As any young woman will know, sport is not something you usually think of as your future. A professional athletic career choice is dominated by men, and with little reward for women if they make it to the top, it can seem unrealistic to aspire to it. Without a carrot on a stick it can appear to be better for girls to follow a different path. There are a handful of sports however that can provide women with a dream that is equal to man’s, Tennis being the most obvious. There is another that few think about however. Poker is one of the biggest sports in the world with an estimated 100m players. It is not something people will associate with sport, but the Poker table is one of the few areas where women can not only earn the same as men, but compete against them and beat them!
Although only a third of the way through 2016, the year has already been riddled with ignorant comments and patriarchal beliefs at the top of sports. Tennis which is usually a leader in equality has been stained with this already. Top Tennis administrator Raymond Moore shocked everyone after stating he thought “women should get down on their knees and thank Federer and Nadal every night”. It is not only a shocking choice of language, but also a very misguided view of a sport which has taken huge strides in creating equality. Moore swiftly resigned following the backlash from his comments, but unfortunately he had started a debate. While Andy Murray and Serena Williams condemned the comments, Novak Djokovic was less forthcoming. The superstar who is a role model for millions of Tennis fans said that with all the attention and viewers that the male game gets, they should be paid more.
Last week Bernie Ecclestone decided he would be next to show his ignorance claiming that a female drivers would not be taken seriously. This is despite the fact that Susie Wolff was part of a Formula 1 weekend. He also claimed that women don’t have the strength to drive fast but British racer Pippa Mann has competed 4 times in the Indy 500 “and that’s without power steering”.
Poker is a game which sees no sex. By its very nature Poker offers earning potential on the same level as a man and more! In a recent interview about women in poker professional Charlotte Van Brabander said that women might even be at an advantage, “I believe it can only be an advantage being a woman, if you know how to use it well.”. Poker is not a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow though, sexism and a lack of players is still an issue. Tina Lange, a player from poker said “I watch the World Series of Poker often and it's rare that a woman ever makes it to the final table. The reason isn't that the female players are lacking experience, it's just the percentages of women in the game to begin with! It doesn't set a good example for other women and girls who may have interest in the game.”. Sexism is more of a problem online with trolls than on a poker table.
Unfortunately, it seems while sports take two steps forward for women, people like Ecclestone are forcing them a step back. While Tennis looks like the best option for any sports hungry girls it is not the only option and it appears Poker is ready to fill the hole that other sports are leaving
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By Mike Valverde