More needs to be done to draw Women to Poker

Posted by James Guill on Nov 04, 2011 Posted in Op-Ed | No Comments »

During the WSOP November Nine conference call on Wednesday, a question was asked about when a woman would break through to the final nine.  Norman Chad said it best when he said that it is hard for a woman to break through when women comprise only 3 percent of the field.  While the number of women has steadily risen in recent years, there is still more that can be done to bring women into the game.

A Major Women’s Tournament Needs to Be Televised

It still boggles my mind that after all these years that the only ladies event that has been televised was “Ladies Night” on the World Poker Tour.  If you want a “ready for tv” event to tape that would also serve as a fantastic draw to bring more women into the game, the Ladies World Championship at the World Series of Poker would appear to be the event to pick.

The ladies in the event are playing for a world title and many of the best in the game play in the game.  And why can’t we build some new stars out of some of these women at the final table.  I bet that many of you cannot name for me 3 ladies champions out of the last five years without looking it up online.

Why not set aside at least one episode per year in the WSOP broadcast for the ladies event?  It makes sense to me.  Instead of showing us some meaningless heads-up series, show something that may actually create positive growth in the game.

Focus More on Playing Ability Than Physical Attributes

While many in the poker claim that women are equals at the table, we surely don’t treat them the same.  How many women have received sponsorship deals in recent years based exclusively on their looks and very little to do with their true poker ability?  How many “Hot Women of Poker” articles are posted yearly by various publications?  Further still, how many publications spend a lot of time and effort to make those that have a bit of a pedigree “look hotter” so to attract more men?

How is it that women at the tables are supposed to be equals when women are paraded around on TV to attract horny young males?  Yes, I am talking to you World Poker Tour.  Welcome to the World Poker Tour.  Now look at our hot women.  Now watch some poker.  Now look at the hot women.  Come back and we will do it again next week.

Seriously?  I don’t see Kathy Liebert getting full page spreads in magazines, and she is the top money winner.  The last time I saw a major feature on Jen Harman, they were talking about her being a mom.  Women are supposed to be great poker players, yet we show them scantly clad and doing “women’s work.”  And we wonder why women don’t turn out more than they do.

Before you give me the whole trying to attract casual fan angle, remember that women are also casual fans.  If you want to attract more women to the game, start portraying both sexes equally.  I don’t see any of you putting Patrik Antonius in a thong in Bluff or Chippendale dancers on the World Poker Tour.  Quit insulting the ladies and stick to poker.



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