Top 10 Female Gamblers that Made it to the History Books

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Female Gamblers. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Although many see gambling as an all-boys club, the industry has birthed many famous female gamblers who were on par or better than their male counterparts.

While men have traditionally dominated the gambling industry, a few skilled female gamblers have left an indelible mark on the industry. These ladies gave their male opponents a run for their buck by excelling in games that range from poker to baccarat and keno.

Female gamblers not only came a long way in asserting their position around casino tables but have managed to scoop up astonishing prizes and jackpots along the way. 

Top 10 Female Gamblers

Here is the list of the top 10 female gamblers who have helped create the casino history over the decades:

1. Judy Bayley

Judy Bayley was known as the first lady of gambling. She married Warren Bailey, the owner of an extensive network of hotels in California. They eventually expanded their business to Las Vegas, and after Warren passed away, Judy became the first woman to have both owned and operated a casino hotel.

2. Claudine Williams

Williams was the first female to be inducted into Nevada’s gambling hall of fame, remaining one of its few female inductees. Williams is lauded for her contribution to the growth of the gambling industry. She was also the youngest female in Texas to run a gambling venue, which she did before she turned 21.

3. Kristen Bicknell

Bicknell is a Canadian female poker player who has competed in numerous tournaments and has earned the penname The Ultimate Grinder. Between 2011 and 2013, Bicknell is estimated to have won CA$7.5 million while playing poker. By 2020, she had collected over CA$5 million from tournaments, garnering her yet another moniker, Femme Fatale.

4. Vanessa Selbst

This World Series of Poker superstar is one of the most famous women in the gambling industry. Selbst won US$110 million during her active years, plus three World Series of Poker bracelets. If that does not make her one of the top 10 female gamblers, it’s worth mentioning that she also made it to the finals of the World Poker Tour events.

5. Lottie Deno

Deno, whose actual name was Carlotta Thompkins, was one of the first female gamblers. Her father taught her all the gambling tricks, and she speedily rose to become the queen of poker. Her gaming career spanned from 1868 to 1880, and she paved the way for many future female gamblers.

6. Annette Oberstad

Obrestad had a hugely successful gambling career, although she is mainly known for her big YouTube channel. She started gambling when she was 15 years old, and between 2015 and 2016, she pocketed over a million dollars in prizes. As a cherry on the top, she won another million at the World Series of Poker tournament in Europe on her 19th birthday.

7. Shirley Branucci

Brancucci, the first female baccarat dealer on the Vegas Strip, was not a player. Still, she was one of the pioneering women who made it to a gaming position many see as a men’s domain.

8. Kathy Liebeth

Liebeth is a legendary poker player and one of Colorado’s most famous female gamblers. Liebeth successfully made it to a world poker tour final table and came third at the 2005 Bogart Open, making her the highest finishing WPT woman at the time.

9. Gladys Knight

Gladys Knight is a well-known entertainer and singer, but she also dabbled in baccarat and blackjack. In fact, in one of her books, Knight discusses her time as a female gambler. Knight explains how casinos do everything in their power to make individuals feel comfortable so that they continue playing and returning for more. After discovering casino games by accident, Knight spent a decade living the coveted life as a blackjack and baccarat player.

10. Jane Willis

Willis was a member of the MIT blackjack squad and, as such, deserves the honour of one of the most iconic female gamblers in history. Willis no longer plays blackjack, although she was one of MIT’s most accomplished spotters. Because casinos generally don’t believe women are adept at math, Willis is one of the reasons why the team stayed undiscovered for so long.

Willis attended law school during her time on MIT, and while she was one of the most capable team members, she also became a formidable presence in the legal industry.

And there you have it; the top 10 female gamblers who have turned their passion into success. However, these are not the only female gamblers to look out for, with more ladies entering the industry and taking over the gambling tables. So, if you wish to be like one of these stars, start training straight away!  

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