It’s time for year-end lists, and with ESPN having just wrapped up its broadcasts of the World Series of Poker, let’s count down 2013’s loveliest female card sharks. First, a word on criteria. A woman playing poker is sexy: the flick of the chips into the pot, the adjustment of her floppy hat, the cold stare through her shades. Thus, potential list-makers score points for playing regularly and for winning. Oh, and let’s give an honorable mention to Amanda Musumeci, Jessica Dawley, Erica Mouthino, and Iris Kuzu.
10. Vanessa Rousso
Rousso is one of the best-known women players, and probably the most successful of the current generation. She took down a WPT event in ’06 and the ‘09 EPT High Roller Championship, for which she pocketed just under a million. Lady Maverick also made it to the finals of the NBC Heads-up tournament in ’09. The 30-year-old Duke grad has a table persona that is equal parts all-business and jittery, and has had a few dust-ups over the years. But she’s part of a high-profile group of lady ballas that includes Liv Boeree, Maria Ho, Tiffany Michelle, and Vanessa Selbst, which means she always has support (“a rail” in poker parlance) when she makes a final table.
9. Angela Prada-Moed
InStash likes big round glasses and the cool, European look. Actually, Prada-Moed is originally from Colombia and lives in L.A., but to us she says European sophistication, hot-lady version. Probably my favorite thing about her is that a Google image search of her brings up a bunch of photos of cupcakes. Prada-Moed came in fourth in the 2012 Ladies No Limit Hold ‘Em Event at the WSOP –and that was in a field of 936. When she’s not stacking poker chips, Prada-Moed folds the chocolate kind into the treats she sells through her successful pastry business (so that’s why the cupcakes, we get it). Don’t be a stranger, Angela — any face time you put in at the felt is good for everyone.
8. Maria Ho
This LA gambler has had a fair amount of tournament success for a cash game specialist. The Taipei-born cutie has amassed $1.3 mil in tournament winnings and is the only player to be the last woman standing in both the WSOP Main Event and the WSOP Europe. This year’s World Series was a great one for Ho—she made three final tables.
7. Melanie Weisner
We bet Ms. Weisner is the object of as many crushes as anyone at the top of the list. You could easily imagine running into her around campus, and this, combined with the plunging necklines she prefers at the table, make her +EV in a big way. In truth, she graduated from NYU a few years ago, and she doesn’t think of you that way. She does, however, take a studied, theoretical approach to the game, the way any good online whiz would — she started racking up the cash online as Calisto5 about half a decade ago, and has been a fixture at major tournaments since about ’09. The Houston-born high-roller amassed a very impressive five cashes at this year’s WSOP. The future is bright for her on lists of top tourney winners and most beautiful ladies in the game.
6. Almira Skripchenko
Some of you may know this stunning Russian (now living in France) as a chess player — she’s a champion. As far as poker goes, she final-tabled a World Series event in ’09 and was the runner up at the WPT celebrity invitational event in ’11. We like women who know things we don’t, and Almira always wears a look like she knows a lot of things we don’t.
5. Kara Scott
What are you reading this for? Look at that picture. Good God, Kara. She was born in Canada, worked in the UK, and has now settled here. She went from covering poker to playing and more than holding her own in some big events. Her tournament winnings total more than half a million and she’s cashed twice in the WSOP Main Event. For the last few years she’s served as ESPN’s sideline reporter, offering solace to busted-out runners.
4. Sandra Naujoks
There’s cool European sophistication, and then there’s very warm European sophistication. Germany’s Naujoks, member of the second category, has $2 million in tournament winnings. Her nickname is “Black Mamba,” which we don’t think she received while working as a teacher — she actually owns that kind of snake. Naujoks is the founder of a charity called All in 4 Kids, through which poker players work together to build schools in Cambodia. She describes it in this interview with a lady you’ll find higher on the list, Tatjana Pasalic.
3. Liv Boeree
Fact: there are no bad-looking women named Liv. Now, we’re doing our damnedest best to use pictures of the women at the poker table, but, let’s be realistic here. If you’re thinking “I could go all-in with my pair of deuces and still be a slight fave against the AK she pulled out of her panties,” you need a break from the game. Anyhoo, Boeree took down the San Remo EPT event in 2010, pulling in a paltry $1.7 million, and has 49 tournament cashes — and counting — to her name.
2. Lauren Kling
If you’re gonna play online under the handle SUPERMODL, you better look like this. What, was, IMHOTTERTHANYOURGIRLFRIENDANDCANCALCULATEIMPLIEDPOTODDS taken? This Vegas babe took home $163K in a 2010 UltimateBet event back in the good ol’ days of online poker. If you’re that good without your looks distracting your foes, your live game should work out pretty well, too, and Kling has a WSOP Main Event and a few WPT cashes to her name.
1. Tatjana Pasalic
You can kind of imagine Adam talking to God about a companion and ordering up something like Tatjana, right? She’s curvy and just-right-thin and has that nice-girl face that’s hard to resist. Like Kara Scott, this Croatian heartbreaker got into the game as a reporter before playing. She’s still learning, but has made it through Day One of the WSOP ME three years running — raise your hand if that’s true for you. In 2012, Tatjana lost a proposition bet to her boyfriend and, as a result, had to play the ME in a cat suit. The real winner? Every single one of us. Congrats on number one, Tatjana. Don’t ever change.
[Featured Image via RakeTheRake.com]