Gender bias and misogyny exist in poker, and this is one of the reasons why many women are discouraged playing the game. But top female poker pro Kristen Bicknell says these negative experiences shouldn’t become a hindrance for female players to get involved and excel in the game.
Focusing On Negativity Is Counterproductive
The Canadian poker pro recently revealed on Twitter that she herself has encountered negativity and gender bias a lot of times throughout her career, but there have been more positive experiences than negative ones.
Bicknell, a three-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) champ, said it is counterproductive to focus on the negative. She said gender bias will probably be here to stay, not just in poker, but in many other facets of our lives and the society because the reality is, we have no control over other people’s thoughts and feelings. What we can control however is our reaction to every situation.
This is what Bicknell wants to emphasize in her latest tweets. While it’s wrong to tolerate or normalize misogyny and gender bias in poker, the truth is, it will always be part of the challenges that women in poker have to go through.
But instead of being put down by these painful experiences, female players can actually choose to “release the negative frameworks”, focus on the goal, push on with their journey, and constantly remind themselves why they’re playing the game in the first place.
Had Bicknell focused too much on the negative experiences, she wouldn’t be where she is right now – a highly accomplished poker pro, considered among the best female poker players in the world.
Bicknell recently shared her thoughts on the hot topic of misogyny in poker following the controversy involving Vanessa Kade, Dan Bilzerian, and GGPoker.
Earlier this month, Kade revealed that GGPoker terminated her affiliate account with the site over comments she made about Dan Bilzerian three months ago when he was announced as GGPoker’s newest ambassador.
Kade attacked both Bilzerian and GGPoker for many days following the announcement, not knowing that it violated the terms and conditions of her affiliate partnership with the site. The controversy sparked an uproar within the poker community, bringing the subject of gender bias at the forefront of social media discussions.
Fear Is The Worst Enemy
Bicknell was among those who shared her thoughts on the topic, but she offered a different perspective. She did not speak to fan the flames or increase the tension; instead, she sent out an important message to everyone – more often than not, what’s preventing women to prove their worth in the game of poker is fear. They are easily distracted by negative perceptions and the bad things they hear or see about poker, and this needs to change.
Bicknell also added that men also go through the same challenges of being discriminated, being treated rudely and being underestimated at the poker tables, meaning these negative experiences aren’t only limited to women. These can happen to any player.
Bicknell Earns Support from Poker Community
Based on the reaction to her tweets, Bicknell’s thoughts have generally been welcomed by the poker community. Farah Galfond, the wife of Run It Once founder Phil Galfond, thanked Bicknell for saying exactly what she wanted to say. Justin Bonomo, an advocate for women in poker, also shared the same sentiments, saying there is no one-size-fits-all approach to situations involving gender bias in poker.
Interestingly, Bicknell’s tweets have not attracted the trolls, those who usually initiate angry conversations on Twitter.
Bicknell has been playing poker professionally for many years and has found significant success both live and online. She was an online grinder back then, playing millions of hands per year on PokerStars. Her big break in the live tournament scene began in 2013 when she won her first WSOP bracelet.
From there, she went on to capture two more WSOP titles and won the prestigious GPI Player of the Year for three consecutive years. Her live tournament earnings currently sit at more than $5 million. Bicknell presently serves as brand ambassador for partypoker.

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