PokerStars Patronizes With New Women’s League

There’s no denying that professional poker is heavily dominated by male players, but there are still plenty of female pros that have no trouble holding their own against the guys. Online poker continues to gain in popularity all around the world, but the fastest growing segment of the cash poker community is women. It’s easy to see, then, why an online women’s poker league would have some appeal, but PokerStars’ latest blog on the topic is nothing short of insulting.

While many poker news portals have lauded PokerStars for offering the onslaught of female amateurs their own venue, it’s hard to feel good about the integrity of their league when their news writers are implying that it’s primarily designed for “girly girls” and women players that are “intimidated by the massively-male dominated poker world.” The year’s first blog on the subject goes on to to touch on other female stereotypes like women’s desire to chatter and gossip while playing.

Where does this skewed perception of female players come from? There are dozens of formidable femme fatales both live and online. Annie Duke, for example, is one of the highest earning female pros and was recently tapped to act as commissioner for the new professional poker league. Vanessa Selbst stole headlines all of last year by taking top honors at both the NAPT Mohegan Sun Main Event and at the Partouche Poker Tour. Annette Obrestad, though only 21, holds Europe’s most prestigious poker title (a WSOPE championship) and destroyed 2009 National Heads-Up Poker Champion Huck Seed in nine minutes flat.

While PokerStars’ new section for female players – PokerStars Women – does offer up accomplished lady pros like Vanessa Rousso, Selbst and Victoria Coren for inspiration, it also replaces the usual top tournament entry prizes awarded at their regular satellites with Ladies’ Luxury Events packages. Let’s hope that isn’t code for a shopping spree and a day at the spa.

The PokerStars Women’s Poker League will also have its own leaderboard competition. Unfortunately, the rewards aren’t nearly enough to lure any serious female pro away from the regular players. Not only is the tournament schedule thus far extremely sparse, but the top monthly MTT player in the women’s league will receive only $300/€200. In the regular league, the top monthly MTT player pockets a hefty $5,000 reward.

The latest season of the PokerStars Women’s Poker League will begin on February 7. Two MTTs will run every day, and lady players that are interested can gain access to additional female-centric events via the PokerStars Women section of the site.

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