Women suck at playing poker. This was the sentiment by many male poker players throughout the years. Then a few dedicated and talent women players emerged on the scene to challenge that poker was just a game for men. Eventually they would pave the way for other women to enter the sport and enjoy great success.
Barbara Enright and the Old School Women Pros
Barbara Enright is probably one of the most recognizable among some of the "old school" women players that have came up the ranks over the years. She is the first woman to every win an open event at the World Series of Poker when she took the PL Holdem bracelet in 1996. In total, she has three WSOP bracelets.
Enright is also the only woman to make the final table of the World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas. She is also the only woman to be a member of the Poker Hall of Fame.
Other players from the "old school" era include Linda Johnson and Susie Isaacs. Johnson won a bracelet at the WSOP in 1997 in the $1,500 Razz Event and Isaacs won the Ladies event at the WSOP in 1996 and 1997.
New School Pros
Cyndi Violette is considered old school by some and new school by others. Violette brought notoriety to women poker players in 1986 when she won a 7 Card Stud event for nearly $75,000. This was the largest prize ever won by a female player at the time.
Violette would also become one of only a handful of women to win a WSOP bracelet in an open event when she won the Stud Hi-Lo split event in 2004. For her career, she has won over $1.2 million in poker tournaments and is considered one of the best 7 Card Stud players on the planet.
Jennifer Harman is the only woman in WSOP history to have won multiple bracelets in open events. She won her first bracelet in 2000 when she took down the $5,000 2-7 lowball event. She would then take the $5,000 Limit Holdem Event in 2002.
Annie Duke rose to superstar fame in 2004. First, she took the $2,000 Omaha Hi-Lo event to win her first bracelet. She then later won the inaugural Tournament of Champions when she outlasted a superstar table including Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth, Howard Lederer, and the late Chip Reese. She would take home $2 Million for her win.
Jennifer Tilly Changes the Women's Poker Landscape
Jennifer Tilly could almost be called the Chris Moneymaker of women's poker.
Tilly came out of nowhere to win the Ladies Event at the 2005 WSOP. Known primarily for her acting work and the fact that she dates Phil "The Unabomber" Laak, Tilly's win started a trend of increased participation in women's events.
The 2006 WSOP Ladies event grew from 601 in 2005 to 1,128 players in 2006.
The increase in women players sparked many poker tournament directors to offer women's only events for the first time to many of their tournament series.
The increased popularity of poker among women sparked the creation of L.I.P.S, also known as the Ladies International Poker Series. L.I.P.S. is a series of women's only events that travel around the country to encourage growth in women's poker.
After the influx of strong female poker players, poker cannot be considered a man's game anymore. Women are beginning to climb their way through the ranks and take center stage in many events around the country and the world.
Annette Obrestad became the first woman to win a WSOP Main Event when she won the WSOP Europe Main Event in 2007. Obrestad put the world on notice with her win.
Women are now a force to be reckoned with in the poker world, and they will be at a table to take your money real soon.