Poker great Vanessa Selbst announced on New Year’s Eve that she was retiring from playing poker professionally, but her appearance in a poker tournament just a couple of weeks later caused some controversy in the poker world.
“Will any friends be at the Hard Rock this weekend?” Selbst asked on Twitter. “It’s gonna be my first tournament as a [recreational player] and I’m actually giddy with excitement.”
Several days later, Dan Shak, a high roller peer of Selbst’s, took issue with her retirement.
“Why retire two weeks before you play a tournament?” Shak asked. “Kind of doesn’t make sense. Why not just wait till after this one? Kind of an insult to all the press and people that reached out to wish you good luck on your new journey. Seems the same as the old.”
According to Selbst, Shak’s criticism was indicative of more widespread feedback she received after she said she would be playing in the World Poker Tour stop. “People been giving me shit all weekend,” said Selbst, who is currently working at the world’s largest hedge fund.
“Such a weird world where so many people are mad that I played a poker tournament for fun after announcing retirement,” Selbst continued. “I’ve been working full-time for almost half a year. Like how is this a thing to be mad about? What a weird world.”
Selbst ended up busting early in the tournament at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
The New Yorker’s retirement announcement didn’t surprise many. She cashed in just two tournaments last year. Still, she has about $11 million in lifetime earnings, making her the top female earner of all time. She has three WSOP bracelets.