Sticking Up for the Ladies One More Time

If you polled Vanessa Selbst, Vanessa Rousso, Annette Oberstad, Jennifer Harman, Kathy Liebert, Liv Boeree, Maria Ho, Evelyn Ng, Kristi Gazes, and Mimi Tran, just to name a few, I can guarantee you that Annie’s name wouldn’t be the one they thought of when crowning “The Best Female Poker Player in the World.” It’s her website, so she can make whatever claim she wants I guess, but I don’t think you’d see Phil Ivey being OK with his website saying “Best African-American Poker Player in the World.” In my opinion, and in most players opinion, Phil Ivey is the best poker poker player in the world today… but you won’t hear him say that. Like ever. When you are the best, you don’t need to toot your own horn, others will toot it for you. Aside from her position being hypocritical, in my opinion, separating herself from the men when referring to herself as the “best of the women,” the facts in her blog were wrong. More women ARE playing in open events. This $1000 event this weekend saw about twice as many women enter than the previous $1000 events. The fact the ladies event was on the Friday is simply NOT a coincidence people. B.J. Nemeth points out that he counted about 55 women at 99 tables of the Sunday heat, which is about 6%.
Having said that, percentages are NOT what tells the story since the number of men playing has also increased. Bottom line is, more and more women ARE playing in open events at the WSOP each year. FACT. As for needing an event specifically for women sending the message that they are inferior, that’s also not true. There are 55 WSOP events open to both men and women. Women aren’t excluded from playing in the open events and are welcome to play on an open playing field in every single bracelet event. You also can’t make the argument that the LIPS tour (a female poker tour) is somehow OK, but the WSOP Ladies event isn’t. Both are tournaments geared towards getting women into poker. The only difference is the buy in level. As for Shaun Deeb handling himself in a classy manner playing the event, at least he wasn’t the guy using a tampon as a card protector, but he did dress in drag and his goal was to make a mockery of the event, which in turn simply mocks the women who choose to enter it. Poker is still mainly played by men. Women represent a small demographic in the poker world and I see nothing wrong with trying to reach out to them. There is precedent for this. The LA Kings each year have a “Ladies Day” where they teach women in LA about the game. Hockey is mainly played by men, so this is a way to reach out to a new demographic, no different then reaching out to women and introducing them to the game of poker.
I’ll take that a step further. There is a woman who teaches black kids how to swim. I saw this on HBO Real Sports and it was a touching piece. Her own son died drowning because he never learned how to swim, and this wasn’t uncommon for many blacks who grew up avoiding the pools. That traces way back to the days of racism when blacks weren’t welcome to share public pools with whites, so many of them never learned how to swim: “*The Swim Gap. When U.S. Olympic athlete Cullen Jones took to the podium with his teammates to accept the 4