Vanessa Rousso: French-American Professional Poker Player

Vanessa Rousso doesn’t need to rely on luck or even her
ravishing good looks to win poker because she uses the complex
concepts of game theory to surpass her competitors. Rousso’s
strategy clearly works wonders for her, as she earned more money
playing poker in 2007 than any other pro female poker player in
the United States.

Rousso has disputed the typical prejudices against blondes by
taking down some of the top names in poker time and time again.
Currently, she has earned more than $2.5 million in live and
online tournament games, making her number 10 on Florida’s All
Time Money List.

Early Life/ Education

Vanessa Ashley Rousso was born February 5th, 1983 in the
quaint city of White Plains, New York. Her father moved the
family back to Paris, France so that he could raise his children
in the same city where he grew up. She carries dual citizenship
for both the United States and France and she is fluent in both
English and French as well.

Rousso’s parents divorced when she was nine, forcing her to
move back to the Unites States with her mother; they stayed in
Florida with her grandparents until they could get back on their

You could never deny the sheer intelligence of Rousso,
starting from her youth and carrying out throughout her entire
adult life. In 2001, Rousso graduated as valedictorian of her
high school in Wellington, Florida. She maintained an overall
4.0 GPA over her entire high school career while also
participating in the National Honor Society, the French Honor
Society, and a plethora of other extra-curricular activities.

Rousso received scholarships from many different colleges,
but she ended up attending Duke University which she graduated
from in a record-breaking two and a half years. In December,
2003 she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics with a minor in
Political Science. She then moved on to the Miami School of Law
where she proceeded to graduate in the top 5% of her class.

Success in Poker

Rousso started playing poker online during high-school and
gradually built up her bankroll until she was old enough to
compete in live-tournaments. Her first tournament win was at the
No-Limit Hold’em Summer Series in 2005. That same year she
entered the World Series of Poker Championship, placing 45th in
the $1,000 Ladies No-Limit Texas hold ’em event.

After studying game theory at Duke, Rousso used those
concepts to excel at the poker tables. Game theory involves
taking the scenarios that could happen in poker and translating
them to a mathematic equation, while taking into consideration
the many possible variables that could affect the outcome of the

Her career really started taking off in February, 2006 when
Rousso placed fifth at the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em WSOP Circuit
event in Atlantic City. She was the youngest female player at
the time to reach a World Series of Poker final table, having
just turned twenty-three years old.

Shortly after that victory, Rousso joined the professional
poker tour where she cashed in at many of the tournaments,
earning over $260,000 in prize money. She even finished seventh
place in the $25,000 World Poker Tour No-Limit Hold’em
championship event.

Her greatest achievement was when she place second at the
2007 PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker main event,
winning over $700,000. She also placed second in the Ultimate
Poker challenge No Limit Hold’em championship that year, for
another $65,000. A couple years later in 2009, Rousso was almost
unstoppable at the NBC National Heads-Up Championship for a
runner-up finish and a quarter million dollars.

More recently in the 2011 European Poker Tour, Rousso
accomplished four money finishes in various events for over a
staggering $425,000. She also landed a first place finish in the
No Limit Hold’em Six Max event of the World Poker Tour’s
Nationals in Johannesburg. Rousso was sponsored by PokerStars
until February, 2015; she played for them under the screen-name
LadyMaverick. Rousso is currently sponsored by

For more details on Rousso’s career highlights, please refer
to the table below.

Largest Tournament Pay Outs

Date Tournament Results Prize Money
May 2009 European Highroller Championship 1st $962,958
December 2010 WPT No-Limit Hold’ em Main Event 3rd $358,964
September 2006 No Limit Hold’ em 1st $285,450
April 2006 WPT World Championship 7th $263,625
March 2009 No Limit Hold’ em 2nd $250,000

“I try not to emulate any one person’s style. Instead, I
chose to be a chameleon. I’ll switch it up. If I want to play
aggressive, maybe I’ll start playing like the Grinder (Mike
Mizrachi). Sometimes I want to play like Dan Harrington,
sometimes Phil Ivey. I have different modes for different
situations.” –Rouso said in regards to her playing style.

Personal Life

She met her future husband, Chad Brown, at the 2006 World
Poker Tour event. They instantly had a connection and within
three years, they were married. The couple separated in 2012 and
no one is exactly sure what lead to their divorce. Vanessa’s
only commentary on it was a tweet which said, “Despite great
mutual fondness and respect, Chad and I have separated.”

Rousso’s passion for poker inspired her to become one of the
leaders of the Poker Players Alliance who flew to Washington, DC
in an attempt to convince the United States Congress to retract
the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

Vanessa is also a sports-illustrated model. She was sent to
the Bahamas for a photo shoot, wearing only a bikini and a
PokerStars hat. Following the release of that photo, Rousso was
regarded as one of the sexiest poker players in the world,
ranking 18th by Bleacher Report and in the top 20 by Maxim as of

Rousso has managed to take her celebrity status and turn
herself into a brand name, endorsing various clothing lines,
accessories, and swimsuits. Not only does she like to endorse
athletic apparel, but she also enjoys wearing it, as staying
physically fit is especially important to her. Swimming is her
favorite physical activity, but she also enjoys running and yoga.