I’d like to write about something never before discussed in poker circles: women-only poker events. However, I cannot do that because it is a topic that HAS been discussed at length in articles, on social media, in women’s poker groups, at poker venues, in home games, on podcasts, at seminars, and even in some poker company management offices.

It is a hot topic yet again as 2024 begins because as thousands upon thousands of women join women’s groups and explore the game through entities like Poker Power, some tours and/or venues have decided that women-only tournaments are not as important as other parts of their schedules.

Specifically, the series of note this week is the World Series of Poker’s WSOP Circuit.

However, this evening, the WSOP responded with an encouraging statement.

Events Garnering Attention

The WSOP Circuit stops at Harrah’s Cherokee in North Carolina several times each year. It is a popular stop for many players, including women who enjoy women-only poker tournaments. Many women travel there for that tournament and then play others on the schedule or play cash games. When Harrah’s released the schedule for the upcoming February 2024 WSOP Circuit stop, the women’s event was listed as a side event, no longer one awarding a WSOPC ring to the winner. And its buy-in was reduced from the usual $250 to $140.

For the WSOP Circuit No Limit Hold’em Ladies tournaments at Harrah’s Cherokee in the recent past, these were the numbers:

  • November 2023: $250 buy-in = 187 entries / $37,400 prize pool ($10K GTD)
  • August 2023: $250 buy-in = 190 entries / $38K prize pool ($10K GTD)
  • May 2023: $250 buy-in = 198 entries / $39,640 prize pool ($10K GTD)
  • February 2023: $250 buy-in = 202 entries / $40,400 prize pool ($10K GTD)
  • November 2022: $250 buy-in = 207 entries / $41,400 prize pool ($10K GTD)
  • August 2022: $250 buy-in = 198 entries / $39,600 prize pool ($10K GTD)
  • April 2022: $250 buy-in = 122 entries / $24,400 prize pool ($10K GTD)
  • February 2022: $250 buy-in = 196 entries / $39,200 prize pool ($10K GTD)

It appears that attendance has been strong for two years, down only in April 2022. For those thinking that it’s an underperforming event compared to others on the schedule, the results from February 2023 showed similar numbers for other events. The second-last ring event, a $400 NLHE Shootout, garnered 190 entries, and the very last one, another $400 NLHE, brought in 258 entries.

For the rest of the 2023/2024 season, the WSOP Circuit published schedules for some of the stops (others are pending regulatory approval). The available ones show that there are women-only events at the Choctaw, Hard Rock Tulsa, and Turning Stone series, but there are no women-only ring events at Thunder Valley, Horseshoe Tunica, and Pompano Beach. Of those three, Horseshoe Tunica was the one that previously offered women’s ring events but chose to eliminate that option completely from the February 2024 schedule.

WSOP Responds

When I reached out to the World Series of Poker for a statement, I wasn’t sure if there would be a response. It is often the decision of casinos themselves as to the final schedule lineups.

Even so, the WSOP brand is attached to each tour stop. And the press release announcing the WSOPC 2023/2024 season even noted: “Each stop is encouraged to add Seniors and Ladies events, where the winners will qualify to participate in the ‘Tournament of Champions’ in Las Vegas.”

Today, WSOP leadership responded:

“Recently, we made a poor decision when limiting the number of official WSOP ring events at each stop to give each operator increased discretion in selecting events with local demand. It was never our intention to see the number of women-only events reduced. We are working with all host partners to be sure that beginning with Harrah’s Cherokee, each remaining WSOP Circuit stop in 2024 includes a women-only ring event, pending regulatory approval in each jurisdiction. We hope our female poker community comes out to support the tournaments.”

Not only is this a very encouraging and positive statement from the WSOP, it is a testament to the power of women’s voices, accompanied by some men’s support as well.

Perhaps, just perhaps, there will be fewer occasions to write about the need for women-only tournaments. Instead, I hope to read and write more articles about the growing number of women in poker.

 

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Jennifer's poker journey began with the World Poker Tour in the early 2000s, leading her to a prolific freelance writing career by 2006. With nearly two decades of experience, she has become a poker expert, specializing in writing for publications like Poker Player Newspaper, Poker Pages, PokerStars, and Mediarex. Beyond her writing, Jennifer has managed poker news aggregation at PokerScout and undertaken ghostwriting for poker pros and gambling executives. Her preference lies in interviews and opinion pieces, but her in-depth industry knowledge often guides her towards reporting on legislative and legal developments in poker and the broader gambling landscape. Notably, Jennifer is a passionate advocate for women in poker, working to promote gender diversity in a traditionally male-dominated field. Her impact on the poker community extends from her expertise to her advocacy for greater inclusivity.
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