Female poker players deserve more media coverage

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My name is Lauren Failla and I’m CEO and founder of the High Heels Poker Tour and co-founder of the Women’s Ultimate Poker Academy. I’ve been involved in the poker world for many years as a player and the past few years engaged in a female-owned poker business. I reside in Hollywood and play predominately at South Florida casinos such as Seminole Casino Hollywood, Seminole Hard Rock, the Isle at Pompano Park and Mardi Gras. Wherever there’s a good tournament, you can find me. I’m mainly a tournament player but now and again you’ll see me in cash games (though my game lately could use a little help).

In this column and beyond, I will highlight the issues women face at the tables, strides we’re making and take a look at local up-and-coming players in the women’s poker market. Just so you men out there don’t get envious, I’ll also highlight from time to time the men’s perspective on various issues on women in poker. I promise this column will be lighthearted and fun because for me the game is just that “a game” and games are supposed to be fun, right? Well here we go!

We all know there’s an inequity when it comes to reporting on, writing about and sponsoring women who play poker professionally. It seems when female players have interests away from the felt that these interests are what garner attention rather than their playing ability. Why is it when 10 guys sit around a table it’s news? Who knows, but I would love for more attention to be paid to women-only tournaments because this is where you’ll see some of the new fantastic players.

Let’s also squash the misconception we’re trying to be segregated. That’s simply not true. I’ve heard from many of the opposite sex: “Why are there women-only tournaments? There aren’t men-only tournaments.” Well, all I can say is, why do you care? As much as we would like to think men and women are treated equally at the poker table that’s just not the case. Professional players such as Linda Johnson, Jennifer Harman-Traniello, Barbara Enright and others continue to pave the way for women who play. As professional players they probably rarely hear comments or sneers at the table, but if we polled all female players, you would find those actions or comments from men are the norm, not the exception.

I can say, with a great deal of pleasure, that women in 2008 definitely received more exposure for their play than ever before. As the gap between the number of men vs. women at the tables closes, this upcoming year and World Series of Poker will see an increase in women playing more tournaments and cash games. I encourage women interested in poker or who play poker to go to Web sites such as
ladypokersharks.com or womenspokerclub.com to see what’s available. Many sites promote everything poker and women who play. They discuss the trials and tribulations, kudos, blogging and ladies poker news. They’re a great resource and you’ll never know who you might find blogging.

I hope you’ll make every effort to promote women in poker because we’re here and growing every day. High Heels Poker Tour and the Womens Ultimate Poker Academy always will do what we can to make sure everyone gets their shot at poker stardom (if that’s what they want) and help bring women to the forefront of the poker community.

— Email comments and questions to lauren@highheelspokertour.com.