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Yet another International Women’s Day has come and gone by. While all the major organizations and industry sectors cheered the strength, leadership qualities and the progress made by women in all walks of life, the Indian and International poker community celebrated the day with equal enthusiasm.
It doesn’t take two guesses to make to say that on the felted tables of poker, women are a minority. The number of women joining the mind sport, however, is rising steadily, and coming out to give a big push of encouragement to women are all the major brands that have been holding women-special tournaments and events regularly. If the World Series of Poker (WSOP) has a Ladies Special event as part of its annual stop, India`s most trusted online site PokerBaazi and global brands like World Poker Tour (WPT) and PokerStars have also taken the lead in this direction.
What better occasion now to celebrate women and their abilities than the International Women’s Day? Be it launching campaigns for the betterment of women in the society, to producing a short film, and coming out with an inspiring video that showcases poker playing women expressing their independence and love for poker, the poker industry has aptly saluted the essence of strength and skills that women possess.
PokerBaazi Announces Play For A Cause
Commemorating International Women’s Day, leading India online poker site, PokerBaazi has announced PokerBaazi Premier League (PPL) Special Edition #PlayForACause’ coming up from April 21-28.
The theme of the series is ‘Think equal, build smart, innovate for a change” and along these lines, Baazi Games has tied up with Vidya Integrated Development for Youth and Adults (VIDYA) a non-profit NGO that works for the education and empowerment of less-privileged children and women. As part of the programme, PokerBaazi will donate a share of the rake collected in the PPL Special Edition to sponsor a year’s education for 14 underprivileged girls.
The company will oversee the education of these 14 girls through their school years, also taking care of their mid-day meals, uniforms, and transport costs. According to the site, this is just the beginning, and more girls will be covered in the programme subsequently.
PokerStars Releases Short Film on Women in Poker
Highlighting some prominent women in poker, the world’s largest online poker platform, PokerStars put together a short documentary film. Titled ‘Raising the Stakes – The Women of Poker’, the film was officially released at a gathering in London on Tuesday.
In the presence of media and members of charity organizations, a panel of industry ladies comprising of poker and chess pro Jen Shahade, Aleeyah Jadavji, PokerStars’ Associate Director of Group Public Relations Rebecca McAdam, and Associate Director of Branded Content Francine Watson was convened. The panel shared their experiences and answered questions from the gathering on women and poker.
“These are people who know very little about poker and were fascinated about how we’ve thrived in a male-dominated environment. In talking about my experiences in the industry, I realized myself that being a part of it has made me stronger and more confident,” Jadavji said.
The 15-minute, 22-second film has female poker players, and industry members share their experiences and observations about poker. Maria Ho, Liv Boeree, Fatima Moreira de Melo, and Celina Lin shared their poker journey and talked about the gender imbalance in the society, that also reflects in the comparatively low participation by women in the mind sport.
Ho said, “It’s nice when there’s a balance of testosterone and estrogen, when there’s that female and masculine energy kind of working together. it just provides for a much better experience — not just for women, but for everybody at the table overall.”
You can watch the short film below.
WPT Celebrates Women’s Day With Video
The WPTDeepStacks tour is currently at the bestbet Jacksonville for its festival of tournaments from March 1-11. WPT’s Vice-president of Poker Operations Deb Giardina has played an instrumental role in creating and maintaining the poker room at bestbet. She has been at the helm of executing special events for women since joining WPT. On International Women’s Day, Giardina and Pham held a poker educational workshop at the venue. Apart from them, WPT Champions Club member Paul Petraglia also interacted with women players and gave them inputs on improving their game.
In a WPT blog, the brand also threw the spotlight on Giardina’s journey through life, her career in real estate, marriage, children and her years as a dealer in a casino. “I hadn’t been in the industry more than about a year and a half, but I told a colleague to teach me everything he knew. I was going to the top of the industry. He kind of laughed but did what I asked. Five years ago, I hired that same guy as a dealer at bestbet,” Giardina recalls.
WPT also released a short video on YouTube, featuring WPT women executives, commentators, players, pros and other women from different walks of life who play poker. There was Jennifer Taylor who is a full-time student and pre-school teacher, writer and broadcaster Kristy Arnett, players Maria Ho, Kristen Bicknell and others who talked about what they do for a living, apart from playing poker.
Asserting their independence, they also called out to women over the world to join the poker action – “seat open”!
Watch the WPT video below.