Wendeen sidled up to her first poker game, as a lark following her fortieth birthday. The next spring, she made a splash at the newly created high stakes "No Limit" game, at the fabled Mayfair Club. She took down a monster pot amid gasps from pros who saw her as nothing but a minnow in shark-infested waters.
A year later she was fully committed to conquering the competition, noting that businessmen like her beau and their friend Lyle Berman were standout players.
On day three of the 1986 World Series of Poker Main Event, Wendeen found herself as the first woman to earn prize money at the WSOP Main Event. Terry Rogers, a famous odds maker in attendance, refused her request to bet on herself to cash. He did book a long shot bet on her cashing- glibly suggesting that she could become the odds-on favorite to place last in the field--mostly long-time pros!
Instead, Wendeen landed a windfall in an historic finish as the first woman in poker history to cash at the "Big Dance." She has since racked up 10 record-setting performances for a woman in major competitions. She also has been an active leader in the industry and a leading ambassador for the game in the United States and abroad.
Her Company's clients include large gaming and hospitality businesses that include poker as one of their "amenities." She writes about gaming issues with global impact and about all aspects of poker. From Wendeen's perspective, her most potent contribution to the poker world was her unyielding activism to stamp out smoking--of any kind-- in leading public poker rooms around the world.
- Hall of Fame 6th place (1988)
- Winner, European Open (1990)
- Winner (High Stakes Invitational) 2000
- WPT Bellagio 5 Star Cash (2003)
- WPT-Last Woman Standing (2003)
- US Poker Championship Cash (2004)
- WPT Professional Poker Tour-elected, sponsored (2004).
- 7 WSOP cashes (1986-2009)
Notable Media Attention
- Court TV
- A & E Biography
- GQ Magazine
- New York Times
- LV Review Journal
- ABC News-business feature story
- Poker Night in America, CBS Sports (
- Celebrity Player WPT Ladies Night II Travel Channel
- Poker Royale, GSN, Masters vs Youngbloods, series runner-up.
- Sponsored for Elle Magazine Queens of Heart Team, WSOP.
Throughout her professional career, the media has shown interest in Wendeen's combined experience in business, politics, and gaming. She has been featured in print, digital press, on television and in film.
Most recently she was contacted by Rolling Stone, CNN, and Campfire movie/television studio with invitations to appear in upcoming political documentaries. She limited her participation to one project, presented at the Tribeca Film Festival (June 2022)
Wendeen was a significant force in persuading Donald Trump's Taj Mahal poker room in Atlantic City to go non-smoking and a key advocate of poker room smoking bans around the country and across the pond in Paris.
As the Chairman of the WSOP International Players Advisory Council, CEO of the player-driven World Poker Association, and as a journalist and speaker in the poker world, Wendeen has been a strong proponent of abuse-free conduct and respectful sportsmanship in competition at the tables, worldwide.
Today her poker exploits are principally at charitable and corporate poker events, and she supports numerous poker tournaments that include a charitable component. Wendeen donates a portion of her winnings from participation to charities associated with medical research and educational opportunities for children.
Print and Broadcast Journalism, Too
Wendeen frequently breaks new ground in the poker world, not only at the poker tables and as an industry leader but also as a print and broadcast journalist.
- First female poker player to commentate for WSOP (ESPN, 1987).
- Director/anchor, first live poker tournament podcast (USPC,1999).
- Co-anchor of filmed TOC, a pilot for the WPT (2001).
- First investigative feature story in any poker magazine (Poker Digest)
- Internet broadcast, last WSOP event (Binion's Horseshoe, 2005).