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There’s a temptation when ranking women poker players to just go for the obvious. As a red blooded male who eats uncooked steak and drives 4X4s into cattle, the easy decision would be to rate lady cardsharps on how fertile their hips are.

But did I mention that I’m also a feminist? I support total equality in all things. Now is the time, in this modern age, to abolish gender-based toilets and instate a policy of All Lipstick All The Time. These are my heartfelt beliefs and for that reason I would never dream of classing these talented humans on such a puerile basis. It has nothing at all to do with the fact that another FTR writer recently published an article along those lines.

So what sort of objective measure could I subject poker’s finest females to? The answer was simple. Money makes the world go round and it makes poker tick. So here are the top 5 female poker players, ranked according to their hauls from live events across the world.

5. Vanessa Rousso

For a long time, Vanessa was best known as online player LadyMaverick, but the last few years have seen her make a splash on the live circuit. She now has almost $3 million in career tournament earnings, gathered from results like 3rd in the WPT Doyle Brunson Classic and 2nd in the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship. The latter is perhaps her most high profile score, battling past Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, and Doyle Brunson to reach the final.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpF6fKCNx6A[/youtube]

4. Vanessa Selbst

The second and final Vanessa in this top five list is notable for having amassed the vast majority of her winnings in the last 12 months. Having collected more than $3.6 million in cash, we’ll see if she ever returns to complete that postponed law degree. Selbst’s most profitable results were both big 2010 event wins, including 1st at the NAPT Mohegan Sun and 1st at Partouche Poker Tour in Cannes, France.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icYs_R5W9kk[/youtube]

3. Annette Obrestad

Few people had even heard of this Norwegian master before she won the inaugural WSOPE in 2007. Those that had weren’t surprised to see Annette_15 become the youngest every winner of a WSOP bracelet. Since then she has gone on to post many impressive finishes, making her the most successful female player to have graduated from online to live play.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yg8ulANveSI[/youtube]

2. Annie Duke

In 2009, Annie became more than poker player. Her appearances on Celebrity Apprentice made her a bona-fide household name. More than any other female player she has courted the limelight. Only Phil Hellmuth and Amarilo Slim have bettered her in terms of mainstream air time. Back on the felt she has over $4.2 million in live tournament winnings and shows no sign of slowing down.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-V2-wld8K5c[/youtube]

1. Kathy Liebert

Kathy has been the premiere female poker player for as long as most can remember. She posted her first tournament cash in 1994 and has continued to lead the field up to the poker boom and beyond. With over $5.8 million in her pocket, she is far and away the winningest lady of the felt.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfONqXDHxUs[/youtube]