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Poker News | World Poker News

The WSOP Celebrates Women in Poker

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Millions of women all over the world play poker, but at the World Series of Poker this year it was estimated that in all of open tournament fields, only about 4 percent of participants were women. Although men are still the dominating force in tournament poker due to their numbers, the WSOP wants to recognize women in poker, and this year they did!

July 1, 2011 officially became “Women’s Day” at the WSOP and the red carpet was rolled out for all the ladies at the inaugural Women’s Parade of Poker Champions where 16 former WSOP champions were introduced.  Among beaming smiles, hugs, tears and cheers, these gold bracelet winners were finally getting recognition for their achievements in poker. Most of these accomplished ladies of poker had never had any public recognition before – so the accolades were way over due.

Before the start of the three-day Ladies No Limit Hold em Championship event, Women in Poker Hall of Fame inductee Jan Fisher emceed as the parade of WSOP bracelet winners were introduced. Over a thousand ladies were in the audience and all were very anxious to show their appreciation for the woman who helped blaze the poker trail for women everywhere. There was a time when it wasn’t always easy for a woman to be accepted at the male dominated poker tables. But thanks to these iconic women, awareness of women in poker was raised and along the way, they showed the world that indeed ladies did play poker and many of them were very good at it.

This year in the Ladies event, there were 1,055 entrants with 1,045 of them being Ladies. The other 10 entrants were in a no win situation and the cause of much debate and controversy. In spite of a few self-serving males trying to steal their thunder, women in poker are good for the game and Ladies events are good for women. In any other WSOP $1,000 buy-in event, 115 out of thousands may be women, but in the WSOP Ladies event this year, at least 1,045 were women. There is no other tournament in the world that you would find over a thousand women all playing in the same event. It is a proven fact: Ladies events get the women to come play and that can be nothing except good for poker.

Other than Ladies events, since the inception of the WSOP, these bracelet winners were the last player standing in WSOP open events*:

1979 - Starla Brodie Mixed Doubles
1983 - Donna Doman Mixed Doubles
1996 - Barbara Enright Pot Limit Holdem
1997 - Linda Johnson Seven-Card Razz
2000 - Jennifer Harman Traniello Deuce to Seven Draw
2001 - Nani Dollison Limit Holdem
2002 - Jennifer Harman Traniello Limit Holdem
2004 - Cyndy Violette $2,000 Seven-Card Stud/8
2004 - Kathy Liebert $1,500 Limit HE Shootout
2004 - Annie Duke $1,500 Omaha/8
2007 - Katja Thater $1,500 Razz
2007 - Annette Obrestad WSOP-E (Eurpoe) Main Event
2008 - Vanessa Selbst $1,500
Compared to the thousands of male bracelet winners, this is a small list, but one that we may see growing with more women coming into the game. Many people agree that every effort possible needs to be made to attract more women and since women make up roughly half of the population, it stands to reason that thousands of them are poker players or will aspire to be one. It is these women, the new players, that will likely feel more comfortable playing in a Ladies event before they move on to play in other open events, which again, is good for poker.

That is why, as the WSOP knows, it is very important to recognize women in poker and continue hosting Ladies events. Let the Ladies have their moments in the spotlight with their friends and peers, they deserve it and no one should try to take that away from them.

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*Edited - thanks to a reader pointing out omissions in our list of ladies winning open WSOP events!  Thank you Scott!  To all of our readers, please help us keep our information current and correct.  Send us an email if you feel our information is incorrect.

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