The World Series of Poker (WSOP) hardly sees any women poker players. Last year, there was just one female poker player for every 24 male players. The Colossus tournament of WSOP 2015, which turned out to be very popular, attracted a field of 22,000 players, but only 6% of them were female.
The poker gaming industry has been trying hard to attract more women poker players for the past several years. Jessica Dawley, an ambassador for poker women and professional poker player, says: “There’s a big market out there, untapped.” She is of the opinion that women players often feel intimidated at the poker tables and discouraged by sexist statements from male poker players.
For example, Linda Kenney Baden, the defense attorney, bet all-in and lost in spite of the fact that she had an ace. Her opponents congratulated her and said friendly goodbyes. On the other hand, all-male poker tables are more serious, featuring silent handshakes and carefully concealed poker faces.
This does not mean that women players are never serious and that men players never have fun. It just means that the gaming atmosphere at ladies-only events is much lighter. For instance, 61-year-old Baden decided to bet all-in and leave when she received a text message informing her of the birth of a new granddaughter.
And 66-year-old Jacquelyn Scott, a resident of Florida, won the ladies only tournament despite the fact that she had never taken part in a ladies-only event before. She beat a field of 795 players and won the gold bracelet along with the first-place prize of $153,876. She said: “It’s fun, but make no mistake, there are some excellent, excellent players.”
The WSOP has been offering a ladies-only tournament from 1977. Often men barged into the event just to make fun of the women participants. The WSOP solved the problem by making the men pay an entry fee of $10,000 and offering a 90% discount to the women.
Female poker pros, however, never stick to ladies-only events. Vanessa Selbst has won around $2.1 million in WSOP events in addition to three gold bracelets. Carol Fuchs, the Hollywood screenwriter, became the first woman player to win a gold bracelet in the Dealers’ Choice, a tough tourney that requires players to know the rules of 18 poker variants.