The Women’s Poker Association (WPA) is ramping up its campaign to bring more women into the game. In its latest effort to address gender disparity at the poker tables, the organization recently introduced a new poker room certification program in the US. It has also launched a new program that allows male players to publicly show their support for women in poker. Both programs are part of the organization’s ongoing #RaiseItUp campaign.

Lupe Soto, WPA president and founder, said one of the main reasons why women are discouraged from playing the game is the unwelcoming environment inside poker rooms. One of the WPA’s missions is to put an end to all kinds of abuses experienced by female players at male-dominated tables and they want poker room operators to get involved.

Eliminating Abuse Against Female Players

The WPA certification will serve as a poker seal of approval aimed at promoting a friendlier and more gender-inclusive atmosphere at poker venues. Furthermore, it will provide an assurance that the poker room does not tolerate bad behavior towards female players at the table and adopts a methodology to properly handle abuse victims.

WPA Vice-President Tara Windsor said that the ultimate goal is to elevate the game and make it more fun by tackling the core issues and allowing people to have better presence about themselves.

The WPA has laid out a few conditions that poker rooms must agree to in order to be certified, including clearly displaying their zero-tolerance abuse policy, conducting annual cultural awareness and sensitivity staff training, displaying the WPA Certification in the room, and adding the certification in the room’s social media and ad campaigns.

The room must also show support for the #RaiseItUp campaign and the WPA’s awareness events on social media.

WPA Looking for More Volunteer Advocates

In addition to becoming WPA-certified, poker rooms are also encouraged to look for volunteer WPA advocates. They are local women who are passionate about the game and serve as role models to aspiring female players.

They’ll work with the WPA and the certified poker rooms in coming up with programming that will be effective in attracting more women into the game. The main focus will be on the freshly minted female players and how they can play comfortably with strangers without feeling intimidated. The operator may allow these players to take a tour around the room and teach them how to sign up for tournaments.

The advocates’ tasks also extend towards providing assistance in holding marketing and member recruitment events, as well as sharing information on social media and being present in those events. So far, a total of 44 advocates have joined the WPA across the US. The organization is also on the hunt for board members and program coordinators and more volunteers that will assist them in creating web design and graphics.

Purple Tie Guy Program

The WPA acknowledges that many male players are supportive of their female counterparts. They can now publicly declare their support by joining the WPA’s Purple Tie Guy program wherein they’ll be provided with a patch which they will wear while playing. They will also be asked to post a short video flaunting the patch on social media with the hashtags #imapurpletieguy, wpapurpletieguy, and purpletieguy.

Soto said the program will help encourage women to play poker knowing that a lot of men like to see them grow in the game.

Those who want to be part of the Purple Tie Guy program can get free patches from any advocate or board member at seminars and events organized by the WPA, or at WPA-certified poker rooms. Those in far-away locations can avail of the patch via the WPA website for a $1 shipping.

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