The poker world is chock full of talented female players: Annette Obrestad, Liv Boeree, Melanie Weisner, Vanessa Rouso, and Vanessa Selbst, to name a few—each of whom have enjoyed considerable success both online and in live arenas. Add to that list French poker pro Gaelle Baumann who is, perhaps, best known as the final table “bubble girl” at the 2012 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event.
Baumann hails from Strasbourg, France, and currently splits her time between Malta and London, England. Her live tournament career winnings are just over $1 million.
Gaelle Baumann is highly educated, having earned two master’s degrees: one in English linguistics and literature, and the other in translation. After graduation, she moved to Perth, Australia, to improve her English and to enjoy the beach lifestyle.
In 2007, while in Australia, Baumann began playing poker after being invited to a home game where she did extremely well. She then made the leap to online poker under the moniker “O RLY” with a modest €100 deposit. “If I lose, I quit,” she said; however, Baumann progressed quickly and immediately did well in single table SNGs. Baumann progressed to Multi Table Tournaments (MTT) and won $1,500; however, after subsequently losing her winnings, she moved from online tournaments to live cash games.
Baumann returned to France in 2010 and continued playing live and online. She achieved considerable success and made a name for herself among the “Limpers”—some of the best European cash gamers—who offered her several months of coaching. Thanks to this training, over a short span of six months, Baumann improved rapidly, winning $22,000 and gaining renown as one of the few online female grinders. With a sweet bankroll, she decided to make poker her full-time vocation.
Sponsorship and motherhood
In early 2012—a mere one-and-a-half years after turning pro—Gaelle Baumann received a sponsorship deal with Winmax—one of Europe’s most prestigious and largest online poker sites—and relocated to Malta.
In June 2015, Baumann gave birth to her daughter, Léa, with her companion and fellow poker pro Kevin Noblat. Becoming a mom hasn’t changed her play, but, as would be expected, it has changed her life.
In 2011, Gaelle Baumann entered the live tournament scene and cashed in the ChiliPoker Deepstack Open €550 Main Event in Cannes, France, where she placed 14th and won €3,000 ($4,405).
Soon thereafter, in 2012, Baumann entered her first WSOP where she cashed in three tournaments: the $2,500 No-Limit Hold’Em event, the $1,000 No-Limit Hold’Em Ladies Championship event where she placed 15th, and the aforementioned $10,000 Main Event. In fact, the beautiful and talented 35-year-old was the last female standing at the Main Event where she finished a very impressive 10th and won a hefty $590,442—her largest live cash and the best female performance in the Main Event over the previous 17 years.
Along with her three 2012 WSOP money finishes, Gaelle Baumann has three more WSOP cashes as well as five European Poker Tour money finishes. Baumann was, again, the last female standing in the 2016 Main Event. However, she finished in 102nd place, taking home “only” $50,000.
Take a look at some highlights from her WSOP appearance.
Gaelle Baumann in action
Let’s take a look at Gaelle Baumann in action with these five hands.
5. Baumann and Boeree
In the 2013 National Heads-Up Poker Tournament, Baumann takes on—and beats—the equally stunning Liv Boeree.
If you wish, you can also watch the entire match here.
4. Skill and composure in Spain
At the 2013 EPT Barcelona, Baumann outplays Mark Rumi.
3. Racing toward the bubble
Here’s a lucky hand from Day 6 of the 2012 WSOP Main Event where Baumann rivers a nut flush, beats David Balkin’s trip tens, and doubles up as she approaches the top ten.
2. Don’t you hate when this happens?
Of course, Baumann can’t win every hand. In another Day 6 WSOP Main Event hand, Baumann gets her aces cracked by French-Canadian Marc-Andre LaDouceur. For comic relief, Norman Chad tries to play matchmaker whilst commentating.
1. The cooler of all coolers
Finally, there is the 2017 WSOP Main Event where Baumann knocks Vanessa Selbst out on Day 1 with her turned quads.
Gaelle Baumann is, indeed, one to keep an eye on in the poker world. Certainly she has already made quite the name for herself as the highest-finishing female at two WSOP Main Events and, undoubtedly, she will reap much more success. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
Until next time.
Read more from Upswing Poker:
- The Top 20 Female Poker Players of All Time
- Jennifer Tilly: Life and Times of the Unabombshell
- Mirage Poker Room Review: Are the New Digs Worth the Trip?
Natalie Faulk is a Las Vegas-based freelance writer/blogger and the author of several books. She is an avid low-stakes (for now) poker player and huge Vegas Golden Knights fan.