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Selbst in familiar position after Day 4

11 April 2010

UNCASVILLE, Connecticut -- Vanessa Selbst is in a familiar position heading into the final table at the North American Poker Tour Mohegan Sun Main Event.

For the third day in a row, the Yale Law School student ended play in the top three in chips. And for much of Day 4, she had a massive chip lead.


A familiar sight throughout the tournament was Vanessa Selbst taking down a large pot. (photo by Vin Narayanan)

Selbst ended Day 2 with 542,600 in chips. She ended Day 3 with 2.285 million. She ended Day 4 with 4.54 million, only slightly behind Mike Beasley's 4.985 million chip stack.

"I feel pretty good. I'm playing my 'A' game," she said. "There (are) definitely some tough players and it's not going to be easy but I feel really good about my chances."

The words "machine" and "Terminator" were thrown around by other players during Day 4 when describing Selbst's "A" game.

"I feel if I get heads-up (with Selbst) I could get second," said Cliff "JohnnyBax" Josephy.

For much of the day, it looked like she was on a mission to eliminate everyone in sight.

She eliminated Dale Jamison before the second break of the day. Jamison had entered play third in chips.

She eliminated Ian Palomo after her pocket nines held up against his ace-jack. And she eliminated Alan Sternberg in a hand where Sternberg moved all-in for 1.62 million. Selbst had some sort of read on him, and she called with AH-5C. The read was correct, because Sternberg sheepishly turned over 6S-5S.

"I made one huge call (on the day), and I was shocked I dominated someone," she said. "I wasn't shocked to see 6-5 suited. Obviously if I call ace-five it's because I expect to see hands like that. I was shocked to dominate him, which was awesome."

Selbst seemed to be in complete control of her table throughout the day. She was the first one to color up with the orange chips. When a spectator asked what denomination those orange chips were, someone told him they were 100,000 each.


Vanessa Selbst (right) is entering the final table with the second largest chip stack. (photo by Vin Narayanan)

"Wow," was the simple reply from the man. Selbst had a stack of oranges.

At one point in Day 4, Selbst controlled around 30 percent of all chips in play. She lost some of these chips late in the day, and only Beasley's knockout of Brandon Hall prevented Selbst from being the chip leader heading into the televised final table.

"Obviously when I have a third of the chips in play I get to re-raise everybody all the time, which is nice," she said. "Now I get to re-raise everybody half the time."

It wasn't smooth sailing for Selbst at the beginning of the tournament. She said her competition on Day 1 was especially difficult.

"I was one of the poker players sitting in the poker room in the beginning of the tournament," she said. "That was a pretty, pretty big deal sort of putting all the cash buy-in players together. So we had it much, much tougher. I had a very tough table my first table for most of the first day."

Selbst said she thought Mohegan Sun had done a "fabulous job" with the tournament, although she admits that there were "some kinks because it's their first tournament (and) that's to be expected." One of those kinks was putting the cash buy-in players together. She also said the breaking situation had been bad.

Selbst is not a full-time poker player, which she said is a plus.

"It makes it a lot more fun. I come up here and I'm having fun," she said. "There's not (any) pressure. I'm not like 80K in the hole for the year. I'm only putting 30K into tournaments for the year. If I lose 30K it's not a big deal. There's not that pressure going on and it's fun again.

"And I think that having poker be fun makes you really play your (best). When you're only playing like 14, 15, 20 days a year, it's a lot easier to play your 'A' game that many days than play it 200, 250 days."

Selbst will occupy Seat 3 on Sunday, with Josephy on her right and Derek Raymond on her left. She said she is happy where she is heading into tomorrow. However, she knows things will be different once players start getting knocked out.

"I like my position at the table," she said. "I don't have any huge stacks on my left that I'm really worried about. Whatever, we're eight-handed. It's not like we're four-handed. There's going to be mostly playing your cards, a little bit of moves here and there. But once we get short-handed obviously everything can change. Until then, I feel pretty good about it."

And for those who think Selbst will be fazed by the pressures of ESPN, think again.

"This ain't my first rodeo," she said with a laugh.

Selbst in familiar position after Day 4 is republished from