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Real Women of Poker: Barbara Enright

13 September 2011, By:
This week we're introducing a new feature on highlighting what we like to call the "Real Women of Poker."
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This week we're introducing a new feature on highlighting what we like to call the "Real Women of Poker."

Unlike a lot of poker sites, we aren't going to push out another empty "hot chicks of poker" piece.

Instead we'll post a short bio and, when possible, a follow-up interview with women who have stood the test of time in the game and have literally paved the way for the modern female poker player.

Our first installment in this series is Barbara Enright who, to get right to the point, is the woman who set the bar in poker for female players.

Among her other amazing accomplishments, Enright is the only woman to make the final table of the World Series of Poker Main Event and the only woman to be inducted into the Professional Poker Hall of Fame.

Early Start, But Long Wait Before Live Card Rooms

Enright started playing poker at the age of four when she learned how to play draw poker against her brother.

Barbara moved onto live card rooms in the 1970's, where she began playing poker part-time.

At the time, Enright worked three jobs to support her family. She discovered that she could make more money playing poker than she could working three jobs and she soon quit her jobs to focus on poker.

That decision proved to be a wise one as she proceeded to not only dominate at the cash tables but also in tournament play.

Setting the Pace for Female Tournament Players

Enright set the pace for the modern female tournament player from the beginning.

Over the course of her career, Enright has won over $1.4 million in live tournaments.

That may seem like a relatively modest number compared to the massive prize pools on offer in tournaments today, but in the 80s and 90s this is a gigantic number.

Also remember that most tournaments before the 90s were either not recorded or the records lost, so chances are that number is much higher.

Enright and the WSOP

Enright's greatest accomplishments are tied to the World Series of Poker.

She won her first WSOP bracelet in 1986 when she took down the Ladies Stud Event, which is the equivalent of the modern day Ladies Event.

She won the same event in 1994 for her second bracelet.

The feat that Enright is most recognized, however, for was her run in the 1995 WSOP Main Event.

She made the final table of the event that year becoming the first woman to earn a spot at the most prestigious final table in poker.

Her appearance would be short lived, unfortunately, as Brent Carter sucked out on her with 6-3 to send her to the rail.

Her payday of $114,180 was the largest for any woman in the Main Event and Enright remains the only woman to ever make the Main Event final table in Vegas. (Annette Obrestad won the WSOP Europe Main Event in 2007.)

The very next year, Enright made history again by winning the $2,500 Pot-Limit Hold'em Event for her first open bracelet win.

Enright is only the 2nd woman in WSOP history to win an open bracelet (Vera Richmond won the A-5 Draw Event in 1982).

Hall of Famer Still Dominating the Tables

Since that point, Enright has continued to enjoy success in poker and regularly plays in poker tournaments on the West Coast.

Enright's longevity and dominance in the game was recognized in 2007 when she became the first woman inducted into the Professional Poker Hall of Fame.

The very next year, Barbara was part of the inaugural class inducted into the Women in Poker Hall of Fame along with Linda Johnson, Susie Isaacs and Marsha Waggoner.

Just to put a cap on the Women in Poker Hall of Fame induction, Barbara proceeded to win the $500 WIPHOF Tournament held directly after the event and took home $11,000.

"She Just Likes to Bash your Brain in With Her Chips"

Pokerjunkie blogger Compncards has played in numerous events with Enright in Nevada and California and had the following to say about her:

"Barbara was the first 'female professional' that I had the honor to play with.

"Unlike some I play with, she doesn't try and get by and charm you with her personality at the table.

"She just likes to bash your brains in with her chips.

"With that said, she is still one of the friendliest players I have played with on tour ... up until the cards are dealt."

Barbara Enright has been playing poker since it was considered a "man's game" and has been regularly sending men to the rail.

Her dominance paved the way for other women to work their way into the game and as long as she is able, she will likely continue to give players fits at the table for many years to come.

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