Poker: Woman’s Dabble, Man’s World

1The World Poker Tour is well known for showing the best of the best at the final table – no matter the gender. But those representing a piece of their image has an entirely different view.

In Idaho, there is an organization called Win a Free Seat, Inc. Different pubs, bars, and restaurants become sponsors for holding Texas Hold ‘Em tournaments. Get first place in their yearly tournament and you’ll win a free $10,000 seat at the World Series of Poker play-offs. As for the nightly rewards for showing up to play, the top three players receive the sponsor’s choice of gift. Often, gift certificates of the sponsor’s establishment are given out. But one such sponsor (that I personally know of) had another idea.

Win first place? Why, choose your poison! Men’s t-shirt or men’s visor? Oh, what a steal! As far as the woman who won first place (this last Wednesday) at the location in question was concerned, it wasn’t much of anything besides a message that sure, she and her “girlfriends’ could play” – but yeah, don’t expect to win.

I realize this is a local issue at present – but it makes me wonder. How seriously are women taken when it comes to professional poker? Texas Hold ‘Em has become a craze that has infected so many that the media is licking it up. But are women given the chance to take the title because they’re thought of as equals” – or because they’re not considered real competition?


  1. scarlett says

    I was reading an article about women professional poker players, and one of them suggested that the reason there were so few of them was because the odds of making a profit – let alone a decent living – out of professional poker playing were so small that it was mostly men, who thought it terms of the potential payoff rather then the liklihood of winning, were more likely to pursue it as a day job, whereas women, who thought more in terms of the liklihood of winning rather then the potential payoff, were far less likely to pursue it as a day job.
    So possibly, women aren’t taken seriously in poker because women, as a rule, are less likely to pursue such a tenous living, and therefor are present in much smaller numbers, to a point where they’re considered non-existant.
    Maybe I’m reaching, maybe I’m talking out of my ass, but I thought I’d throw it in there.

  2. Ifritah says

    You’ll have to excuse my eyebrow raise to her hypothesis. I’m not a big fan of someone throwing out the ‘women are like this, men act like that’ card. I do it occasionally if I’m being playful, but that’s about it.

    If I was to guess as to why women were such a small percentage of professional poker players, I would think it had more to do with our culture. Poker has been a man’s game for a very long time. The first images that come to my mind of poker is the Old West, men in the corner playing cards; Men having ‘poker night’ where women aren’t aloud to tread. Things like that. It’s taken a long time for women to feel that they have a right to play the game.

    It’s interesting to see the local tournaments though. I play every so often to spend some time with my mother, and quite often, women will make up an impressive percentage of the room. I can’t wait to see one of them win the seat and show what women are really capable of.

  3. Jennifer Kesler says

    Well, I’ll come right out and say it. They don’t want women to win. They don’t want women involved in poker, except as casino bunnies decorating the place.

    I may be going out on a limb, but poker has an association with the Old West and seedy Jersey bar backrooms. These are not environments in which women are “allowed” to compete with men.

  4. Ifritah says

    *Nod* That’s along the same lines as what I was saying to Scarlett. The images and thoughts representing poker are very man-oriented.

    But you’re very right. I think women making a place for themselves in poker is making some people jumpy, and they don’t like it one bit.

  5. scarlett says

    Yeah, as I said, it was one of those random thoughts that jumped into my head I thought like adding to the table.


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