Is there sexism in the world of poker for female poker players?
Is misogyny a consistent problem for female poker players?
Some people will tell you that the problem is non-existent.
Others will point to some real-life examples, many of which come straight from some of the female poker players plays in the game.
Others still will claim that the problem is not with the male players, but the female poker players who insist on special treatment (which kind of sounds like a misogynistic argument).
The truth of the matter is that sexism in poker is real.
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The Professionals Speak Out
Some female poker players have put forth different opinions on the subject of sexism and poker.
Cate Hall famously wrote in a blog post about her experiences.
She writes that generally speaking, she receives a wide range of comments that bring attention to her gender.
These comments can be innocent, but in many cases, they are not.
Vivian Im noted that more than once; she had seen men try to use the implied dominance of their gender to try big bluffs on female players.
Liv Boeree remarked that throughout her long, impressive career; she had been consistently pressured into adhering to the societal demands on the behavior of women.
Jennifer Tilly takes another spin on the topic and shares her thoughts on how women often are underestimated in poker.
The question then is how an emerging female player can deal with the issue of sexism.
How To Deal With Sexism In Poker: female poker players
Keeping in mind that things like the WPT’s Royal Flush Girls continue to exist, women have to deal with the following sexist elements in the world of poker:
- The game continues to be intensely dominated by men: While this fact of itself is not inherently sexist, certain realities continue to compel the industry to be comprised of approximately ninety-five percent men. Everything from attitudes to marketing influences this. While there are indeed some significant, positive changes being made to the industry, it is also true that many elements of the world of poker continue to be problematic, as well.
- For many guys, the notion of a healthy, intelligent, experienced female poker play is laughable. These men tend to adhere to old, intensely misogynistic attitudes, going so far as to claim that women are too emotional for the game.
- The unintentional comments: There are comments from male players that are not intended to be harmful. However, comments like “You don’t see a lot of female players,” or comments on the attractiveness of a female player can have something of a cumulative effect. These men do not mean harm, but they fail to realize that their comments can be just one in a long day of many.
- The intimidation: As mentioned before, some guys believe that pure intimidation can go a long way towards discouraging female players from participating. Or at the very least, forcing their hand towards a lousy play. This intimidation can come in the form of simple eye contact, but it can (and has) risen to the level of actual verbal threats, as well.
- Presumptions: Of course, some women are going to wear outfits at the table that might be revealing. Whether or not such things distract male players is not worth debating.
How can female players deal with all of this?
Solutions To Sexism In Poker
What are some of the answers to sexism in poker?
- The patience game: Some believe that simply playing by the rules, playing to win, and tuning out even the most sexist comments is the right way to go. While this method is well within the realm of possibility, it isn’t fair. It expects everything of the women, and it asks nothing of the men changing their behavior. Still, the option remains.
- Exploit, exploit, exploit: This still doesn’t do much to change male behavior. But there is always something for using sexist presumptions against a player.
- Speak out: The debate on sexism in poker is raging on social media and blogs right now. If you want to speak up, this is the time to do it, with the promise of considerable support to follow.
- Play honestly: You don’t have to adopt a “male” style, to play the game. Play in whatever fashion makes you comfortable. And Play to win. That confidence will prove powerful.
- Build experience: Building your expertise online boosts confidence; that will allow you to focus while tuning out the unnecessary static.
What do you think you would do? Let’s us know in the comments.