Vanessa Selbst struggles with titles – poker pro, lawyer, social justice advocate – Selbst is all of those; but she was also called “the Luckiest Donkey of all time” during her rise to the top of the all-time female money list with $11.8 million. Selbst’s journey to the top of the poker world is as improbable is it gets and the latest episode of Pokerography, exclusively on PokerGO, charts her rise.

Selbst was raised in New York City by a single mom and exceeded academically. She graduated from Yale University and Law School, playing poker on the side. “There was the Big Game at Yale $1/$1 blinds and soI got really into that game,” she said. “When I would go back to the City during summer I would commute to all the card clubs there. There was action every night – it was great.”

Fellow pro and Super High Roller Bowl commentator Nick Schulman was around the same age as Selbst and in New York at the time. “We were both playing in underground games in New York City when we were both teenagers – 19 and 20,” he said. “She was really hard on herself – that you usually see from people who are going to get really good – she wanted it.”

Selbst focused all of her attention to online poker after a personal tragedy. She quickly rose the ranks of online players and built a sizable bankroll, which allowed her to play some live events. Selbst had an explosive run in poker where she won three World Series of Poker bracelets, 15 tournament wins and has three separate seven-figure scores.

Vanessa Selbst and friends after winning her third WSOP bracelet. (Photo: PokerPhotoArchive.com)

Selbst reduced her time on the felt to pursue a social justice projects in New York. Selbst was the victim of unfair treatment by police while in college, which set her on the path to get involved.

“For all the negative and positive that goes along with it, I am 100% me. All of the time,” Selbst said.

Watch the full Pokerography of Vanessa Selbst only on PokerGO, alongside other new episodes that feature Celina Lin, Jennifer Tilly and Jason Somerville.