Vanessa Selbst Uses Her Poker Prize Money To Fund Nonprofits
The majority of poker players whether live poker or online poker have a goal to win tournaments that have large payouts so that they can become multi-millionaires and afford a luxury lifestyle. Most poker players who make it big on the poker circuit and win millions of dollars in prize money spend most of it on fancy cars, premium real estate, VIP travel and lavish parties.
Take poker player Dan Bilzerian who has millions of followers on instagram. Bilzerian has promoted himself of being a high-stakes poker player who has won millions of dollars playing poker. Bilzerian is famous on instagram as he constantly posts pictures of his lavish lifestyle involving private airplanes, expensive watches, VIP mansions and being surrounded by beautiful at all times.
There are exceptions to this rule of poker players flaunting their prize money and Vanessa Selbst is clearly one of them. She is currently the only woman who is a poker world champion and has also won the highest amount of prize money on the women’s circuit. Selbst has earned over $12 million playing professional poker and a lot more in sponsorships but she has never been one to flaunt her wealth and promote a lavish lifestyle.
This is probably because of her upbringing and the values she holds dear to her. The 31 year old professional poker player is a graduate of Yale Law School and recently cleared the bar exam. Selbt is very passionate about justice and defending the helpless from being exploited by those in power. She invests significant amounts of cash into these non-government organizations to empower the downtrodden and help them have a better life. Selbst not only contributes money but she also invests her free time in visiting organizations like the Urban Justice Centre and meeting with the needy.
In a statement, Vanessa Selbst said
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and I was excited by the idea of using my money to help activists realize a grand vision for change, while simultaneously getting to work with the founders on their projects in the beginning stages. I had two personal experiences where I stood up for my rights with police and they abused their power to illegally humiliate, detain, and arrest me, despite being in the wrong. From that point on, I knew I needed to work on that issue specifically. I’m happy that the issue has gotten a lot of public attention in the last year and change, but there is still so much more work to be done.