PokerStars leads way in recognize women

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Many online poker sites offer opportunities to qualify for live tournaments, but I think this may be a first: qualifying for a live ladies-only event that’s sponsored by the actual site. PokerStars is running satellite qualifiers through December for an opportunity to play in its inaugural $1,000 buy-in ladies event during the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure at the Atlantis in January. This event is a great opportunity for the everyday female player to qualify for a $3,500 package.

PokerStars has taken great initiative to bring about change in the female poker market. The world’s largest poker site is dedicating resources all over the world to bring more women to the game. Clearly Stars see this an opportunity to be a pioneer and advocate for women’s poker.

Recently, the European Poker Tour, which is owned by Stars, had record-breaking attendance in its ladies event in London. PokerStars also is the first site to sponsor a ladies tour, and I’m happy say it’s the High Heels Poker Tour. The HHPT and PokerStars are collaborating to give ladies more recognition and opportunities to get involved in the game.

Stars recognizes that giving back to its players will often “pay it forward” as was recently seen in the online event to raise money for cancer. After the Borgata Poker Open debacle (when a man won the ladies event two months ago) PokerStars sprung into action. Nicole Rowe, who is fighting cancer, took second in the event, and when Stars heard of the situation it took the initiative to run a special tournament with amazing prizes. Stars dedicated the event to Nicole’s fight and other women’s battles with cancer.

When companies take the time to realize there are people behind the avatars, it makes you believe we all want to be successful and remembered. I applaud Stars’ efforts and encourage more poker businesses to take part in bringing about more change for the love of the game.

Moving forward, the one thing I don’t want is people feeling ladies events should only be attached to a charity and that ladies-only events are not serious or important. As a player and business-owner in this market, I can tell you the women who play are very serious about the game, the integrity of the game and growing with the game. It’s not about segregating women from men; it’s about women segueing into the mainstream poker market. The women’s market will continue to flourish and grow in popularity with companies such as PokerStars advocating for women and the game.

— Lauren Failla writes a monthly column for Ante Up, tracking the progress of women in poker. Email her at lauren@highheelspokertour.com.