Women in Poker Hall of Fame to honor Hael, King, Selbst, and Tilly

Haley Hintze Author Photo
Haley Hintze
Posted on: November 16, 2022 19:36 PST

The Women in Poker Hall of Fame (WiPHoF) has announced its Class of 2022, comprised of four prominent women in poker: Angelica Hael, Terry King, Vanessa Selbst, and Jennifer Tilly. The four women offer distinct backgrounds and each has been an important contributor to the game in her own way, and the group will be honored at a December ceremony in Las Vegas.

The four women as a group represent the largest class to be enshrined since the WiPHoF's earliest years, and represent a catching up of sorts for the hall, which conducts elections only in even-numbered years and was forced to cancel its 2020 election cycle due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hael, King, Selbst, and Tilly were among seven WiPHoF finalists announced in early October. Three other finalists -- Kara Scott, Kristen Bicknell-Foxen, and Liv Boeree -- were also selected as 2022 finalists and will be among the top possible recipients of 2024 honors.

The group's selection follows a multi-step process that began with public nominations in late summer. Top nominees were then presented to WiPHoF's voting panel, which consists of the 19 living WiPHoF members, eight industry and media representatives, and an at-large public ballot voted on via WiPHoF's online site. (Disclosure: this writer was honored to be one of the eight industry/media voters.)

Brief bios of 2022 WiPHoF honorees

In announcing this year's class, the WiPHoF issued brief bios highlighting each of the four women's achievements and contributions to the game:

Angelica Hael – Vice President of Global Tour Management at World Poker Tour and is now in her 12th year with WPT. She oversees the overall management of World Poker Tour and WPT-branded events. Beyond her duties at WPT, Angelica has made it a mission to develop the WPT Women’s Poker Initiative, which has launched serious conversations around women in poker throughout the industry. This year, World Poker Tour has committed to a first-ever $200,000 Guarantee Women’s Championship, which will be filmed for television. Angelica is a visionary and has created a platform for women and all poker players worldwide.

Terry King – Terry King is one of the pioneering women in poker. She arrived in Las Vegas in 1972 and watched her friends play poker until she had the nerve to sit at a table on her own, after which Terry fell in love with the game. In 1978 she won the WSOP Ladies’ event bracelet and was one of the first women to deal in the $10,000 WSOP Main Event. Terry was a prop player and eventually moved to California to work at the Bicycle Club, now known as Parkwest Bicycle Casino. She also helped open Hollywood Park Casino and was a shift manager there for five years. Terry has been a poker player and industry person for over 50 years. She is also widely recognized as a poker historian, documenting stories from the early years of poker. She continues to share the game’s history in a popular Facebook group with over 4,000 members.

Vanessa Selbst – For over a decade, you couldn’t open a poker publication without seeing Venessa as a top-ranked player on poker leaderboards. Her ascent to stardom started at the 2006 World Series of Poker, where she managed to make the final table of the $2,000 No-Limit Hold ’em event, finishing in 7th place and banking $101,285 for her performance. In 2008 Vanessa won her first WSOP bracelet in a $1,500 PLO event, netting over a quarter of a million. Then in 2010, Selbst took down the North American Poker Tour Main Event, winning the prestigious title and the $750,000 first-place prize. She then went back to back, winning the same event the very next year, this time to the tune of $450,000. She also won the Partouche Poker Tour Main Event in September of 2010 for her biggest career win of over $1.8 million. To add to her long list of accomplishments, in 2012 and 2014, Vanessa won two more WSOP bracelets, becoming the only female player with three bracelets in open events. Although Vanessa has left poker professionally to pursue her career as an options trader, she still plays on occasion, which allows her to enjoy the game more than following the professional circuit. Vanessa has nearly $12 Million in tournament earnings, double the second highest-ranking person on the GPI Women’s All-Time Money List.

Jennifer Tilly – Although she may be best known for her long career in the entertainment industry, many don’t realize that Jennifer has been in poker for over 25 years. She is often the first to break out a deck of cards on a Hollywood set in between acting duties, and will often teach the crew how to play just to have people to play with. In 2004 she attended the WPT Celebrity Invitational at Commerce Casino in Los Angeles. The tournament combined poker with charity fundraising, but also gave Jennifer the opportunity to connect with other poker players with whom she could play live poker with in the future. It was at this event that she met Phil Laak, a professional poker player who has become her life partner. In 2005 she attended the WSOP and entered the Ladies Championship, winning her first WSOP bracelet and a $158,335 cash prize. Shortly after that, she won the WPT Ladies Night invitational event. She still plays ladies-only tournaments when possible because she enjoys the camaraderie. Jennifer has over $1 Million in tournament winnings and is a regular in high-stakes cash games.

Tilly, Hael react to selection

"Chucky" star Tilly was the first of the four new WiPHoF members to offer public comment on her selection. She posted a brief thank-you message Tuesday evening:

Hael retweeted the WiPHoF announcement as well. Selbst posts on Twitter only occasionally and had not appeared online in the hours after the WiPHoF announcement, while King is not active on social media.

All four honorees will have some time to practice their induction ceremony speeches over the next few weeks. The 2022 WiPHoF enshrinment ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. at the PokerGO studio, adjacent to the Aria casino in Las Vegas. The ceremony will be presented by Playtika LTD (playWSOP) and PokerGO Studios, is open to the public, and will be streamed live by PokerGO for those unable to attend in person. Other WiPHoF sponsors include the World Poker Tour, Women’s Poker Association, Poker Power, Women in Poker, Faded Spade, Game On Chip Co, Poker Queen Studios, Dreams & Queens, Tierra Fox, Aria Resort & Casino, The Venetian Las Vegas, bestbet Jacksonville, Ladies International Poker Series, and Misfits Poker League. The WiPHoF celebration also benefits Poker Gives, the charity founded by Linda Johnson, Jan Fisher, Lisa Tenner, and the late Mike Sexton.

Featured image source: YouTube Women in Poker Hall of Fame