As WSOP nears, versatile Vanessa Russo’s game peaks

Vanessa Russo’s shocking success at just 25 years old should come as no surprise. The fact that she did it while playing poker for a living may have caught some people off guard.

To put it bluntly, there were countless careers to choose from for someone with female smarts (and looks) like Rousseau. She self-described “academic geek” and graduated summa cum laude from Wellington High School in Florida in 2001. She then went to Duke on a full scholarship, where she graduated with honors and a light degree in economics after only two ½ years.

That’s where I went straight to the University of Miami law school, where Rousseau (pronounced “Rue-so”) planned to get a law degree, decide on a career, and then move on to the top of the profession.

“I headed to Wall Street or the law firm. That was my whole life,” she says with a smile. “Being where I am today is not what I imagined.” 온라인카지노

And now she lives in a tall condominium on a Las Vegas strip. She has already made more than $1.6 million as a professional poker player, making her into the top 25 all-time female prize money.

Next week she will be in Brazil for the first event of the Latin American poker tour, after which she will retreat to Vegas for a three-week break before the start of World Series poker.

Keeping her busy during the time will be two book projects that the multilingual Rousseau (English, French, and Spanish) is working on. The first is a work of poker strategy and game theory, which will be released within next year, and the other is a casino-set novel that hopes to be released next year.

“Life is good now, I can’t complain,” she says. “It feels great to finally have a home base here in Vegas. It’s nice to have a closet and be able to see all my clothes instead of buying them as a suitcase.”

Travel was always a part of Rousseau’s life even before he became a regular on world poker tours. She was born in New York, but spent the first 10 years of her life in France. And according to her tally, she has moved more than 20 times since coming to the U.S.

When Rousseau traveled across the country, Sangsu was a game she played with her family. Whether it was board games, chess, basketball, or poker or Rousseau, her two sisters loved to compete. Rousseau first learned how to play poker when she was five. But when she took a game theory class at Duke, her interest in the game skyrocketed to a whole new level.

The school’s class notebook explains how “students analyze situations in which two or more parties compete, decide what is the best course of action for each of them, and hypothesize what the outcome of the conflict will be.” And Rousseau credits this class for making the poker star that it is today.

“It was a huge asset,” she explains. “Game theory allows you to reduce the probability of a particular individual bluffing down to a particular variable. So what you do is insert that variable into the equation to optimize your behavior and maximize profits in the long run.”

And that’s what she’s been doing since then. In her first year of law school, Rousseau started competing in tournaments, and more than just holding her own. In 2005, she took seventh place in the WSOP Tournament Circuit at Harah’s in New Orleans.

In the months leading up to the 2006 WPT five-star World Poker Classic, Russo, who had already made $40,000 as a poker player, began asking friends and family to buy her “stock” as she attempted to raise enough money to buy $25,000.

Ten people decided to make this investment. And when Rousseau earned $250,000 in seventh place in a race of more than 500 players, her investors not only earned ten times the amount but also secured a place in history as the people who helped launch the career of one of poker’s most recognized players.

“That was the competition that put me on the map,” says Rousseau. “Around that time, PokerStars approached me about a sponsorship deal. That’s when I started to think I could do this for a living.”

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