Poker is one of the most widely played games in the world, and at the highest level players win millions in tournament prizes that can go as high as $80 million. However, in a given poker room, only 5% are women players.
In fact, during the World Series of Poker 2019’s Main Event, only 350 players were women out of 8,569 contestants. This is due to a number of factors such as lack of interest in the game and the fact many women are put off due to it being dominated by males.
However, every now and then, a woman like 1995 World Poker Tour champion Barbara Enright comes along who shakes up the poker world by winning one of the biggest tournaments on the planet.
But there’s more to diversifying the poker world than waiting for a woman to win a notable event. If you’re curious about poker—whether it is playing casually or going pro—keep reading to learn why more women should play poker.
Breaks gender barriers
If you look at the rules and mechanics of poker, you’ll notice how it’s a game where anyone can thrive—even women. Despite myths that you need luck in poker, it mainly relies on skill to win.
Therefore, it’s a game where both men and women can compete fairly in. Some of the greatest poker players of all time are women, such as Jennifer Harman and Kathy Liebert. Liebert amassed over $6.6 million from live tournament winnings this year alone. Many of them have participated (and won!) dozens of World Series of Poker events and World Poker Tours.
Although there are a small number of women playing poker on the pro circuit, this is also attributed to their general risk-averse disposition. Women are also known to be relentless learners who are highly perceptive of the people around them so poker is a great game for women.
Combining these skills is critical in poker where reading non-verbal cues and studying hand strategies contribute to improving.
Encourages women to take risks
Critical thinking and the capacity to execute bold moves go hand in hand when it comes to playing poker. While, as previously mentioned, women are generally perceived to always err on the side of caution, being able to take risks can be something you develop.
In fact, some of the best women in poker are known for their calculated but bold moves. For instance, Vanessa Selbst is known for her high-risk approach and creative playing style. There’s also Samantha Abernathy who went to Prague for the World Poker Tour event after playing the game for the first time in Florida the night before.
Plus, you can apply this learned quality beyond poker. Poker club PokerDivas, for instance, conducted events that encourage women to take more risks in order to win more in life using poker strategies. The confidence you gain from risk-taking in poker can also empower you to make bold moves in other areas of life.
Earns more money
Despite the wage gap, going pro in poker is still considered a lucrative pursuit for the very best in the world. While amateurs often pursue poker as a side hustle, pros like the retired juggernaut Vanessa Selbst have won so much money at poker tables across the globe.
Upon her retirement, she is said to have won $11.9 million in tournaments. More relatable is upcoming poker player, Kelly Winterhalter who used smaller Limit Hold’em games (with lesser prize amounts) as a stepping stone to prestigious poker events like WSOP. Her earnings total $41, 616—winning thousands of dollars per game. As a new player, this number is expected to increase as she advances to higher-stakes tables.
The poker world may still have some way to go when it comes to welcoming more women to the game. But with all the benefits it entails both for men and women players, it’s time for more women to have a seat at the table.
If you’re looking for other lucrative avenues, our piece lists the different trade jobs that are financially advantageous to women.