With 13 money finishes at the World Series of Poker (WSOP), and more than $2,900,000 as career earnings, Vanessa Rousso is one of the top five female poker players in terms of all-time money winnings. Rousso is a part of the team of professional poker players at PokerStars, one of the top poker rooms online. She plays at the site under the screen name ‘Lady Maverick’, one that she adopted on her journey as a poker player. Rousso’s tryst with poker started when she was five. Over the years she developed a serious interest in the game, but could not play at casinos when she was still a minor. So, she played online and continued doing so even when she went to college.
The Beginning of Rousso’s Career in Poker
Through online poker games, Rousso developed her skill in the game and started playing at casinos when she went to college. Her first stake was built at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, at a Sit n Go tourney with a $250 prize. She gained the experience required to play at these tournaments by playing No-Limit Hold’em games. Rousso also developed an understanding of game theory, which fuelled her interest and improved her skill in the game.
Becoming a Professional Poker Player
It was in 2005 that she became a professional poker player. From her earnings at casinos, she saved $1,500 to pay for the entry fee for a tournament in Atlantic City. Here she parlayed a whopping $17,500. Following this, she was able to enter the World Poker Tour (WPT) event held at the Bellagio. That year, she went to New Orleans to participate in the WSOP Circuit event – Harrah’s New Orleans Poker Challenge.
She placed 7th in the event, but left with $6,465 in chips. A few months later, she played in the No-Limit Hold’em Summer Series, and came first in Event 17, which earned her $2,330. A few days later, she participated in the WSOP Ladies No Limit Hold’em at the Annual WSOP and finished at the 45th place in a field of 601 players.
Youngest Woman at WSOP Final Table
The following year, she came in fifth at the WSOP Circuit event – Harrah’s New Orleans Poker Challenge. She played in the No Limit Hold’em tournament with a $200 buy-in and reached the final table. At the age of 23 years, it brought her the recognition of being the youngest woman to have reached the final table of a WSOP Circuit Event. She also took back $17,550 from the event. A month later, Rousso went into the WPT Season 4 Event of No-Limit Hold’em where again, she placed fifth.
Being a Member of Professional Poker Tour
In April 2006, Rousso became a part of the Professional Poker Tour (PPT), a television series for poker tournaments. By October that year, she had made it to the list of the top 80 earning in that year. At the Five Star World Poker Classic – WPT Championship held in 2006, Rousso came in 7th playing a No Limit Hold’em Championship. She then went on to have three money finishes at the Annual WSOP. In it she played in Event 4 and 5 in which she placed 80th and 63rd in the WSOP Limit Hold’em and WSOP Short Hand events. Rousso also played in the No Limit Hold’em Short Hand at the Annual WSOP, and placed 8th. Following this, she had her first win at a PPT event at the 4th Borgata Poker Open – No-Limit Hold’em with a $5,000 buy-in.
By late 2007, Rousso was part of a team of representatives from the poker industry that requested the US Congress to overturn the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. A few months later, Rousso made $700,782.50 – the biggest payday she had made at that time. She achieved this by playing at a No Limit Hold’em Main Event at the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP). She placed second in a field of 2998 players. WCOOP is hosted by her online sponsor – PokerStars. In 2008, Rousso had three money finishes at WSOP events.
Beating Other Professional Poker Players
In 2009, she participated in the National Heads-Up Poker Championship tournament, in which she came second by beating top poker professionals like Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu and Doyle. Following this, Rousso earned $749,467, which became her highest payday, and took her to the 16th position on the poker career winnings earnings list for that year. By mid 2009, Rousso had established her own instructional camp for poker. At the WSOP 2009 and 2010, she made four and two money finishes respectively.