Women in Poker

There are a number of women in poker circles who are starting to challenge the historical dominance of men at major live tournaments around the world.

Some of these women have been playing poker for decades, acting as pioneers for women looking to break into the world of professional poker when it was still widely frowned upon for women to pursue a career of any sort.

Players such as Wendeen Eolis, Barbara Enright and Susie Isaacs represented the first wave of women to challenge the established hierarchy, fighting for recognition and acceptance in an almost completely male environment.

While the general worldview of a woman’s place in society has altered dramatically in the last 20 years, many perceptions of women as ‘weaker’, more predictable and more emotional players remains in some quarters.

However, a new generation of outspoken, confident and aggressive female players has started to make its mark.

Mother-of-three Annie Duke now refuses to play in women-only tournaments, citing poker as one of the few sports where men and women can compete on an equal footing.

Her argument is reinforced by the performances of women like Kathy Liebert – the first woman ever to win a poker tournament with a first prize of $1 million.

Jennifer Harman, meanwhile, is a shining light for women in poker. She is currently the only woman to have won 2 WSOP bracelets in open events (where men and women both compete) – something for all other women in poker to aspire to.

Stylish women players such as J.J. Liu and Academy Award-nominated actress Jennifer Tilly provide great role models for up-and-coming female players, while 19-year-old Norwegian online sensation Annette Obrestad‘s victory at the inaugural World Series of Poker Europe Main event in 2007 represents possibly the greatest coup for women players in the history of poker.

There is no doubt hat women in poker will continue to go from strength to strength. Who knows, maybe 2009 will see the first woman crowned Main Event champion!