Arguably the best female poker player of all-time. She was born on the 29th of Novemeber 1964, in Reno, Nevada. It is said that she begun watching and sitting beside her father in home poker games, this is considered as one of the factors that propelled her to poker. She began attending card rooms with a fake ID while still underage. At the age of seventeen she lost her mother who suffered kidney failure. She attended University of Nevada-Reno studying Biology while making ends meet as a cocktail waitress. She graduated and decided to pursue poker professionally. This decision would put her at loggerheads with her father. The two would later reconcile in 2004 after a period of no contact.
She suffered from the kidney illness that took her mother. This resulted in a brief one year hiatus, from poker in 2004 to have her 2nd kidney transplant. She is married to Marco Traniello who is a stylist turned pro poker player. The couple has two boys. Pro poker player, Daniel Negreanu is known to be a close friend of Jennifer’s.
Her childhood exposure to family poker games they hosted are said to have been the corner stone of her poker success. Jennifer’s determination towards poker is evident in the extent she went to procure a fake ID just to attend poker games and gambling joints. Her poker pedigree was evident after a five minute tutorial by Howard Lederer in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) event in 2000. Remarkably, winning, beating out Lyle Berman and Steve Zolotow winning her first bracelet at the prestigious No-Limit-Deuce-to-Seven-Lowball event. Of note is the fact that she had never actually played the game prior to this and she debuted as a novice compared to her opponents.
Her second bracelet would come in 2002, at the $5k Limit Hold em event. An event that pros like Tran Mimi, Allen Cunningham and Humberto Brenes regularly take part in. This fete would make her the very first woman to hold both WSOP open events bracelets. Vanessa Selbst in 2012 would later join her in the record books in this achievement. After her hiatus to have a 2nd kidney transplant she would return to finish 4th at the World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic, then 5th in the Inaugural Professional Poker Tour event and later, 2nd in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in the WSOP circuit championship.
Jennifer was also a member of “The Corporation”, a group of pro poker players who banded together to play Andy Beal, a banker, heads up. She was single handily, responsible for winning $9 million from Beal by the outfit.
Her other successes include, placing 3rd at the Aruba Classic in season 1 of WPT. She earned $330,000 for taking third at the 2008 WPT 101 Bay Shooting Star event. She appeared in both GSN’s High Stakes Poker and NBC’s “Poker After Dark”, playing four nights a week in “The Big Game” at the Bellagio against the best poker professionals. Her total live earnings exceed $2,433,000 as of July 2012. $982,382 of her earnings come from WSOP events.
Jennifer is the only female player to play in the “Big Game”. She is quoted as saying “You just have to be good at playing in all situations. You play with good players and sometimes you play with great players. That’s just how poker is. You just have to focus, not play horribly and there’s a chance you can do well.”. Being a beneficiary of kidney transplants, she is an advocate of Creating Donor Awareness (CODA) an organisation she founded. She uses Charity Poker to raise funds for causes in charity foundations like CODA and National Kidney Foundation of Curtis and Co-Watches and Dream team poker. She is a famed host for charity poker, like in 2009; organised celebrity poker raising $111,000. Jennifer is also a writer. Hold’em in Super System 2 is one of her written works.