Annie Duke is an American professional poker player that holds a WSOP (World Series of Poker) gold bracelet from 2004. She is the leading money winner among all women in the history of WSOP.
Although poker may be seen as a man’s sport by some people, Annie Duke refuses to play in women-only events. According to Poker News Daily, Duke mentions, “Poker is one of the few sports where a woman can compete on a totally equal footing with a man, so I don’t understand why there’s a ladies-only tournament.” Perhaps this may be true for Duke, but some women may view this as an intimidating event. With only 4% of players in the WSOP being female, women-only events provide a gateway for women to enter the realm of poker, and get comfortable with the game.
There was a time when Shaun Deeb entered a WSOP women’s event dressed in women’s clothing. In order to discourage men from entering the ladies event, WSOP makes the buy-in $10,000, but then offers women a $9,000 discount. Is this really fair? If you think about it, what would happen if the ruling was reversed and women had to pay $10,000 and men got a $9,000 discount? It would certainly raise a lot of conversation about inequality between the genders. However, until we get more women into the game, women-only events could actually be good for poker. As more women get comfortable at the table, there will be no need in the future for single-gender events. However, until someone finds a more effective way of getting women into the game, these events seem to be the best way to get women to the poker table.