Ladies Event Attracts More than 1,000 Players
This is the Fourth Straight Year Event Witnessed More than 1,000 Players
Unless you’ve witnessed a ladies event before, you’ve likely never seen anything quite like it. A packed poker room, with every chair occupied by a woman fighting to capture a bracelet.
While women have continued to increase their presence in the poker world in the past few years, it’s rare you see hundreds of women participate in any given tournament. But today, for the fourth straight year, the ladies event attracted more than 1,000 entrants at the World Series.
The tone of the ladies event doesn’t differ much from any other World Series event — the mood is serious, sunglasses are drawn, and chips are being shuffled. Other than the fact that the Amazon room probably smells a bit nicer with a wide variety of perfumes on display, everything else is pretty similar to any other event.
But according to tournament organizers, the event serves as an entry point for many women who consider it a comfortable way to make their WSOP debut.
“This is a gem of an event for us,” said Jeffrey Pollack, WSOP Commissioner. “More than a thousand women for yet another year in a row have decided that this is where they want to stage their biggest event in the world. We appreciate their support of this event, we celebrate it, and we celebrate the women who play poker around the world.”
Pollack says that this event, which recorded 1,060 entrants this year, is a great tournament for new female players.
“There are women who are just learning the game, and beginning to be tournament players, who want an experience that is comfortable in the way that this experience is,” said Pollack. “I think that that’s fine.”
Skeptics for the ladies-only event question the need for a ladies only tournament since poker is a game where anyone — no matter gender, age, race, or background — can flourish.
“If we’re sitting here and talking about equality, and wanting to play with the boys, then obviously it’s not fair to have a ladies only event,” said Tiffany Michelle, the final woman eliminated in the 2008 main event. “I mean, I would be pissed off if they ever did a men-only event, so how in the world can we sit here and do this?”
Even with her reservations about its inclusion on the schedule, Michelle did play the event because she said that it has such good value for any pro. And she does see the value in it for poker.
“I think it is good to encourage women to get into the game,” said Michelle. “So it’s kind of a catch-22.”
Pollack says that criticism of the event is okay, but that the tournament will stay because there is a market for it.
“I am an ardent believer in freedom of speech and expression and diversity of thought,” said Pollack. “Not everyone appreciates or supports this event — women and men alike — but there are certainly enough women who do support it that we’re going to continue to operate it.”
The WSOP commissioner also stresses the effect the tournament has on the overall growth of the game.
“I think everyone in the poker community should really be focused on: how do we grow the game overall?” said Pollack. “And if a women’s event at the World Series of Poker happens to encourage more women around the world to poker, I would love to know the argument about what’s wrong with that.”
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