Cathy Hulbert

The world’s greatest female professional gambler is not a title given out lightly – but Hulbert has earned it. She began playing blackjack while at university but it remained a hobby after she graduated and entered into the world of work. Feeling uninspired while working at the NY Senate, she switched assignments with a friend and ended up in a job to which she was not suited. All the while, her desire to gamble professionally grew and this in turn fuelled her decision to give up work and move to Las Vegas to learn to play poker.

After an encounter with the famous card counters “The Czechs”, she joined a team run by another famous blackjack player – Ken Uston. She almost stumbled on blackjack accidentally, but ended up winning lots of money – something that got her banned from many casinos.

Casino Bans

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Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Hulbert found herself banned from around 150 casinos around the globe for being part of Uston’s team and for winning so much money in the early years of her career. Most amusingly, she was banned from every casino in Asia despite having not (at that point) visited any countries on the continent, let alone any casinos. She attempted to circumvent many of these bans by wearing various disguises – sometimes dressing up as a man. She was found out many times and was arrested for trespass on no less than 50 occasions. The reason for this is that Hulbert and the rest of the team had become expert card counters. Though not illegal, many casinos consider it an unfair advantage in favour of the player and will ask a player to leave a table or casino when spotted. But in online blackjack, Casino’s like Vera John will use software that does all the shuffling so players don’t get to see this in person.

For a while, she took to playing slot machines but realising it was far more about chance than skill, decided to go back to cards.

Personal Life

After learning poker in the 1980s, she gave up blackjack for good. Hulbert entered many tournaments but has never won a WSOP or other world championship tournament either at blackjack or at poker. She has had a second place finish at the World Tag Team Challenge, LA in 1994.

Today, Hulbert runs several websites around gaming and still plays poker, though she gave up blackjack. She has authored several books that teach people to play blackjack and poker. Her most famous website is poker4girls.com. Her biggest book title is Outplaying the Boys: Poker Tips for Competitive Women.