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  • Writer's pictureJHON REYMOND camba

Famous Female Gamblers Who Defied the Odds

There are many famous female gamblers lists out there, but it’s time to update them. The team is up for the task. In this article, we’ll speak about female legends of gambling and how they made history.

Some of them even had female gambler movies made about them. Read on for some spicy gossip and exclusive tips about women’s gambling icons.

1. Alice Ivers Alice Ivers, or Poker Alice, was a notorious, self-confident, skillful poker player in the late 19th and early 20th century. Poker Alice remains in the collective memory of gamblers as an assertive feminist icon in a male-ridden environment. Born in England and reared in the States, Alice Ivers got to know the game of Five-card stud early. Namely, her first husband – yes, she married many times – was a poker enthusiast who perished several years after the wedding. It was alongside him that Alice learned the rules of the trade. However, it was not until her second marriage that she became serious about her poker habits. Alice’s second husband was a fellow dealer whom she had saved from a pistol attack with her much-loved .38 gun. At that time, Alice Ivers frequented saloons, smoked, and made money through poker. As a poker strategy, she would spend all the won she won on flirty, full-length, ruched dresses. How can clothes be a part of a poker strategy? Well, Alice lived in a male-dominant world and had to work her way around gender inequality. Poker Alice user her ball gowns to distract men and drive their attention to her instead of the game. Then, she would use a moment of their inattention to turn the odds to her favor. However, Poker Alice was not just sly and attractive, but also shrewd and intelligent. She was a skilled card counter and for a long time made a living by playing poker. In 1987, Elizabeth Taylor played Poker Alice in the same-titled female gambler movie. Alice Ivers Duffield Tubbs Huckert was her full name; she took the names of each of her husbands. But gambling audiences will always remember her as Poker Alice. She lingers as a role model for female gamblers worldwide. 2. Lottie Deno Lottie Deno and Poker Alice were contemporaries but never crossed paths. Living in the American frontier, Charlotte Thompkins traveled a lot exercising her poker skills. As her father bred racehorses and was an avid gambler, he taught his youngest how to play cards. And lo and behold, she mastered the game in a heartbeat. She played so well that she earned herself a considerable fortune to live off of in her old days. At one point in her adulthood, Lottie found herself penniless. That is when she considered poker as a means to make ends meet. While in San Antonio in the mid-19th century, she met and fell head over heels for Frank Thurmond. As Thurmond was also a fervent gambler, the duo made a perfect couple. After Frank was accused of murder, Lottie decided to flee with him and they went on a gambling spree throughout the Wild West. While on the road, Carlotta was crowned many nicknames, from the Angel of San Antonio to Mystic Maud. But the world reminisces her as Lottie Deno, which is presumably short for Spanish “dinero” (money). A female gambler movie, or rather a series, was filmed about Lottie – Death Valley Days. The show won the Best Factual Television Program in 1961. Unlike our girl Alice, Lottie was much less outrageous and flamboyant. Instead, when Lottie had enough of poker, she pulled out from the game to enjoy her wealth. In the late 1880s, Frank became vice president of Deming National Bank. Carlotta J. Thompkins outlived her husband and lived to be 89. 3. Vanessa Selbst Moving on to modern times, we’re taking the time machine to the 21st century. Vanessa Selbst is a living legend and an ardent poker player. Vanessa Selbst is definitely one of the female gambler names you want to remember. In a sentence – Vanessa Selbst is arguably the best poker player that’s ever lived. In her career, she scooped 3 WSOP bracelets and has net winnings worth around $12,000,000. While fathoming such monetary fortune, Selbst became a celebrity, acting as a coach in PokerStars tournaments. She was an advisor to Cristiano Ronaldo in a charity tournament against the 2015 Miss World Mireia Lalaguna. You can’t walk in poker circles without hearing this poker legend’s name. She’s beaten all the popular male gamblers of her time. Selbst is the sole woman to win three bracelets in open tourneys. Even the notorious Daniel Negreanu took more time to achieve the same success in gambling. By vocation, Vanessa Selbst is a hedge fund manager with a degree from Yale Law School. At the time of writing, she is not an active professional poker player anymore. Check out Vanessa Selbst best moments below: 4. Sara Chafak Women in gambling have luckily become commonplace in the past couple of decades. More and more non-professional players take interest in casino tournaments. And it’s not just regular people who want a share of the pot – Misses do it, too. Sara Chafak, monikered Miss Finland in poker, represented the Scandinavian country in the beauty pageant in 2012. Similar to the legend Alice Ivers, Miss Finland used her wits and looks to defy the odds. Gamblers of the world shall forever remember the memorable moment in 2014 when Chafak bluffed her way out of the Shark Cage. The televised poker event was streamed live, displaying her impeccable bluffing skills and of course – poker face. And what a beautiful face that is! Young female gamblers sure have someone to admire. We love a female gambler who’s condemned in her skills and appearance. Actions speak louder than words, especially in poker. So, let’s check out Sara Chefak in poker action. 5. Melika Razavi We’re wrapping up this updated women in the gambling timeline with a recent event. In 2020, Melika Razavi won the World Series of Poker online bracelet. Hosted by our much-loved Danel Negreanu, the event took an unexpected turn, when Razavi slayed over 2,000 entries to end up on top. And did we mention she was also the most gorgeous participant of the tourney? Namely, Melika Razavi is Miss Global Iran 2016. Her beauty perfectly complemented her confidence, which surely helped her at feature tables. Iran-born poker princess resides in Cape Town, South Africa, but is happy to travel globally to join poker tourneys. A serial bluffer and a poker devotee, Razavi has just begun writing history among women in gambling. In 2020, she won her first bracelet. Who knows with how many she’ll end up before she withdraws from gambling? Can you take a guess? Drop your opinion in the comment section below! The 21st-century female poker player, that’s Melika Razavi in a nutshell. Let’s take a look at how she works her hands: Honorable Mentions We’d like to draw your attention to a few more female gambler names. These lady bettors preserved the heritage of female gamblers as it is today. Without them, there would likely be no casino chicks to look up to. Let’s give a round of applause to:

  • Maria Gertrudis ‘Tules’ Barcelo – First female casino owner

  • Claudine Williams – Inaugurated into Nevada’s Gaming Hall of Fame

  • Judy Bayley – The First Lady of Gambling

  • Annette Obrestad – Won her first $1 million in poker before turning 20

  • Kirsten Bicknell – ‘Femme Fatale’ of poker

Without these gambling dames, we could not imagine the gambling world as it is today. We thank these female gamblers for their legacy and we’ll remember them for good.

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