poker. She has undergone two kidney transplants, one in childhood and another in 2004. She is the founder of ‘Creating Organ Donation Awareness’, and works actively to raise funds for the cause. Apart from poker, she also enjoys music, movies, skiing, Pilates and spending time with friends.

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