Men Playing in Women’s Poker Tournaments

Should It Even Be Allowed?

In 2009, a man entered – and won – a women’s tournament at the Borgata Poker Open in Atlantic City. This event epitomized one of the most heated debates in the poker world – whether it is fair or justified to run women’s only poker tournaments, considering that running a men-only event would be considered sexist and would most probably cause mayhem.

Here Come More Men

In the 2009 WSOP Ladies Championship, eight men joined the field of over 1000 female poker players in the $1,000 buy in event, sparking uproar and setting poker forums alight with arguments. Harrah’s Entertainment was obligated by law to allow the men to take part in the field, even though they were gently asked to leave (to no avail). Men who enter women’s poker tournaments are generally trying to make a point – that segregation by sex in poker tournaments in wrong.

Some Females Dont Like It

This is backed by players such as Annie Duke who continuously push the message. “Are we saying there is a difference between the intellect of men and women that means that somehow we need a separate championship event just for the women?” Duke wrote on her blog after last year’s WSOP event.

But Some Do…

On the other end of the scale are players such as Linda Johnson who argue in favor of all women’s poker tournaments – with men on the outside. One of the best female professional poker players of all times, Johnson has taken on fields of all-men tables and is one of just a handful of women to with a World Series of Poker championship bracelet in an open event.

However, surprisingly, considering her own track record, Johnson is still in favor of women events, claiming that “many women are too intimidated to play in an open event”. She believes that if these tournaments did not exist, many women would not have the courage to come out and try tournament poker in the first place.

“It’s not conceding that women don’t have the ability to compete with men or about skill levels,” said Johnson. “It is about overcoming the intimidation factor, and that includes the socializing element of an all-women’s event.”

Negreanu Speaks

So what do men players have to say about the point that their counterparts are trying to make regarding the unfairness of women’s only events? Not many male professional pokers bother relating to the subject of all. However, Daniel Negreanu considered these attempts to make a point through entering a women’s event relatively pathetic.

“Men have had it pretty good, so whining about sexual equality as a man is a pretty lame excuse to take part in a ladies’ event,” he wrote in his own blog. “It’s beyond lame, it’s just plain foolish. You aren’t fighting for men’s rights, or women’s right(s) for that matter.”

Author: Joseph Falchetti
(C) Copyright, 2016

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