Vanessa Selbst Returns to Action, Bags Big on Day 1 at WPT Fallsview Poker Classic

Vanessa Selbst retired from the game of poker two years ago, but she’s back in action, at least for the time being, and bagged one of the biggest stacks on Day 1 at the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic in Niagara Falls.

Vanessa Selbst WPT poker

Vanessa Selbst back on the felt is good for the game of poker. (Image: wpt.com)

The CAD $5,000 ($3,780 USD) event attracted a large field of talented pros and amateurs. When registration closed on Day 1, the tournament had 594 entries, creating a prize pool of CAD $2,708,046 ($2,048,090 USD). The eventual winner, to be crowned Sunday, will take home CAD $508,021 ($384,215 USD).

Each of the top 75 finishers will earn a guaranteed payday of CAD $6,720 ($5,082), but the ultimate goal is to win the whole thing, earn the six-figure payday, and become a WPT champion. Perhaps, that individual will be Selbst, the retired former PokerStars Team Pro member who moved on to hedge fund management in 2018.

Will Selbst Finally Win a WPT Title?

Selbst has had success on the World Poker Tour. She’s made two WPT final tables, but it’s been over six years since she sat under the TV lights. She finished runner-up at the 2013 Borgata Poker Open for $492,569. The three-time WSOP bracelet winner also returned to WPT action this past fall when she ran deep at the Borgata Poker Open in September (14th place for $39,350).

Back in action again at the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic, Selbst put on an impressive performance on Day 1, bagging 400,520 chips, which isn’t too far off chip leader Blair Hinkle’s stack (520,000). Blinds will start at 2,500/5,000 with a 5,000 big blind ante when play resumes at noon ET on Saturday.

Selbst, the game’s all-time winningest female tournament pro ($11.9 million), will have her work cut out for her these next two days. There are many talented pros among the 143 remaining players, including big stacks Parker “tonkaaaap” Talbot (369,500), Jeff Madsen (262,000), Alex Foxen (260,000), and Mike Leah (230,000).

Some other big-name pros bagged small stacks, including another female poker great, Kristen Bicknell (80,000), Olivier Busquet (72,000), and Upeshka De Silva (39,000). No player advanced to Day 2 with 100 or more big blinds. The field will likely start thinning quickly on Saturday, and it shouldn’t take long to approach the money bubble.

Jon Sofen
Written by
Jon Sofen
LAS VEGAS -- Like many others, Jon began playing poker after Chris Moneymaker’s WSOP victory in 2003. Since then, he's become a prolific writer about the game, offering daily news coverage for the CardsChat community. Away from the table, he's a proud Midwesterner, and possibly the world's biggest Kansas City Royals and Iowa Hawkeyes fan.

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