Pro poker is often seen as a male-dominated sport, with players such as Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari and Daniel Colman regularly hitting the headlines as a result of their success. Dig a little deeper, though, and you’ll find a whole host of great female players – the following being the top five who we think may well encourage more male viewers…
1. Tatjana Pasalic
Croatian-born Pasalic now tends to stick to reporting rather than playing, but there’s no denying that she’s commonly cited as the most attractive woman in poker. Beginning her career as a country manager for an online poker site and then turning her hand to poker blogging, she’s also graced magazines such as Bluff, WPT and even Playboy. She is also credited with starting a poker boom in her home country of Croatia, motivating many young Croatians to follow in her footsteps and take up the game for themselves.
2. Liv Boeree
Boeree was first introduced to poker when she appeared on the 2005 TV show “Ultimatepoker.com Showdown”, where she was coached by a number of top players. She then went on to play regularly, winning the EPT main event in Sanremo in 2005, and taking second place in the UKIPT Edinburgh Main Event in 2014. She has also modelled in magazines such as Loaded and Maxim, and has turned her hand to presenting – both in the poker world and elsewhere. She’s also a keen guitarist.
3. Shannon Elizabeth
Although best known as an actress in films such as Scary Movie and American Pie, Shannon Elizabeth is one of a number of celebrities who have also made names for themselves on the poker circuit. Her best success to date has been coming in third in the 2007 NBC Heads Up Championship, and she has described poker as being her “second career”. She visits Vegas around three times each month to compete – and has even starred in poker-themed movies “Deal” and “The Grand”.
4. Lauren Kling
Young, blonde, beautiful, founder of a management consultancy firm AND successful at poker? Lauren Kling has it all. Born in Orlando, Florida, she moved to Vegas after university to live out her dream of playing poker professionally. Since then, she’s won well over $1m (including a $163k win in the UBOC 4 Championship of 2010), has been a NBC WSOP analyst and has played all over the globe. Lauren Kling truly is a deadly combination of beautiful, smart and a legend on the tables.
5. Sandra Naujoks
Nicknamed “The Black Mamba”, Germany’s Sandra Naujoks worked as a teacher, a marketer and a graphic designer before turning her hand to poker. Her prize winnings to date total over $2m, with her biggest success being winning the European Poker Tour Dortmund in 2008, where she took home a prize of €917,000. With her trademark cigar and black cowboy hat often making an appearance, she’s also involved in humanitarian projects around the globe.
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