As I sit in my Atlantis Resort room during the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure this week, I’ve been recalling how poker, every day, is evolving. The days of sitting at a cash table or playing in a tournament with anonymity are long gone. One great move or tournament win (man or woman) catapults you to a world I’m in right now.
The PCA is filled with poker pros from around the world who have descended on the beautiful Bahamian paradise. The energy in the tournament room is much different than the Amazon room at the Rio in Las Vegas; the atmosphere is great. The women I’ve talked with are from Russia, Slovenia, Spain (and the United States, of course) and have traveled thousands of miles to participate in the ladies weekend and the PokerStars High Heels Poker Tour ladies event, which Vanessa Rousso won. It’s interesting to see women all over the world have the same feelings about poker. They love it, want to encourage it and highly support it. I know it seems like a girly comment, but it just proves women’s poker is growing.
My predictions for 2010 are that women will break through, as pro and amateur women will make significant strides. The women who have paved the way for female players to be more accepted on the felt, will reach some big goals this year. And those who are semipro or amateur will become breakout stars.
You don’t have to be a lover of ladies-only events to want to support the growing niche (some think these events are sexist). You just have to be a women who plays to see the changes. Of course, I want all women who play to support women-only events, but for growth and change to happen there has to be diversity.
In 2010, diversity on the felt (or virtual felt) will continue to occur, and the year will be a good gauge of how the female poker market will evolve. With more events across America and in other countries, women are showing up and playing their game. Stay tuned in the coming months as we highlight some of these breakout women (as I do every so often with the pros). Not only are their lives on the felt becoming significant to the poker world, but who they are every day is the story behind their poker.
— Lauren Failla writes a monthly column for Ante Up, tracking the progress of women in poker. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.