Selbst defends NAPT Mohegan Sun title

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Exactly one year and two days ago, Vanessa Selbst was posing for her winner’s photos behind a mountain of chips, just moments after winning the inaugural PokerStars.net NAPT Mohegan Sun Main Event title in Connecticut.

Fast forward one year and two days later: Same venue. Same event. Same champion.

Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Selbst accomplished the unthinkable Wednesday night, capturing the 2011 PokerStars.net NAPT Mohegan Sun Main Event title to become the first and only player with multiple NAPT titles to her name.

"For some reason, Connecticut and poker agrees with me," Selbst said. "It’s so incredible, I can’t even describe it. Every time I leave law school to go and play a poker tournament, I have a joke that my friends expect me to win because I’ve literally just won every tournament that I’ve played in Connecticut the past two years."

Selbst topped a 387-player field en route to claiming her second NAPT Mohegan Sun title and $450,000 in prize money.

Asked how the repeat victory feels in comparison to the first, Selbst said:

"I have no words to describe how I feel right now. To be able to defend the title is amazing. They both meant tremendous things for different reasons, but this (the repeat) is really, really important to me."

Selbst overcame a significant chip disadvantage when play reached the heads-up stage. Runner-up Dan Shak owned roughly 74 percent of the chips in play; Selbst, the rest. Midway through the heads-up match, Selbst flopped a set of kings in a pivotal hand that gave her the chip lead, and from there, she never looked back.

Shak, a 51-year-old trader from New York, collected $254,000 in prize money for his runner-up finish.

Notably, Joe Tehan also reached the final table of the NAPT Mohegan Sun Main Event with a chance to, like Selbst, become the first player to win multiple NAPT Main Event titles. The 30-year-old professional poker player from Las Vegas, NV won the 2010 NAPT Los Angeles Main Event last November ($725,000). Tehan was eliminated in sixth place ($70,000) by fourth place finisher Thomas Hoglund Jr. ($120,000).

For more on this story be sure to pick up your free copy of the JUNE issue of Ante Up in your local poker room.