- Nickname: LadyMaverick / Pokerness
- Facebook: VanessaRousso
- Twitter: @VanessaRousso
- Website: www.vanessarousso.com
- Birthdate: 5th February 1983
- Birthplace: White Plains, New York
- Residence: Hobe Sound, Florida/Las Vegas, Nevada
- Biggest Win: $700,160
- Total Winnings: $3,496,294
- Sponsored by: PokerStars
Vanessa Ashley Rousso has a dual-nationality, French and American, that matches her dual lifestyle. Though born in New York she spent her early years in Paris, in her father’s homeland. She was obviously a bright child able to read at three years old and, with her American mother’s help, bilingual in French and English. When her parents divorced in 1992, Vanessa went with her mother from France to Florida to start up a new life there. She proved to be popular and energetic at school and involved herself in sports, including swimming and lacrosse, as well as improving her mental dexterity as part of the school debate team.
In 2001, she accepted a scholarship to the prestigious Duke University and continued to excel. Somehow she managed to find time to volunteer for various charities and chair committees. Never one to relax, Vanessa used the her spare moments to study game theory and played backgammon, chess and of course, poker online. Despite her busy schedule she got her degree in economics in just two and a half years and aged 21, she went to study law at the University of Miami.
Now Vanessa was legally allowed to gamble in a real bricks and mortar casino, she began to take the opportunity at the local Seminole Hard Rock Casino whenever she could. With a confidence that comes from an-ever increasing bankroll, Rousso entered her first major tournament during her first summer holiday from law school. She managed seventh place in the World Series of Poker circuit event at Harrah’s in New Orleans making her the youngest woman ever to make a WSOP circuit final table. That summer she cashed in the WSOP No Limit Hold’em ladies event and would also win a smaller tournament worth $2,330. Not bad for a summer break.
Due to her university commitments it wasn’t until the following year, 2006, that she entered another tournament; again, a Harrah’s WSOP circuit event though this time in Atlantic City. The rumor mill tells of how Rousso wore her bathrobe for this tournament though whether this was an attempt to put off the men at the table or because her overfull schedule didn’t allow her time to dress is not known. Whatever the truth of the situation, she managed a fifth place finish and cashed $17,550. Vanessa was truly bitten by the tournament bug.
In 2006 she earned first in a WPT, Atlantic City and $285,450 and we tell the story of her seventh place at the WPT in Las Vegas and her stack of $263,625 the same year. In 2009 she earned first in the EPT Euro High Roller championships, playing No limit Hold’em, her payout was a massive $700,160. In 2010 she got third and cashed $358,964 in the WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic.
Proving that, not only can she compete with the best in ‘real’ casinos and online, she’s not phased by the television studio either and won $120,000 and NBC’s ‘Poker After Dark’ crown in early 2008. She got first in the same show in 2009 too. She appeared in Sports Illustrated in 2009 and many see her as a sex symbol. She married fellow PokerStars pro Chad Brown in 2009, they separated in 2012.
Five Star World Poker Classic 2006
Vanessa Rousso was desperate to enter the 2006 Five Star World Poker Classic at Bellagio’s, Las Vegas. She ended up selling shares in herself at $1000 a time to help her fund her $25,000 registration fee but had forgotten she had an important class on the first morning of the event. She went straight to the airport after her lesson and managed to arrive only three hours late and had lost less than five percent of her chip stack in blinds.
She found herself at a table with Liz Lieu and in her first hand was dealt an Ace Queen off-suit. The flop revealed two more queens but when the turn was a Jack, Rousso realized there were plenty of ways she could have lost the hand and only checked. The river was another Queen giving Vanessa quads but she quickly realized that Lieu would just fold unless she tried to give the impression she didn’t have a Queen. Rousso went ‘All in’ hoping Lieu would think she was trying to make a steal and after four minutes of thinking, Lieu called. Vanessa had doubled up in her first hand and it set her in good stead to come seventh and win $263,625.
Last updated July 2013