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Women in Poker: Pride and Prejudice

Women in Poker: Pride and Prejudice
By Loki Luchs of

While I was recently playing tour guide to some out of town guests, I walked them past the Bellagio poker pit. For those of you who have never seen the Bellagio room, it is a thing of beauty; elegant in appearance, it has a layout and a staff that very few can complain about. One of the best parts is the open-air border to the main floor that allows spectators to peek in and watch some action as they meander by. As Bill watched, he was boggled by the size of the stacks. Rachel, however, was amazed by a single stack in particular. The dominant stack, roughly 3-times the second stack at the table, was held by a late-middle aged woman. In the ten minutes that they watched, she raked in about half of the pots in play. While itís possible that she simply bought in large or she was running good or had doubled up hard, my enlightened half has a different explanation.

This broad was pretty okay. I mean, the way that Bill Laimbeer was once pretty okay at getting into fights; the way that Kirk Gibson was pretty okay while playing injured; the way that the Lions are pretty okay at not breaking .500 in a season. As I tried to explain this to our guests, Bill defended that under-privileged sect of society: men. ďMen are better on the whole, right?Ē he looked around the room. ďI mean, look at how many more there are playing! We must out-number the women 20 to 1!Ē


Rachel naturally disagreed. ďJust because there are more of you, doesnít mean that youíre better. It just means that not a lot of women find the game interesting. Itís probably that the guys probably bully new women players so that they donít continue to play it.Ē

As Iíve thought about this more and more, I tend to agree with Rachel. Men do bully women at the tables. As Iíve thought about the players that Iíve feared over the years, I would say that there were many women among them. The attributes I hold to be the most important in poker are usually things that women are better known for.

My strengths in poker are that I am rational, patient, perceptive of body language, and donít tilt when bad beats come. Everyone of these things, stereotypically, is a strength of a women, not men! Women are, in the end, naturally better suited for poker IF they can do one thing: be aggressive. If women, as a whole, learn to pull the trigger on bluffs and semi-bluffs, the reign of men in poker is over. What would be our own un-doing is our own sexism! Most men I know try to bully women at the table because they tend to back down in the face of aggression. However, anytime that a woman raises or (god forbid!) re-raises me, most men will fold anything short of the nuts! The thing about bullies is that when someone stands up to them, they tend to run away like (pardon me, ladies) a little girl!

Women have become an important part of the poker culture. With the internet as a tutorial source, women are learning how great an advantage they have over men. As women gain aggressiveness in the game, men are going to quickly lose the edge in sheer numbers that they currently have. Unlike corporate management, poker is a profession with no glass ceiling!


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