Female Poker Players and ‘Poker Queens‘
Exploring the roles of Women in the Poker World and why there are so few Female Poker Players.
Picture this… it is Thursday night and the kids are in bed asleep. You send a text telling your friends you are on the way over. You kiss the spouse and say you will be back late. The meeting is in your neighborhood, so you just have to walk down the street. Ten minutes later you show up with wine bottle in hand. The room is loud with laughter, filled with smoke…. and women! Thats right! The weekly poker game is for the ladies.
But NO …., this is just a dream I had after watching the documentary Poker Queens on Amazon last night.
When I think about my friends and the weekly gatherings in the cul de sac, the picture that comes to mind is potluck, lots of wine and a Netflix series. Would I prefer a rousing game of poker where winner takes home a small pot of cash or better yet, a stack of gift cards? Hell yes!!! But do I know any women who play poker with a competitive streak? Hell no!!!
So why aren’t there more competitive female poker players??
According to the documentary Poker Queens there are… but not many compete in the World Series of Poker Championships. Nor do they take home huge winnings on the same scale as their male counterparts. The answers as to why women are not drawn to choose poker as a competitive sport are no less convoluted than the reason why women are not viewed as competitive, aggressive, or cutthroat in any pursuit when compared to men.
Sandra Mohr, the director of Poker Queens, examines the game and its male and female players. Exploring the way male and female traits differ when it comes to competition and why women are not taken seriously when they can play as good, or better, than their male competitors. Mohr even goes as far as donning a male disguise while playing in high stakes poker games just to see how different it feels when the other players think she is a man.
The documentary is a fascinating example of the double standards and gender politics that exist in competition, in this case poker. But it really exists in our society as a whole when individuals cannot escape the roles and labels society places on us.
As women, we must either be pretty and quiet, or aggressive and unappealing. We can either claim our place at the table and face the resentment or sit back like good girls waiting for a scrap of male goodwill.
Poker Queens interviews several world class female poker players, including actress Jennifer Tilly who has won many tournaments and considers herself a serious and competitive player. It is unfortunate that her talents as a poker player will always be eclipsed by her looks and film career, labelling her an actress who dabbles in poker rather than consider her a worthy opponent.
I encourage women and men to watch this documentary as many watched The Queens Gambit. Both make clear the challenges women face when competing in any sport, from an intellectual rather than physical point of view.
“Competition is always foremost in the mind. The game is won or lost by the player who neglects to acknowlege his or her opponents killer instincts.”
Director: Sandra Mohr
Executive Producer: Christine Beatty
starring: Starring: Jennifer Tilly, Daniel Negreanu, Liv Boeree