The 10 Most Famous Female Gamblers in History

Gambling isn’t just for men! The classic image of a casino gambler might be a well-dressed man in a suit staring at cards in consternation, but that’s not the whole truth. Women enjoy gambling just as much.

Despite this, women are quite underrepresented when it comes to gambling. This is quite a sad state of affairs, especially considering the incredible achievements of many women in the industry.

So, here are 10 of the boldest women in history who made history at casinos.

10. Carlotta ‘Lotte Deno’ Thompkins

One of the oldest female figures in gambling, ‘Lotte Deno’, real-name Carlotta Thompkins, was born in Kentucky in 1844. She learned all about gambling from her father.

She blazed a trail throughout Texas and New Mexico, gambling and racking up huge wins at every place they stopped at. She quickly became a gambling legend throughout Texas and the Wild West.

9. Poker Alice

Poker Alice Ivers Duffield Tubbs Huckert

Alice was born in England but moved to America as a child. In Leadville, Colorado, she met her first husband, Frank. When her husband died in an accident, she picked up Poker to support herself and found she had incredible talent at it.

She eventually got a reputation for playing Poker, and people would come from all over to either watch her play or to challenge her.

8. Claudine Williams

Claudine Williams was deeply involved in the early casino scene in Nevada. Though she was never a prolific gambler herself, she was famous for founding the Holiday Casino, one of the biggest establishments there.

She made history in Nevada by being the first to own a casino-slash-strip club.

7. Judy Bayley

Judy Bayley, born in 1915, would become one of the biggest figures in the casino industry in Nevada. Her husband, Warren Bayley, had ambitions to build a motel. In 1956, the two moved to Nevada and set up the Hacienda motel.

When her husband Warren died in 1964, she took over the casino and made it an even bigger success, despite not actually having any experience running a business.

Today, the Judy Bayley Theater in Las Vegas is named after her.

6. Annie Duke

Annie Duke

Born in 1965, Anie started gambling in her twenties and rarely stopped since. She started off playing Poker for fun, but she quickly became a professional.

She exploded into fame when she entered the 1994 World Series and won over $70,000. Today, she’s retired but still ranks fourth in the list of female poker earners.

5.  Kathy Liebert

Kathy Liebert is one of the biggest modern poker champions. She reached the finals in six different World tournaments and achieved top positions in several other tournaments too.

She’s also won one World Series tournament, making her the second-biggest female earner from professional poker.

4. Victoria Coren Mitchell

Victoria Coren Mitchell is one of the UK’s biggest female poker players. However, that’s not all she is. She’s also a published author and a BBC presenter.

All her other work hasn’t stopped her from entering the Women in Poker Hall of Fame. So far, she’s earned more than two and a half million dollars from professional gambling.

3. Annette Obrestad

Unique Women - Annette Obrestad

Here’s a poker player you could catch on Youtube! Anette Obrestad, born in 1988, is one of the youngest famous female players. She started playing the game at just 15, though she avoided actually gambling illegally.

She earned some of the best online casino payouts during her stint at online casinos. She’s currently the 6th in Poker Earners, with just shy of $4 million.

2. Kristen Bicknell

A Canadian poker player, Kristen Bicknell holds 3rd place in the list of highest poker earners. She started playing online when she was in University, in 2011. She quickly became a celebrated name.

In fact, by 2017, she was ranked as the number one female professional poker player in the world. She’s earned over 5 million dollars so far.

1. Vanessa Selbst

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Vanessa Selbst currently holds the #1 position on the Poker earnings leaderboard, with nearly$12 million earned over her career. She was also the only woman ever to have been ranked #1 in the Global Poker Index. That might just makes her the best female poker player in history.

Her talents aren’t limited to just the poker table. She’s studied at MIT and Yale, with a degree in law, and works as a hedge fund manager when she’s not playing poker.


Plenty of women have made gambling history. There may not be as many women in gambling compared to men, but that doesn’t invalidate their accomplishments. If you are a young woman looking to play poker professionally, you have plenty of role models to look up to!

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