Breaking Barriers: Women Who Sat, And Won, At Men’s Poker Tables

flush cards hand

The pompous casino rooms have historically been dominated by men, but that does not mean that women have not enjoyed gambling through the ages. As a matter of fact, several women have used casino tables as an empowering platform and stood up against gender discrimination.

It is well known that the gambling branch has long been dominated by men. However, that might be changing thanks to the introduction of internet-based casinos. Because, whereas men have been drawn to the luxuries of land-based casinos such as the grand Bellagio casino in Las Vegas, the majority of women are customers of online casinos such as Casino Classic.

But when did women break into the casino sphere?

The Daughters of Faro

The first known women who first broke the boundary were the legendary Daughters of Faro, or the Faro Ladies. The group existed in the 1700s in England and consisted of five aristocratic women: Lady Buckinghamshire, Lady Elizabeth Luttrell, Lady Sarah Archer, Mrs. Concannon, and Mrs. Sturt. The ladies used the gambling table as a place to discuss social and political issues, something that was also otherwise inappropriate topics of conversation for women at that time.

However, the ladies became infamous for their gambling, and it was a common belief that gambling negatively affected childbearing as it added unnecessary excitement and stress. Eventually, the group was used in anti-gambling propaganda and was a common portrayal in satirical writings for disrupting social order.

The Wild West

Poker Alice Ivers Duffield Tubbs Huckert

About a century later, on the other side of the planet, a lady by the name of Alice Ivers Duffield Tubbs Huckert was living in the American Wild West. Alice took a liking to playing poker and became very good at it: she could cash in $6000 on a single night. She wasn’t the only woman in the room, but most others were only there for the pleasure of the male guests.

Soon, Alice – who became known as Poker Alice – decided to do something with her earnings. She ended up opening her own casino in 1910, called Poker’s Palace, where she ran her business. Alice guarded her treasures and stood up to criticism in a very Wild Western style – by carrying her very own revolver.

The 20th Century Groundbreakers

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Fifty years after the opening of Alice’s casino, women’s competition in casinos began receiving official recognition through the implementation of the first World Series of Poker Ladies Event in 1977.

In the very same decade, a woman by the name of Deborah Nutton became executive vice president of casino operations at Wynn Casino in Las Vegas. Paving the way for not only women’s gambling but also women’s leadership in the branch. Nutton was notorious in her advocacy for the ability of women to be and embrace their femininity at the poker table, rather than giving in to the stereotypical male atmosphere.

The Online Era

Yet another fifty years later lands us in the present day. In the new millennia, two women gamblers stand out: first, Victoria Coren Mitchell who was the first person, to win the European Poker Tour two times, first in 2006 and later in 2014. The other is Vanessa Selbst who is the first woman to ever rank number 1 on the Global Poker Index.

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However, most gambling women today play casually, and in recent statistics, most of the women gamblers play using online or app platforms rather than brick-and-mortar institutions. Many women state that online platforms provide anonymity and protection from gender stigmas and discrimination otherwise encountered.

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