Right from the dawn of creation, poker has always been regarded as a game for the menfolk alone. Most stats show that from 80% to 90% of all poker players are men and in the case of live events, from 3% to 4% of all attendees are female. As to the reasons for this regrettable state of affairs, and who among the sexes actually plays poker better, read on and get to know as we dive deeper into matters.
Poker by The Numbers
The under-representation of women in poker shouldn’t be all that surprising. Both now and in the past, women had little free time to play games, what with raising a litter of kids and doing a never-ending stream of housework. Men on the other hand apart from regularly bringing home the bacon had little responsibilities and considered card games a very pleasing and relaxing social activity that they were by default entitled to.
In prizes won, men earn far more than their female counterparts. Thus, a well-acclaimed pro like Vanessa Selbst won around $9.5 million way back in 2015. On the other hand, Daniel Negreanu scooped up over $30 million that same year. On the most popular tournaments, the list of top contestants rarely feature the names of women and any woman that somehow makes it into the top 10 on any live event is treated almost like a 3-headed alien.
Despite all the above, women do like poker a lot and tend to participate in online versions of the game more than their male counterparts. While exact stats are hard to come by, as these online female poker players tend to hide their gender while playing online poker, it is popularly thought that up to a third of online poker players are female.
No Women Welcome!
As poker is popularly held to be a man’s game, it can be really hard for most women to join live poker games filled to the brim with possibly hostile men. Should they be brave enough to do so, they might face some harassment and a lot of crude sexism.
In some brick-and-mortar casinos, the feeling that women are not very welcome is punctuated by the inexplicable lack of sufficient restrooms. This feeling is reinforced by what is seen in the papers, movies and ad campaigns. Thus, newspapers tend to refer to all poker players as “the boys”, ads tend to be focused on the needs, wants and expectations of male poker players, while most gambling-themed movies portray women as simply not very interested in poker or gambling as a whole.
Then there’s the financial aspect, with the menfolk on average earning around 18% more than their female counterparts. As a result, women tend to have less money to entertain themselves with.
aOnline Poker Playing As A Solution
Given all the above, it seems that online poker playing is particularly tailored to the needs and wants of the female folk. There, they can play online poker all they like and in perfect anonymity.
Ladies-Only Events Courts Controversy
While solo online playing holds lots of advantages for women, it robs them of interaction with other players of like minds. To remedy this, ladies-only poker events have been busily springing up like mushrooms after a spring rain. However, these ladies-only events are controversial. Some women poker players hate that they need to create their own events and tournaments so as to be accepted as great poker players in their own rights. Others though think of these restricted events as vital steps that must be surmounted in the never-ending fight for female equality.
Who Plays Poker Better?
Well, the answer to this question is nearly impossible to determine with any accuracy. Women tend to play poker less than their male counterparts and are far more likely to match up against each other. While common stereotypes suggest that women find it easier to read their opponents, there is really no scientific basis for this belief. Still, statistically speaking, women are twice likely than men to make high-value bets and more likely to save what they do win.
Does this make them better poker players? Your guess is as good as mine. But for now, what is beyond doubt is that men run the world, at least where poker is concerned!