Jennifer Harman is an incredibly talented poker player, who
is currently a prominent member of Team Full Tilt. In 2002, she
became the first women to hold two World Series of Poker
bracelets and throughout her career she has won over $2.5
million from live tournaments alone.
She is probably even more famous for playing in the
high-stakes cash games at the Bellagio Hotel. Because of her
accomplishments, many people consider her to be one of the best
female poker players in the world.
An Early Love of the Game
Jennifer Harman was born on November 29th, 1964 in Reno,
Nevada. Harman’s first introduction to poker was when she would
sit with her father during his weekly poker games. Her father
eventually taught her how to play, after she begged him for
weeks. She had a natural talent for the game, and it wasn’t long
before he was coming to her for advice.
When she was seventeen, Harman’s mother passed away from
kidney failure. Harman and her mother had been very close, so
this was emotionally overbearing for her at the time. She used
poker as a distraction to keep her mind off the loss of her mom,
soon becoming addicted to the game. She used a fake ID to play
at the local casinos, but somehow never got caught.
After high school, she went to the University of Nevada where
she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. While in
school, she had a part time job as a cocktail waitress and when
she wasn’t working, she was playing poker. Even though she did
very well at school, she decided to pursue a career as a
professional poker player instead of working a regular 9-5 job.
Her father, conflicted by her decision, didn’t have contact with
her for years.
Accomplishments in Poker
It was at the 2000 WSOP No Limit Deuce to Seven Lowball event
where Harman’s career finally took off. Surprisingly, this was
the first time she ever played that specific version of poker,
but prior to the game she was given a five-minute run down of
how to play from poker legend, Howard Lederer. Despite her lack
of experience, she won first place in the tournament and earned
her first WSOP gold bracelet.
Harman won her second bracelet in the 2002 $5,000 Limit Texas
hold ’em event, becoming the first woman to hold two bracelets
in WSOP open events. That same year she was also part of the
group of poker professionals, called “The Corporation,” who
teamed up to take down the banker, Andy Beal. Harman was
responsible for winning over $9 million dollars from him.
In 2004, Harman’s reoccurring health issues with her kidney
got increasingly worse, so she had to have her second kidney
transplant. She decided it would be best to take a whole year
off from gambling so that she would have time to recover. Harman
took this time to write the Limit Hold’em chapter for Doyle
Brunson’s book, Super System II.
Her biggest accomplishment after her return was winning
second place in the inaugural World Series of Poker Europe HORSE
event. She also went on to compete in the World Poker Tour’s
Aruba Poker Classic and the 2008 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star
event, taking third place in both.
Today, she chooses to play in the largest cash game
available, the $4000/$8000 Texas Hold’em, at the Bellagio Hotel.
She competes against the most accomplished poker players in the
world, including Phil Ivey and Doyle Brunson.
A Passion for Helping Others
In order to help others who have struggled with kidney
failure, Harman founded the Creating Organ Donation Awareness
(CODA), a non-profit organization that raises money to support
the cause. She also donates a portion of her winnings to the
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Nevada.
In April 2006, she hosted the 1st annual Jennifer Harman
Charity Poker Tournament at the Venetian poker room in Las
Vegas. The tournament raised over half a million dollars for
people suffering from kidney failure, and the winner of the
tournament won a seat at the World Series of Poker main event.
In all of her endeavors she has the support of her loving
husband, Marco Traniello, a fellow professional poker player,
and their twin sons.
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