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Is WSOP Ladies´ Event Still Necessary?

For years, men have been crashing the annual World Series of Poker ladies-only event in Las Vegas and the organizers just can´t come up with a solution to stop them. Over the years some men just sat there, listening to loud heckling and jeers like nothing is going on. At least one other man thought it was a brilliant idea to show up to play in drag. In the end, WSOP organizers have been unable to block men from playing thanks to gender-discrimination laws.

Caesars Entertainment (CZR), which oversees the World Series, seems more determined this year. They can’t legally prevent men from paying the buy-in fee and signing up for the Ladies No Limit Hold ’Em Championship so what they came up with is; If they can´t stop men from paying the buy-in fee and entering the tourney, they will simply make the buy-in fee more expensive for men, a lot more expensive. This year on June 28, men entering Ladies No Limit Hold ’Em Championship, the lone event at the 48-day gathering specifically geared toward women, will have to pay $10,000 while women will enjoy a 90 percent discount and pay the old $1,000 price.

So how is this not gender discrimination? It is. But apparently Caesars lawyers took their time in researching and they finally found a law enacted by the Nevada Legislature in 2011 that governs gender-based marketing and promotional efforts. Thanks to this law ladies have been enjoying cheaper or even free drinks, free entrance to clubs, cheaper food etc and now thanks to this law again, they will be able to enjoy a real Ladies only poker event. You may think that this law seems to work only in favor of women and against men. That´s because it does.

World Series of Poker spokesperson Seth Palansky assures that they have done their homework this year. “Our lawyers has been researching the law a long time and made sure it was on the books before going ahead with the new strategy.” says Palansky.

This women only tournament first started in 1977 and its purpose was to give wives and girlfriends of poker players something to do. It is understandable considering the mechanics of social life in 70s. But does it still make sense today? Is there an unfair advantage for one of the genders? For both questions, the answer is no. Poker is not a physical competition. Men are not mentally stronger than women.

So why don´t ladies want to play with us? Because apparently they don´t like the way some of us talk. “They don’t need the World Series of Poker Ladies Event because the ladies can’t compete. They need it because of the atmosphere. In open events, I’m not interested in hearing about sports, what happened at Sapphire the night before, or the cocktail waitresses, which are often topics that come up.” poker star Linda Johnson told PocketFives in a 2012 interview. I don´t like that kind of talk either but unfortunately I am a man, I don´t get special treatment. I can´t point my finger at random men and say “Mr. WSOP spokesman, come here. See those two men across my table? They were talking about sports! That is unacceptable. I don´t want him and him in this tournament next year!”

Can you even imagine a male poker player, let´s say Phil Ivey, saying “I don´t want women in my tournaments, all they talk about is child care and Paris Hilton´s new shoes.” Could you imagine that? I couldn´t. It is too painful to even imagine. So why do we all silently stare at a blank wall when a woman says that?

Let´s take a step back and try to take a look at the subject from another angle. Yep, it is still sexist and doesn´t make any sense.

It is not only men who ask if there is a place for women-only tournaments in today´s game. Annie Duke, winner of a World Series bracelet from an all-inclusive event, thinks the answer is no; “Poker is not like tennis, men are not mentally stronger than we are, so it makes no sense to separate it out. If there were a men’s-only event, people would be encouraging women to play.” Anna Wroblewski agrees with Annie Duke; “Maybe there was a case for women-only tournaments a few years ago, but the game has moved on now, and surely one of the beauties of poker is that anyone can play everyone on an equal footing.”

It is great to see that commonsense found its way between women as well. However let´s not forget; As long as events like this continue, women will be always more equal than men.

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