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Kelly Minkin – From Law School to Crushing Poker Tables as a Side Gig

Kelly Minkin is an American poker player and lawyer best known for being named the GPI Female Player of the Year 2016.

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Her total live poker tournament earnings are north of $1.5 million, and her biggest score up to this point in her career is 3rd place in the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open, for which she earned $262,912.

Some of her most memorable moments came during the World Series of Poker Main Events in 2015 and 2018. In both of these tournaments, she was the last female player left in the field as she finished in 29th and 50th places, thus becoming only the 5th female player to achieve this feat multiple times.

Full NameFull Name
Kelly Julia Minkin
Net WorthNet Worth
$2 million
Source of WealthSource of Wealth
Professional poker player, attorney
Famous forFamous for
GPI Female Player of the Year 2016
March 29, 1987, Wisconsin

Minkin is not only one of the most famous gamblers, she is also successful away from the game. She has two degrees in medicine and law, making her an academically successful poker player.

In this article, we bring you the Kelly Minkin poker journey, including Kelly Minkin net worth, her life story, and some of her biggest tournament wins.

Kelly Minkin Highlights

Kelly Minkin’s highlights
  • GPI Female Player of the Year 2016
  • One of five female players who were the last women left in the WSOP Main Event multiple times
  • Won 2nd place and $151,983 in her first tournament ever, the 9th Annual Arizona State Poker Championship in 2013
  • Has a degree in law as well as in Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • Not a full-time poker player

Early Years and Upbringing

Kelly Julia Minkin was born on March 29, 1987, in Waukesha, Wisconsin. When she was 8 years old, her family, including her parents and two brothers, moved to Phoenix, Arizona.

She developed an interest in sports such as basketball, volleyball, and softball early in her life. In addition, she spent a lot of her time running and even tried water skiing.

After graduating from high school, Minkin enrolled at the University of Arizona, where she first chose to study molecular biology and cell biology before applying for a law exam and becoming a law student.

During her studies, she developed an interest in the field of medical practice, so after she finished college, she decided to specialize in the field of illegal medical practice. However, this did not stop her from getting a bachelor's degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona.

Although she had a full-time job at this point in her life, she never stopped playing poker, for which she also developed a passion early in life.

The Start of Her Poker Career

In one of her interviews, she stated that her family often played poker while she was growing up, which is how she fell in love with the game. Later, she often spent her free time playing poker with her boyfriend in casinos during her university years.

When her boyfriend, who was a basketball player, left the country to play overseas, Mikin found herself with a lot more free time, so she decided to take poker more seriously. She was quite successful from the start and moved from 1/3 to 2/5 No-Limit in no time.

After graduating from college in 2013, Minkin played her first real live poker tournament. She says that at first, she was very hesitant because she had no real experience in tournaments and was primarily a cash game player. However, after her father insisted, she decided to buy into the 9th Annual Arizona State Poker Championship.

In the end, this proved to be the right decision as she won 2nd place along with $151,983.

Fast forward two years, and Minkin had one of her best poker years. In January 2015, she won a $500 buy-in event at L.A. Poker Classic and went home $54,630 richer. Then she achieved her biggest tournament score just a month later when she finished in 3rd place at the $3,500 buy-in WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open Championship and won $262,912.

For her achievements on the live tournament scene, Minkin was named the Global Poker Index Female Poker Player of The Year at the 2016 America Poker Awards.

Kelly Minkin WSOP Main Event Performance

Kelly Minkin WSOP Main Events participation was in the summer of the same year, where she was the last woman left and finished the tournament in 29th place for a $211,821 payday. Although this was an extraordinary achievement for Minkin, she later said she felt very disappointed as she had even bigger expectations.

All in all, this was the deep run that made her famous in the poker community, as WSOP is the most televised poker event of the year and everyone wanted an interview with the last female poker player left in the tournament.

Three years later, at the 2018 World Series of Poker, Minkin made another deep run in the Main Event, finishing in 50th place as the last female poker player in the tournament once again. This time she was rewarded with $ 156,265 for her troubles, and she also made history as only the 5th female player to be the last woman left in the Main Event multiple times.

Kelly Minkin’s quote

"I play poker by adapting to my surroundings. I'm a naturally aggressive player, and I like to be the one applying the pressure, but I realize that sometimes you have to pull back a bit and respond to what the rest of the table is doing, even if it seems a little passive."

Kelly Minkin

Kelly Minkin Net Worth & Winnings

Because she is not a full-time poker player, it is hard to estimate Kelly Minkin net worth. However, when it comes to poker, she is now primarily a tournament player, so there is some information about her achievements on the live poker scene.

At the moment, Minkin's live tournament winnings are $1,529,649, which puts her in the 1,466th place on the Poker's All-Time Money List and in the 805th place on the US All-Time Money List.

This, coupled with the fact that she is a full-time lawyer, makes us believe that Kelly Minkin's net worth is somewhere around $2 million.

Where Is She Today?

Nowadays, Kelly Minkin lives with her partner Landen Lucas and their one-year-old son Izaia in Arizona.

Lucas is a professional basketball player and has also played poker tournaments in the last few years. The couple can often be seen playing WSOP Circuit events and WPT tournaments.

According to Minkin's Instagram page, the couple has successfully balanced their full-time professions, poker, and family. This is an extraordinary feat, especially for Minkin, who has been among the best female poker players in the last decade.

Minkin played her last tournament at the 2022 World Series of poker when she participated in the $600 No Limit Hold'em - Deep Stack Championship and min cashed for $ 1,293.


Who Is Kelly Minkin?

Kelly Minkin is an American poker player and lawyer best known for being named the GPI Female Player of the Year 2016.

Her total live poker tournament earnings exceed $1.5 million.

Is Kelly Minkin Married?

Kelly Mikin is married to Landen Lucas, a professional basketball player, and the couple has a one-year-old son Izaia.

How Tall Is Kelly Minkin?

There is no exact info about Kelly Mikin's height online, but judging by some of her photos, she is around 5'6.

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