Thursday, January 12, 2006

Ladies Night: A Guest Post from Gracie

Editor's Note: As you know, I'm off for the first two weeks of the year working on my Las Vegas book project. In the meantime, my friends will be taking over the Tao of Poker. Here's #8 in a collection of guest posts from your favorite bloggers. Gracie touches on a topic that I normally don't write about, so I'm fortunate that she shared her opinion on Ladies Only tournaments. Thanks again to Gracie!

Ladies Night

If someone suggested a mens only poker event to me, I would likely be offended. If they suggested a whites only poker event, I assure you I would be outraged.

A ladies only poker event?

Please. Can we get riled up about something more important? Katrina response? Supreme Court nominations? Baby Fucking Noor anyone?

Proponents of these events will tell you that they do not exist to be exclusionary, but rather are men-free havens that enable the more fragile of the fairer sex to be introduced to the game of poker without being intimidated by all the testosterone-fueled shouting and posturing that no doubt occurs when real live men play the game.

Advocates make it sound as if these delicate creatures, who would never dream of being rude or catty amongst themselves, prefer to sip tea from dainty china cups as they demure in heavily-corseted southern accents, "Thank you evah so much Mistah Dealah, but I think I'll pass on these cahds," as they fold, rather than swill beer and shout Hellmuthian epitaphs as they hurl their cards across the room inadvertently slicing up the eyeball of an unsuspecting brush.

I agree wholeheartedly that ladies only events are not exclusionary in that the only people who want to play in these events are women.

A quick search on Google groups for "ladies only events" reveals a bevy horror stories about not only the poor behavior of the women who participate, but also of the mocking and dismissive manner in which these events are treated by the poker community at large.

Including the 2005 WSOP.

It was reported that the event was changed from one day to two during the event itself, with no warning and with no regard for the player's schedules, and that they had to have Phil Laak intervene on their behalf in order to get an announcer for the final table. I also understand that nobody took notice of them or any of the issues they were having until celebrity Jennifer Tilly made the money and took a monster chip lead.

And that is what the opponents will tell you. Participants in ladies only events aren't respected! If you play in one you will not be taken seriously! My God! Up until last year the winner of the ladies only event at the WSOP didn't even get a bracelet! She got a fruit basket! (I did not verify the fruit basket claim, but it sounded so... hilariously yummy that I chose to leave it in.)

While some members on both sides of this ladies only fence can be militant, repetitive and painfully tiresome in their unwavering beliefs, I did uncover one legitimate concern worth addressing.

It's been said that the juice is traditionally higher for ladies only events than it is for other events, and that women are being taken advantage of by unscrupulous tournament organizers who bury these costs.

However, it doesn't take a brain as evolved as Sklansky's to do a quick search of the tournament schedules over at LasVegasVegas and PokerPages to determine if the validity of such a charge. I know this for a real fact because I did this very thing just moments ago. In about three minutes I discovered that indeed, some WPC (Women's Poker Club) events had juice as high as 25%, but so did a number of other tournaments sponsored by organizations and casinos that had no intention of ripping off the ladies. No sir. They want to rip off everyone! Equal opportunity juice whores.

And yes, the World Series of Poker Circuit LIPS Ladies NLHE Event is allocating $5 of the juice to the LIPS (Ladies International Poker Series) organization. But this is no secret and the only women being duped in this instance are those who don't bother reading--not the fine print mind you--but the regular sized print. You may see that one for yourselves. And those unobservant ladies? I'd be happy to meet them at the table. Delighted even.

Are ladies only events unethical? Exclusionary? Immoral? Further evidence of the decline and fall of western civilization?

Probably not.

Are ladies only events silly and unworthy of the same attention or respect given to other events?


Will I play in one?

Hell yes.

Shirley Rosario over at Poker Babes mentions watching Annie Duke at the Ladies Night Invitational. She says, "Annie Duke normally does not attend ladies only events. She stated in an interview with CBS, 'Poker is one of the only 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.'"

Did you catch that? Here it is again.

Annie Duke normally does not attend ladies only events.

But from her televised appearance in one, it is clear she makes exceptions. And well she should! As a woman, it is her prerogative to change her mind. Wildly and with reckless abandon. In fact, I unconditionally support that.

Unless I am presented with more compelling evidence, I will risk raising the ire of a gaggle of internet fussbudgets by mocking these social monstrosities while simultaneously face being dismissed by the world of professional poker players by participating in one.

Simply put, if it makes financial sense for me to play in a Ladies Only event?

I'm all in.

Gracie is a poker player and blogger from Florida.

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