Women in Poker: Melissa Hayden
Melissa Hayden grew up following her artistic interests & had a very clear vision of being a photojournalist, which later came true. In her days of being a photojournalist, Melissa quickly developed a passion for poker after playing with her colleagues in a home game.
With her new-found experience and passion in poker, Melissa took advice of the players at the home game that encouraged her to play at the Mayfair Club.
Being in the company of the great poker legends at the Mayfair Club, who initially got their own start at this very own legendary club in New York helped her improve her game. Melissa found a way to pursue both of her passions by working as a photographer at some of the world’s biggest poker events until she took up an offer from a fellow friend at Mayfair who wanted her in World Series of Poker event in 2000. She finished second and won $142,000. Hayden was the top femme finisher, taking eighteenth place. Melissa, who came up through the ranks at the famous Mayfair Club in New York, the one where Howard Lederer, Erik Seidel and Dan Harrington used to play, certainly has the talent and aspirations to take down the “Big One”. Hence, she continued and further added another $18,000 to her lifetime tournament earnings of more than $750,000. Also, in ‘07, she took first place in the Five Star World Poker Classic Super Satellite where she earned over $46,000 at the WPT Championship. As of now, Melissa’s live tournament winnings exceed $850,000 and her biggest return to date was at the 2000 World Series of Poker limit hold event, where she won $142,000.
Hayden got placed fifth in the WPT Ladies’ Night V Tournament at the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, California, on September 1, 2007. Yet, it was also the breaking year for her. Later when Melissa was pointed out, at the ultra-successful Alaskan fur trader which happened to be at the Bellagio that day. By grossing almost $600,000 in tournament play, she stands out as one of the most consistent earners in the field of poker.
Hayden now continues to travel the tournament circuit with boyfriend Allen Cunningham.