Traditionally speaking, only around 5% of the players participating in poker games in live casinos have been women. However, despite such a historically low representation of women and a seemingly disinterested female population, online operator 888.com (in a move which evidence suggests will only be increasingly duplicated by other operators) recently launched the first women-only poker tables to keep up with demand!
No, online operators arent reaching out to a demographic that represents only 5% of their clients. Unlike poker games in live casinos, women represent anywhere from 30-40% of internet players and are indeed the fastest-growing group of individuals signing-up to play poker online. Keeping this statistic in mind, it is also estimated that about 1/3 of British players who represent about 80% of those people playing online poker in Europe are women. On top of that, and providing further evidence of increased female participation, the number of women logging onto the Ladbrokes site has doubled over the last year. Why the discrepancy between the number of women playing online and those playing in live casinos? The answer rests truly in the presence of a number of factors, both specific and general, which combined, have made online poker an increasingly attractive option for women wishing to play.
The main, and perhaps most obvious, reason for the greater appeal of online poker to women is the fact that the internet provides a gender-neutral environment. In other words, playing poker online allows women to avoid the often male-dominated environment of local casinos and intimidation tactics of death-staring and the like which have typically been associated with live casino poker games. Such tactical advantages characteristic of live games are eliminated when playing online. In fact, it is even possible, and not uncommon, for men to pretend theyre women and vice versa. While some may argue such a practice indicates that even online gender continues to play a role, the fact that the environment remains nonetheless anonymous means that any such tactic can be used by all.
Other reasons for online pokers increased popularity amongst women include the increased media attention the game has received and the resulting spotlight given to prominent female players who then serve as role models for players seeking to play and succeed. The popularized success of professional female players encourages other women to take up the game and the familiarity and comfort of the internet offer the perfect starting point for trying out the game and/or enhancing ones skills.Online poker websites normally offer tools, articles, tips, and tutorials that educate the novice quickly. Furthermore, online poker provides women, or any player for that matter, without previous knowledge of the game the opportunity to learn its finer aspects and even practice in a far less intimidating environment than that offered by most live casinos.
Virtual poker rooms have become increasingly popular with women for many of the same reasons their appeal has risen with men. Increased media attention, online tutorials, the ability to play from home at convenient hours, and lower rakes and stakes are all factors which have contributed to pokers rise in popularity. However, the gender-neutral environment provided by the internet explains more than anything else the increasing numbers of women playing poker. As the online game becomes even more popular and accessible, one can only expect that women will continue to become more comfortable with it and increasingly attracted to its advantages. Even for those women who like the qualities of the live game and enjoy and thrive on playing in a live environment, online poker offers an easily-accessible and conducive opportunity for enhancing skills necessary and beneficial for live games. In fact, popular professional female players such as Xuyen Pham and Isabelle Mercierspend a large part of their time practicing and polishing their skills online when theyre on breaks or not at tournaments. All in all, the internet is opening more and more doors to the world of poker for women. As the participation of women increases (and for the moment there are few signs that it is slowing) the popularity of online poker will rise as well.