Updated on January 22nd, 2019
Courageously Competing Against the Preconceptions
For a long time, women have been fighting a battle for the top spots in games and sports competitions that are usually dominated by men. In most of the cases, the issue is strictly tied to the preconceptions and traditionalist ideas that have been proved to be wrong.
Furthermore, the fact that men used to appear a lot more in competitions is mostly based on the flawed idea that they would be the only ones interested in such events.
The presence of women is increasing in gaming
Luckily, in the past few years, the balance has readjusted, and the female gender is now more represented both in sports and games. When it comes to poker, a game where most of the upper ranks are occupied by men, it would be more courageous to compete as a woman, despite the odds being equal and physical capabilities not being relevant at all.
Thanks to the technological advances made by our society, however, the accessibility to playing poker has increased due to online platforms for it. The boom in popularity has also influenced a lot more women to compete now, having the possibility of doing so from the comfort of their home. Let’s look at some women who are already making waves in the industry.
Barbara Enright Redefining the Game
Rewriting history, one win at a time
One of the most important names when it comes to women in the game of poker is Barbara Enright. This professional player is the first woman to ever be included in the Poker Hall of Fame due to her outstanding achievements.
She was the first female competitor to ever win three World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets and the only one to reach the final table in the 1995 Main Event. Although those are just two examples, her victories are numerous, bringing her to a total of over $1.5 million, a third of which was just from WSOP!
Nowadays, when she’s not busy crushing her competition at the game tables, she focuses on her job as an editor-in-chief for the Woman Poker Player Magazine or taking the stage as a motivational speaker.
Vivian Saliba in the Spotlight
Don’t be fooled by the sweet smile, she is a fierce competitor
Ever since her participation in last year’s WSOP event, Vivian Saliba has been turning a lot of heads. The Brazilian player not only managed to win her first cash prize in the competition but is also regarded as being one of the sexiest women in the world of live poker.
What started out as a hobby and way of socializing led her straight to the main events. Even though she has exceptional skills at the game table, when it comes to spending her free time, Saliba is about as normal as can be.
In an interview titled “4 Seriously Phenomenal Women in Poker,” Saliba mentions that she loves spending time with her loved ones, friends and dog. She also enjoys cooking for her guests and is always researching new recipes to impress them.
TV Presenter, Speaker and Successful Poker Player
Rocking that heavy metal look
The one who can juggle all three at the same time is none other than WSOP and European Poker Tour 2010 champion Olivia “Liv” Boeree. She got her first glimpse of the game back in 2005 when she took the spot as a contestant in a TV show about poker.
During that time, she was being coached by some of the best players out there: Dave Ulliott, Annie Duke and the legendary Phil “Poker Brat” Hellmuth. Three years after that, she won the Ladbrokes European Ladies Championship and hasn’t stopped since then, one of her latest victories being the second event of the 2017 WSOP.
Throughout the years, she has made numerous TV appearances, including as a co-host in a weekly show called the “UK and Ireland Poker Tour.”
Furthermore, she is the co-founder of the charity fundraising non-governmental organization (NGO) Raising for Effective Giving — a foundation working hand in hand with other different charities.
Before focusing on her poker career, she used to be a lead guitarist in a heavy metal band called Dissonance, her passion for the music genre is no secret to anyone.
The Number One
Guarding that stack of chips
The only woman who had the honor of holding the highest ranking in the Global Poker Index is Vanessa Selbst. She also has a collection of three WSOP bracelets and several titles, including winning the North American Poker Tour twice in a row!
Selbst made sure that her name would go down in the history of the game when she won the Partouche Poker Tour of 2010 and took home a whopping €1.3 million (about $1.6 million in USD).
As of this year, her total earnings from live poker tournaments place her at the top of the list of female players, having grossed close to $12 million. Although she is passionate about the game, her energy is also focused toward her goal to fund an organization and to put her law degree to use, fighting for civil rights.
Hopes for an Equal Future
Making predictions is always hard, but one thing is for sure, the positive image created by such women mentioned in the article can influence others to pursue their dreams and see past the inequality in numbers between the genders.
Although some might still be held back by the fact that this digital world is rapidly advancing, it’s easier to stay safe while playing online than you might think. Online poker platforms are improving and expanding, giving more people a chance to experience playing without having to worry about traveling or awkward social interactions.