2016 is drawing to a close and, with a lot of poker players keyed in to reading a well-timed bluff, 2017 should present many more such opportunities. As Doyle Brunson learned when he got blocked on Twitter by The Donald, the agenda of the incoming administration, all pre-election assurances aside, may run counter to those on which the democratic tradition of “a chip and a chair” was founded.
Mid-December, I am already WSOP dreaming and recently read an interesting BBC article by blackjack and poker legend Cat Hulbert, who did one up on the usual conversation on why there are not more women in poker. In “How I Got Rich Beating Men at Their Own Game,” she posits that women are innately better than men at a game of cards.
This is not hard to believe, per se. Cat mentions a renowned poker author and mathematician who purportedly kept a copy of “How to Pick Up Women” on his nightstand. From my limited interactions at the table and the way forum threads on the subject invariably devolve into thumbnails of rare sightings of women with low cut blouses, I’ll say that Cat hit the nail on the head with that observation.
She does indeed mention that image feeds heavily into how she is treated at the table, with men more than willing to intimidate her with overbets and bluffs, as she shows down marginally better hands and rakes in chips. A particular tactic she takes pleasure in involves turning men’s “insecurities into rage.” The corresponding loss of emotional control is one she has come to associate with gifts of large sums at the table.
Cat also provides insight into the gambling mindset that goes beyond male/female dichotomies. She talks about that subset of people (in any field) who concentrate so much on one thing that they have very little connection to the activities most associate with daily living. The classic example being the chess genius who cannot pump gas. She talks about gambling as providing a sense of community to many who fall into that nether realm. The intricacies of poker strategy can take you deep into the rabbit hole, just talk with Joe Cada for a couple minutes and you’ll know what I mean.
Getting back to the women in poker thing, one of the most enjoyable experiences I had at the 2015 WSOP involved watching the Ladies Championship, which was won by Jacqueline Scott, a south Florida real estate executive who was good friends with a large percentage of the players and dealers at the Rio.
There are a lot of interesting nuances in a final table composed solely of women that lead me to believe that, while the skills in play may be different, they are equally (if not more) complex. I was able to corral Jacqueline during a break from the $111,111 One Drop and speak to her about her first WSOP bracelet victory. The interview (including a few cringe-worthy questions on my part) is still up on Soundcloud for your listening pleasure.
About Damon Shulenberger
Having earned a Guinness World Record in poker for winning a 49 hour continuous tournament in 2013, California native Damon Shulenberger is an inveterate traveler and cloud novelist. Currently in the Philippines, he is conceptualizing an innovative travel platform “fabric” and publishing his cloud novel Arisugawa Park at endurancewriter.com. Shulenberger is also working on a trans-Pacific tribal flute field recording and studio album project Chasing the Sun.
Hyperlink for “Arisugawa Park”: http://www.arisugawapark.com
Hyperlink for “Chasing the Sun”: https://soundcloud.com/endurancewriter