11/04/2014

The Top Female Talents According to the Pros

Lee Davy

The Top Female Talents According to the Pros

When it comes to raw talent, who are the very best female poker players in the game?

I reached out to a few of pokers finest to ask them that very question and after numerous conversations my head was literally banging to the tune of two words.

Vanessa Selbst.

‘Obviously Vanessa Selbst is the best,” said Kyle Julius; ‘Vanessa is relentlessly aggressive and fights hard for every pot,” said Matt Salsberg; ‘She is fiercely competitive and highly intelligent,” said Elio Fox; ‘Fearless, plays every pot and not afraid to get her chips in,” said Chaz Chattha; ‘One of the smartest players in the game,” said Galen Hall; “Is in a league of her own and her thought processes are always on the cusp of where the game is going, and often before most of us have figured them out,” said Jason Wheeler.

“She went to Harvard Law, she competes at the highest level and manages to win tournaments consistently,” said Matt Marafioti; ‘Fearless,” said Allen Kessler; “She is one of those people who have an uncanny ability to “guess” right more than anyone else, and is not afraid to look stupid or take unconventional lines,” Said Mickey Petersen; “She applies a lot of pressure and is very creative post flop making it tough for her opponents,” said Byron Kaverman.

The quote that I like the most, think is so apt, and is also something that female poker players all over the world should take a minute to ponder is the one given by Marvin Rettenmaier.

“People actually fear her.”

Now how many male poker players can you staple that tag onto and watch it stick?

It seems Jason Wheeler is right when he says Vanessa Selbst is in a ‘league of her own,’ so who is leading the fight for the second best female player on the planet?

As one would expect the feedback that I received was wholly dependent on where the players spent most of their time playing poker. That aside, what interested me were the reasons why these players were all being heralded as truly talented poker players.

It seems the tight is right mentality is not something that impresses the players that I spoke to. Instead, talent was related to fearlessness, aggression and the willingness to make some moves; and I think this is something that any poker player looking to take their game to the next level should take on board.

The players I spoke to were very enthusiastic in their thought processes on the most talented female players, and there were no shortage of contenders. I remember Barry Carter writing an article for PokerStrategy where he raised the difficulties that female poker players had to contend with because of the inherent sexism in the game, and so it was refreshing to hear these top players talking about the most important facet of a female poker player: her talent.

The battle for second place was tough.

Many names were thrown at me but the one recurring name that came through was the Spaniard Ana Marquez. The winner of the Global Poker Index (GPI) European Poker Award for Leading Lady is impressing a lot of people with her wily ways, both live, online and in a wider variety of games than her counterparts. The ability to play mixed games is also something that makes Selbst a better player and it’s no coincidence that these two players were mentioned in such high regard.

“Ana Marquez is just getting better and better each time I see her,” said Kyle Julius; “Ana crushes both live and online and has some sick results,” said Salman Behbehani; “Ana is tough because you never really know what she is capable of until it’s too late,” said Jason Wheeler.

Other European based female players who got a mention were Melanie Weisner, Sinem Melin, Liv Boeree, Andriena Nutt and Annette Obrestad.

Chaz Chattha said that Andriena Nutt ‘was always looking to make the big play,’ that Sinem Melin ‘didn’t fear anyone, will station you down and doesn’t give away any tells.” Andrew Teng said that Melanie Weisner had, “a very advanced understanding of the game,” and was “fearless,” as well as having a great understanding of her live table image and how to best use that to her advantage. Bodo Sbrzesny said that Annette Obrestad, “really knew what she was doing, was able to see the right spots and exploit them,” and Mickey Petersen said that, “Liv Boeree had made huge changes to her game that he was very impressed with.”

When it comes to the stateside opinion the same qualities seem to shine.

Matt Salsberg had special praise for Lily Kiletto and Amanda Musumeci. He told me that Kiletto was ‘Out of her mind, extremely fun to play with and not scared to barrel with any two,” and that Musumeci was, ‘exceptional, trappy, and has a solid tight-aggressive game;” Matt Marafioti said that Lauren Kling has a fearless online style and ‘when on top of her game has a really aggressive style of play;” and Allen Kessler was waxing lyrical over the up and coming Loni Harwood and the relatively unknown players Candace Collins and Lori Bare.

So there you have it ladies.

If you are serious about your poker, and want to take it to the next level, then it seems if you want to curry favor amongst your fellow pros then the way forward is to develop a fearless aggressive approach with more moves than a bowl of jelly.

Now how hard can that be?

About the Author