Gambling is often seen as a male-dominated activity, but there are many women who have made their mark on the world of gambling. Whether they are professional poker players, casino owners, or pioneers of the industry, these women have shown their skills, courage, and charisma at the gambling tables. Here are 10 of the most famous female gamblers in history and what they have achieved.
1. Poker Alice
Poker Alice was one of the first female gamblers in the Wild West. She was born Alice Ivers in England in 1851 and moved to America with her family when she was 12. She married a mining engineer named Frank Duffield and learned to play poker from him. After he died in a mining accident, she started playing poker professionally to support herself. She traveled around Colorado, New Mexico, and South Dakota, playing in saloons and casinos. She was known for her beauty, wit, and skill at the game. She once claimed to have won $250,000 in her career, which would be equivalent to about $3 million today. She also ran her own gambling house and brothel in South Dakota until she retired in 1910. She died in 1930 at the age of 79. Definitely worth being in the list of top 10 most famous female gamblers of all time!
2. Maria Gertrudis Barcelo
Maria Gertrudis Barcelo was another female gambler from the 19th century who became famous in New Mexico. She was born in Mexico in 1800 and moved to Santa Fe with her husband Manuel Antonio Sisneros in 1825. She opened a gambling saloon called La Casa de la Tules, which became a popular spot for politicians, soldiers, and traders. She was known for her charm, intelligence, and influence in the region. She also supported the Mexican cause during the Mexican-American War and helped fund the rebellion of Manuel Armijo in 1846. She died in 1852 at the age of 52.
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3. Eleanor Dumont
Eleanor Dumont was another female gambler who made a name for herself in California during the Gold Rush. She was born in France in 1829 and moved to America in 1854. She opened a gambling parlor called Vingt-et-un (French for 21) in Nevada City, where she dealt blackjack and offered champagne to her customers. She was known for her elegance, sophistication, and skill at the game. She later moved to other mining towns and opened more gambling establishments. She also had several romantic affairs with notorious outlaws and miners. She died by suicide in 1879 at the age of 50.
4. Claudine Williams
Claudine Williams was one of the first female casino owners and managers in Las Vegas. She was born in Louisiana in 1921 and started working in gambling halls when she was 15. She moved to Las Vegas with her husband Shelby Williams in 1964 and opened the Holiday Casino on the Strip. She became the first woman to receive a gambling license from the Nevada Gaming Commission and the first woman to be appointed to the board of directors of a major casino corporation. She also helped develop Harrah’s Entertainment into one of the largest gaming companies in the world. She was inducted into the Gaming Hall of Fame in 1992 and died in 2009 at the age of 88.
5. Annie Duke
Annie Duke is one of the most successful female poker players of all time. She was born in New Hampshire in 1965 and graduated from Columbia University with a degree in psychology. She learned to play poker from her brother Howard Lederer, who is also a professional poker player. She moved to Las Vegas in 1994 and started playing poker professionally. She has won several major tournaments, including a World Series of Poker bracelet in 2004 and the National Heads-Up Poker Championship in 2010. She has also written several books on poker strategy and appeared on various TV shows and podcasts. She retired from poker in 2012 and now works as a speaker and consultant on decision making.
6. Vanessa Selbst
Vanessa Selbst is another female poker player who has achieved remarkable success at the game. She was born in New York in 1984 and graduated from Yale University with a degree in political science. She started playing poker online when she was 18 and soon became one of the best players in the world. She has won three World Series of Poker bracelets, two North American Poker Tour titles, and one Partouche Poker Tour title. She is the only woman to have reached the number one ranking on the Global Poker Index and the highest earning female poker player of all time with over $11 million in winnings. She retired from poker in 2018 and now works as a hedge fund manager.
7. Kathy Liebert
Kathy Liebert is another female poker player who has made a mark on the game. She was born in Tennessee in 1967 and graduated from Marist College with a degree in business. She worked as a business analyst and a prop trader before pursuing poker as a career. She has won several major tournaments, including a World Series of Poker bracelet in 2004 and a World Poker Tour title in 2005. She is the first woman to win a million-dollar prize in a poker tournament and the second highest earning female poker player of all time with over $6 million in winnings. She is still active in the poker scene and plays both live and online.
8. Victoria Coren Mitchell
Victoria Coren Mitchell is a female poker player who is also known for her work as a writer, broadcaster, and quiz show host. She was born in London in 1972 and graduated from Oxford University with a degree in English. She started playing poker when she was 14 and became a regular at the Victoria Casino in London. She has won two European Poker Tour titles, one in 2006 and one in 2014, becoming the first and only player to do so. She has also written several books on poker and other topics and appeared on various TV shows and podcasts. She is married to comedian David Mitchell and has over $2 million in poker winnings.
9. Kristen Bicknell
Kristen Bicknell is a female poker player who is currently ranked as the number one female player in the world by the Global Poker Index. She was born in Canada in 1986 and graduated from Brock University with a degree in kinesiology. She started playing poker online when she was 18 and soon became one of the best players on the site PokerStars. She has won three World Series of Poker bracelets, one in 2013, one in 2016, and one in 2020. She has also won several high roller events and online tournaments. She has over $5 million in live poker winnings and over $3 million in online poker winnings. Worth a mention in the top 10 most famous female gamblers of all time, right?
10. Jennifer Harman
Jennifer Harman is a female poker player who is famous as one of the best cash game players of all time. She was born in Nevada in 1964 and started playing poker when she was eight. She dropped out of college to pursue poker as a career and soon became a regular at the high stakes games in Las Vegas. She has won two World Series of Poker bracelets, one in 2000 and one in 2002, both in different variants of poker. She has also played in several TV shows and documentaries, such as High Stakes Poker and The Big Game. She has over $2 million in live poker winnings and is a member of the Poker Hall of Fame.
These are the top 10 most famous female gamblers who have excelled at the game of gambling. They have shown their talent, passion, and perseverance at the tables and inspired many other women to follow their footsteps. They have also contributed to the growth and development of the gambling industry and culture. They deserve our respect and admiration for their achievements.