Wicked Chops Award: Player of the Year

Winning a major title with two ladies is what we'd call "destiny."

Over the years, we’ve tried to take a bigger look at poker than just the numbers. We’re big picture, landscape guys.

In evaluating who our Player of the Year was going to be, we were looking for a combo of things: overall results, overall impact (or potential impact) on the game, sponsorship appeal, and the amorphous “more.”

So while Tom Marchese (Card Player) and Sorel Mizzi (Bluff) are certainly worthy of their respective Player of the Year honors, neither of them cut it as our pick.

For us, it really came down to two players: Vanessa Selbst, a woman who likes women, and the man the myth the legend, Big Sldick, Black Phil Ivey, Dwyte Pilgrim.

Both had ridiculous 2010’s.

Pilgrim grinded out 20 (20!) cashes (mostly in smaller buy-in events) and six (6!) victories (including his epic WPT Borgata Poker Open score of $733k). In doing so, Pilgrim added some much needed personality to a game that is being overrun by online math geeks. He’s one of the few guys on the circuit we can actually see have serious cross-over appeal. Also, he’s black. Where Phil Ivey is just at another level (i.e. the pinnacle), Pilgrim is more relatable to the masses, and *could* eventually help introduce the game to an underrepresented segment of the population (especially if ESPN had actually given him some decent screentime during the WSOP Main Event this year, but that’s another story).

However, despite all of this, Pilgrim doesn’t take our top honor.

That leaves us with Vanessa Selbst.

Believe it or not, we think Selbst represents a lot of what’s good about poker. She’s ridiculously talented. She’s handling poker the right way–instead of dropping out of school to chase the dragon, she went back to school to get a law degree (from Yale, no less). She’s outspoken and witty. She likes chicks. She won two major titles in 2010. In limited action, she banked more money on the circuit this year than any non-November-Niner ($2.8M). She also landed a sponsorship deal with PokerStars, becoming a Team Pro.

For us, this was the clincher. With Stars behind her, she can be marketed to the most underrepresented demo in the poker community: women.

In a sense, if handled properly, she could be our Billy Jean King. Or Nancy Lopez. Or Ellen.

So there you have it. During the Year of the WomanTM, it should make sense that our Wicked Chops Player of the Year is a woman. Vanessa Selbst is our Player of the Year.

* Photo courtesy of Winamax.


13 Responses

  1. gobbomom

    December 29, 2010 2:46 pm, Reply

    superb choice. not sure how her lesbianism rates so much attention in regards to her playing ability, because Vanessa is just a kick-ass, very personable player.

    • Chad

      December 30, 2010 9:38 pm, Reply

      Very personable player? WTF? Every single time she’s been on television, she’s acted so repulsively that she has to apologize in the forums. And then only after she’s acted repulsively in the forums and had to apologize for that too.

      She’s a bitter, hateful, angry piece of poo, and the fact that you call her ‘personable’ says a lot about you.

      She does, however, absolutely kick ass.

      • drunk_bunny

        January 29, 2011 11:51 am,

        she IS very personable. and outspoken.

        big fcking deal

        she says it like it is


        out of all the players in the world, the one player I would least like to play against?


        unless I have position and a 5-1 chip lead.

        then it’s a close call.

  2. jack

    December 29, 2010 5:20 pm, Reply

    this site is seriously lacking pictures of Victoria Moore. Instead you fags are putting up pics of lesbians. wtf?

  3. sajeffe

    December 29, 2010 5:36 pm, Reply

    I think Wicked Chops got it right with both Selbst and Pilgrim, but I can’t figure out why you think the fact that Selbst “likes chicks” is a factor in choosing her. Everything else makes sense, but what does her being a lesbian have to do with anything? Good to see both of them get some love from poker media though.

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