A woman who is the author of an upcoming poker book titled ‘Black Widow Poker’ recently announced that she has plans on entering the 2018 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event disguised as a man in order to test gender bias. Poker has always been a male dominated post as women poker pros have complained that they feel discriminated due to gender bias.
One of the main reasons why the female poker author wants to disguise herself as a man is to see if she gets more respect at the 2018 Main Event because of her appearance as a man and her poker skills do not really come under the spotlight.
WSOP Officials Not Happy With The Plan
The 49th annual WSOP will take place once again at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and the much-awaited $10,000 Main Event will run from July 2 to 14. The female author who hides behind the pen name Sia Layta has confirmed she will be entering the Main Event disguised as a man in order to explore her book’s proposition that gender bias in the poker felt is what keeps women from playing and winning the game.
Her bold announcement has not gone down well with WSOP organizers who don’t want their Main Event to be the testing ground and talking point of gender bias in poker. The WSOP is the biggest and most popular poker tournament in the world and players from all parts of the globe fly down to take part in the month and a half long event.
Number Of Women Playing At The WSOP Not Very Impressive
According to last year’s data, only 4 percent of the 6,949 entrants at the WSOP Main Event were women, which have led to terrible odds of a woman winning or just even playing at the final table of the Main Event.
There have only been a handful of talented women who have won open events at the WSOP or Main Events in other poker tournaments. There’s Vera Richmond, the very first woman to win a regular WSOP open event in 1982 and the legendary Barbara Enright, the first and only woman to ever make it to the Main Event final table in 1995. Enright is the only woman to have three WSOP bracelets to her name. Maria Lampropulos stole the limelight at the 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) $10,300 Main Event in January 2018 taking home a whopping $1,081,100 for her victory.
But apart from these small and rare victories for female poker players, no woman has dominated the poker circuit or won the prestigious WSOP Main Event. The WSOP along with other poker tournaments have tried to encourage female poker pros by adding Ladies Only events but that has still not been enough to boost female poker pro numbers. This only goes to show that there is still a great divide between men and women when it comes to playing competitive poker.
Black Widow Poker
This perceived gender bias is what Layta wants to prove in her upcoming book, which is set to release on April 19. Black Widow Poker: A Woman’s Guide to Winning a Man’s Game seeks to explore the gender inequality women experience in male-dominated cardrooms and presents Texas Hold’em strategies for women who want to “win the game in spite of sexism.”
Pre-orders for the book cost $12.99 and will come with an autographed copy of the book, an autographed photo of the author as a man and as a woman, and a “lucky” black widow poker chip.
Entering the 2018 WSOP
To promote her book and test out her theories, Layta announced that she will enter this year’s WSOP Main Event disguised as a guy. Should she make it far enough to at least get her $10,000 buy-in back, she plans to remove her disguise (fake facial hair and all) and play as a woman. But her plan is already in shaky waters as WSOP has a rule against those who cover or conceal their face.
According to the WSOP rule, all participants will not be allowed to cover their facial identity so tournament officials could distinguish each player. Apart from sunglasses and sweatshirt hoods, other facial concealing methods are prohibited and will be asked to be removed.
This rule started after poker player Phil Laak used a latex mask during the first day of the Main Event in 2008. Laak tried to use the disguise of an older man but it did not work well for him as players saw through his disguise and knew all along that it was him. In order to protect the integrity of the event moving forward, WSOP implemented the facial identity rule.
According to WSOP spokesperson Seth Palansky, Layta may see herself disqualified if she ever enters the WSOP Main Event with the disguise. But despite the risks, Layta is still planning to push through with her plans.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Layta’s book launch said, “We’ve investigated this and [the rule] seems to apply to players trying to put a ‘pro’ in their seat — or some other fraudulent move. In Sia’s case, she will be playing as herself, but the table will only know her (visually) as a man. …She will go forward with playing.”