Whichever way you look at it, the game of poker has always been considered a man’s pastime. Consider the first images we have of the game, those of tough looking cowboys sitting around tables in smoky saloons in swaggering positions, chewing their tobacco and yelling profanities. The only women seen in these images are demure wives in aprons hiding out back, or working women in the saloons decorating the scene in their sexy gear.
Even a few decades ago, nobody took women poker players very seriously and those who dared entered this man’s world were considered a ‘joke’. Only when female players start to show that they were serious about the game, and started winning chips did the industry sit up and take notice for the first time that not only did these women have talent for the game, but they also served as tough competition to some of the best players in the world.
Women Top the Charts
Thankfully, things have definitely changed for the better, thanks to a few pioneering women who set the record straight once and for all that the gentle sex can get just as wild across the felt as her male counterparts. Today, women are an accepted part of poker and the top female poker player faces have become very commonplace among poker rooms around the world – both online and offline.
Women perhaps made their mark on the global scene with the opportunity to show off their skills at the World Series of Poker tournament. No other woman made a case for female poker players like Barbara Enright did. Not only was she the first woman to win two WSOP bracelets, the first to win three and the first to win an open field WSOP event, but Enright was also the first woman to make the final table of the WSOP Main Event. In 2000, Enright was named Best All Round Player of the year for her performance during the Legends of Poker festival in Los Angeles, and in 2007 she became the first woman to be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame.
Another pioneer is Susie Isaacs who earned two women’s WSOP bracelets from back to back wins in the women’s events in 1996 and 1997, making her the first woman to achieve this feat. She also made the final table of the women’s events in 1993, 1994 and 2004, and finished 10th place in the Main Event of WSOP 1998.
Isaacs joined Linda Johnson and Marsha Waggoner as the other three players to become inducted in the 2008 formed Women’s Poker Hall of Fame, serving as an inspiration to all other women players today.
Making a Mark
In the past years, we have been witness to a revolution as female players make their mark on the industry. Names such as Annie Duke, Kathy Liebert, Vanessa Rousso, Annette Obrestad and Jennifer Harman Traniello are just a few of the many women who enjoy a fighting spirit across the felt, cashing it in time after time and showing that women poker players are here to stay and are not only top women players but “the best” in general.
Author: Joseph Falchetti (twitter)
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