Women in Poker – a Force to be Respected at Poker Tournaments

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Is Poker No Longer a “Men’s Game”?
Some say poker used to be a men’s game in the past. I’m not sure whether that was entirely the case or not, but certainly, nowadays there are more and more women hitting the tables and some of them are doing it very successfully. A typically successful woman poker player is usually a hyper aggressive one. The reason is that even though we’re living in an age of gender equality, few men really consider women as equal competitors in anything that pits them in a “battle of sexes”. From a very early age, boys are taught that girls are supposed to be weak, delicate and – at the end of the day – inferior.

While that may more or less hold true in sports involving physical performance, it is by no means the case in poker. Despite that, a lot of the male poker players have this image in their mind that a female player will be a weak, tight-passive one. That is exactly the reason why they’ll react when they see a hyper aggressive woman. Like it or not, a lot of male players are chauvinistic enough to believe a woman’s place is in the kitchen, even if they don’t openly admit it. That’s why they’ll try to “put the woman in her place” when faced by aggressive betting.
Even though most of these guys are good poker players otherwise, they feel compelled to act on a hand that they themselves know might be the second best at the table, just to teach women a lesson or because they figure a woman will be easier to intimidate.

The good part in all this gender-mess is that good female players are aware of how their male counterparts view them, and they take advantage of the situation.
The best way to get used to women being competitive at the poker table is to play online. Even though state-of-the-art poker software shows highly detailed avatars for each player, it is somehow easier to get over the fact that you just had your can kicked all over the place by a woman. It is less personal. You see, in reality there is not a single reason why a woman should be an inferior poker player. Like it or not, this is the fact. If you cannot get yourself over prejudice, you should expect to be “woman-handled” at the table all the time.
Women are opponents just like men. You do not want to act the way an opponent wants you to, whether we’re talking about a man or a woman here.

Obviously, players like Evelyn Ng member of team Bodog Poker (made several hundreds of thousands of dollars playing as a pro) and Clonie Gowen (member of team Full Tilt Poker) need no further introduction, for any serious online poker player.
Jennifer Harman, one of the best-known professional poker players, has well over $1,000,000 to show in winnings in her poker career, and if that doesn’t command respect, I don’t know what does…
Other well established pros are: Annie Duke (won $51,129 in the main event of the 2006 WSOP, where she reached 88th place and had also won several major tournaments including a WSOP bracelet in $2,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Split), Joanne Liu (won a 2006 WSOP event for $32,565), Linda Johnson (a renowned online poker player who is an expert at Chinese poker).

Courtney Friel and Shana Hiatt represent a different breed of poker celebrity. They had both presented the WPT before things went sour between them and the producers of the show. (Courtney replaced Shana when she left, but she too said goodbye in March 2007)