March 8th is International Women’s Day and what better way for OUSC to celebrate women than to honor some of the most famous female gamblers. While the gambling industry is considered to be dominated by men, many women have made a name for themselves by excelling at casino gameplay.
From the very first ones who broke through gender barriers to today’s female poker champions, women have played an important role in the gambling and online casino industry. Below are a few females we have been inspired by, including information on their road to glory and triumph playing casino games!
Women Who Have Made Gambling History
The following list showcases some of the many women who have helped break the glass ceiling when it comes to gambling, as well as others that are making headlines today.
1. Vanessa Selbst – World Series of Poker Superstar
Perhaps one of the most famous female gamblers at poker tables, Vanessa Selbst is a must-add to this list. The poker pro has earned over $10 million during her career. She won three World Series of Poker bracelets, made the final table of World Poker Tour events, and participated in countless other major events.
In 2018, she stepped away from the professional poker scene but does not seem to have given up poker for good. Her amassed earnings are so large, it will be some time before she will be outdone on the all-time female money earned list in the poker world.
2. Lottie Deno – Poker Queen
Going back a few decades, Lottie Deno was a woman to be reckoned with during the Wild West days. Lottie was a successful gambler, having been nicknamed the Poker Queen for her skill. She was even able to get the best of Doc Holliday at the poker table.
During her poker career, Lottie earned a small fortune from the cards. She was able to use the money to retire comfortably, dying at the age of 89, which is rare during the frontier days.
3. Judy Bayley – First Lady of Gambling
A less recognized name, Judy Bayley is certainly one who deserves credit in the gambling world. Known as the First Lady of Gambling, Judy and her husband Warren Bayley opened the Hacienda in 1956 in an area between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
After her husband died, she would become the first woman in Nevada history to be the sole owner and operator of the Hacienda Casino.
She would have to work hard, especially considering her husband left behind several casino debts which hurt the casino she was trying to run. Among her many successes was being the first person to bring Live keno to the Strip via the Hacienda Casino.
4. Annette Obrestad – Youngest World Series of Poker Champion
Another poker player on our list, Annette Obrestad is the youngest individual to make the cut. She began in online poker and was in the public eye as a teenager when she became the youngest person to win the World Series of Poker Europe in 2007.
She then took on several big events including the European Poker Tour and the Aussie Millions. In the events, Annette was able to finish at the final table, including winning the 2010 Aussie Millions.
5. Shirley Brancucci – First Female Baccarat Dealer
As the first female baccarat dealer on the Las Vegas Strip, Shirley Brancucci is yet another female that should be recognized. Shirley started as a cocktail server in 1952 in Las Vegas, knowing she could use Sin City to make good money.
She found serving difficult due to back issues, so she wanted to make a change. Taking a course and learning all the games, Shirley opted to not focus on blackjack at Las Vegas, a game where females were already working as dealers.
In the beginning, it was tough for Shirley as male players did not think she would be able to deal the game. However, once players go to know her, they loved her and she became a popular baccarat dealer in no time.
Celebrate International Women’s Day!
These are just a few of the amazing females that can be seen dominating the gambling world. As we look at their accomplishments, we can continue to see how women have an impact on gambling as well as in the world as a whole. Don’t forget to celebrate International Women’s Day with that the women in your life and those that have made a positive impact in your life.
What Casino Games Do Women Prefer?
Check out our Women and Gambling Research Page to learn more about women’s gambling habits.