As befitting the stereotype, many people unfortunately see poker as a man’s game, something to be played by gruff, grizzled types around a smoky saloon table with beers and cigars in hand. This is often true even of many casual poker players who just enjoy home games with friends. To be sure, female participation rates in poker are still quite low on a percentage basis, even as the live game has grown overall in popularity since the Moneymaker Boom. It’s not just the WSOP, high profile live events run by the big online poker operators, and the World Poker Tour that have the influence, ability, and – dare I suggest – responsibility – to bring more women into the game though. You can make the effort as well on the grassroots level, via your home games. If you’re planning your next home game and have some female acquaintances who could be a good fit for the table, why not give them a call or send them a text invite? Here are five good reasons why you should do so (assuming you don’t already).
1. They can bring a new style to the table
You should always want to play with more people if you’re serious about getting somewhere with your game. Everyone plays differently and if you want to improve you need to be exposed to as many different styles as possible in order to get better. If you only play with men, specifically men who are like you as your immediate friends, you could end up with a stilted view of how to read people. Introducing women into the mix could expose you to a whole wealth of different body language messages you’ll need to decipher. Similarly, they may introduce additional playing styles, moves, and maneuvers to your home game that you’re unfamiliar with and have to contend with. Being prepared for all kinds of opponents is a critical poker skill, especially important in tournaments when you never know who you’ll be seated with.
2. Different conversations
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having a “guys night,” but inviting and including women in your home poker games can be a real change of pace. Topics of conversation might likely come up that have never graced your home game felt before, so the regulars might find themselves discovering whole new areas of interest.
Having a “mixed crowd” changes the energy and the dynamic of the table and usually helps keep everyone engaged. It might even help keep the atmosphere more fun and relaxed, which is what home poker games are all about in the first place!
Love how much the chat changes with multiple women at the table…boots, hair products, and travel. The guys look a little confused 🙂 https://t.co/Rv4nIHo4nT
— AYoakum (@DariaVirago) December 12, 2018
3. It can help introduce them to offline play
Statistically, women with an interest in poker are more likely to play online at popular sites like Paddy Power rather than in a live poker setting. More often than not women do this in order to avoid the sexism that the game is sadly associated with. As such, you could really make someone’s day by inviting them to a fun, friendly home game that introduces them to the positive social aspects of poker in a safe environment. While poker’s rep has been improving in recent years, you could help to enact a positive change by inviting someone to a game who you normally wouldn’t.
Makes me very happy to have three women playing at my $1-$3 table. Great to see women playing poker anytime, including at 3:40am on a Friday morning 😃 pic.twitter.com/21Azl1JjDP
— Robbie Strazynski (@cardplayerlife) July 13, 2018
4. You could get invited to more games
If you’re on the lookout for more home game poker action, then broadening your pool of potential players can only be a good thing. If you find women who are interested in poker and know how to play, there’s every chance that they already have games they’re a part of that you could see an invite to in the future. No guarantee of that, of course, but it never hurts to have more friends who play!
Already excited about going home & playing some poker even though I’m getting invites for LA games this weekend
— Lori M (@PokerVixen) August 12, 2008
5. It can mean more time with your partner
Your mileage may vary here but if you’re looking to find new activities to try with your significant other, this can be a good way to get her into a game that you love. Slight disclaimer: if you check-raise your partner because you know her so well and can tell she’s bluffing, we cannot be held responsible for how long you have to spend sleeping on the couch. Slight disclaimer #2: It’s been over 15 years, but I’ve never convinced my wife to join one of my home games…. but hey, you never know… 😃