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Battle of the Sexes



 

Poker has traditionally been considered a man’s game. It traces its origins to traveling soldiers and dark, smoky bars and there’s no doubt that the male majority is still high at modern tables and tournaments. Still, to say the game of poker is strictly a man’s game today would be an outright fallacy. Despite the changing face of poker (or rather the changing faces) some doubts remain about female poker players and their place in the future of the game. We're here to set the record straight.


One of the reasons that some people believe that men are better poker players is that they greatly outnumber women in the game. This isn’t a reflection of skill so much as a reflection of varying interests. Additionally, statistics show that the number of women playing poker competitively is rising fast, and their skill level is rising fast too. In fact, many of the bigger online poker rooms have formed sister sites (no pun intended) specifically for female members while others have opened all-woman leagues. These advancements are a sure sign that poker’s days as a "man’s game” are limited.


It is important to note that the top female poker players don’t want to stand out because of their sex. They want to be recognized for their skill. Many of the top female pros have expressed frustration at how they are treated at tables because of their gender. It’s an outright fabrication that women are more emotional or sensitive. Take one look at the steely poker face of Annie Duke (who also happens to be a mother) and you’ll see what we mean. Why should these players be designated to special rooms and leagues if they’ve got what it takes to play with the big boys (both literally and figuratively)? The answer to the above question is that they shouldn’t, and in many cases they aren’t. In the last few years both the number of women competing in major tournaments and the amount of prize money claimed by them has sky-rocketed. Not only are they consistently posting big wins in online tournaments, but they are making strong appearances at the largest tournaments in the world. There are several female bracelet holders in the World Series of Poker, and in 2008 Van Nguyen became the first female World Poker Tour champion.


While a female player has yet to take the Main Event at the American WSOP, fresh-faced 19-year old Annette Obrestad claimed the coveted WSOP Europe championship last year. Not only did she become the first female WSOP champion, but she also set a record for the largest single-event pot won by a female player ($2,013,102). Even female celebrities are catching the poker craze. Actress Jennifer Tilly won a WSOP bracelet in 2005 and was the first poker playing celebrity of either sex to claim a WSOP title. Some female poker players even claim that their gender gives them an advantage, as male players tend to either underestimate them or be distracted by them. Other female poker players laugh at how their male competitors are convinced that they are men playing under feminine names. Either way, the moral of the story is that when it comes to poker the battle of the sexes is heating up. Don’t be surprised to find a woman on top of you at the next poker tournament.
 

 

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