In April last year, I launched my blog about women in poker. It was a culmination of my interest in poker, which began back in 2007, when a friend of mine invited me to join a home game with six or seven other women. I had never played poker before, had barely even heard of the game, but it sounded cool and I went along. One of the girls brought a box of cigars and another a bottle of whisky (quite telling of our understanding of what poker was about!). A third friend, who had played a little online, had written down the hand rankings, since the rest of us didn’t have a clue. “A straight beats a flush, right?” The game was very small and everybody at the table was involved in every pot! It was so much fun and I immediately fell in love with the game.
I started to play online, but with little success. Little by little, I left my mediocre online career behind and instead got more and more interested in the players and the industry – and especially in the women of the game. What I found was an incredible amount of talent. There were actually many more successful female poker players out there than I had ever imagined. But it was so hard to find the good stories and news regarding women in poker, and since women are still a minority in the poker world, it was often like finding the needle in a haystack.
I began to think about how amazing it would be if all this information could be found in one place! Why wasn’t there a website dedicated solely to women in poker? A site that would appeal to both the recreational player and the female pro? The idea stayed with me, but I didn’t have time to do anything about it. I was working full time as a freelance editor of travel books, and with three kids and a wife, I didn’t have time for this kind of endeavor.
But as it happened, a couple of travel books were postponed and suddenly I found myself without anything to do for two months. “Maybe I could do this blog about women in poker?” I said to myself. Without knowing anything about WordPress, how to create a website, search engine optimization or anything of the kind, I took the plunge. Long live YouTube!
I also needed a Twitter account and a Facebook page to go with my blog, and as I had always shied away from social media, it was a huge step for me. I really didn’t know anything about how Twitter worked, but fortunately, high stakes cash game player Melissa Burr jumped in with a pragmatic piece of advice: “When u start a tweet with @ symbol … It will only be visible to people followed by both parties. Use a “.” before the @ symbol and it will go out to all ur followers“. The extent of my ignorance was beyond limits.
Another aspect I hadn’t taken into consideration was the time difference between for instance Las Vegas, Melbourne and Europe. Following the WSOP and trying to post updates and stories on my blog proved to be quite an exhausting experience. When a tournament starts at 2 p.m. in Vegas, it’s 11 p.m. here in Copenhagen, and on more than one occasion, I have gone directly from posting on my blog to taking my kids to kindergarden and then working on my daytime job as an travel guide editor.
I told myself that rungood was coming my way once I got a couple of advertisment deals settled and was able to scale down on my job as an editor. At the end of the year, I joined the PokerStars Affiliate Team and felt sure that now it was going in the right direction. It was not! April 1st PokerStars dropped me, since I hadn’t met the criteria of delivering one real money player to the site – and hence I was left with no revenue at all (and it’s was no April Fools).
I’m still hopeful that a sponsor, advertisement deal or a rich patron will show up eventually, but until then I would encourage all of my readers to make a small donation (check the buttons below the post). It doesn’t have to be much and if everybody donates a few dollars it will sum up in the end.
Even if PokerWomenNews has not been a success financially, I think that it has, in turn, been very successful content-wise. Over the course of a year, I have uploaded 189 posts. I have interviewed players like Yu Kurita, Jamie Kerstetter, Christina Lindley, Deborah “QueenBee902” Vanneste, Jessica Dawley, Loni Harwood, Thi Nguyen, Rachel Kranz, Eleanor Gudger, Nancy Birnbaum, Angela Jordison, Esther Taylor-Brady, Jackie Glazier, Jaclynn Moskow, Lily Kiletto, Julie Anna Cornelius, Yaxi Zhu and many more.
I have shared some of the most memorable moments on and off the felt: Victoria Coren becoming the first two-time EPT champion, Melissa Burr’s shot at the Poker Players Championship, Vanessa Selbst’s third bracelet, Gaëlle Baumann/Esther Taylor-Brady/Kelly Minkin making WPT final tables, Angelina Rich winning an event at the Aussie Millions, Ladies Night at Poker Night in America, Yaxi Zhu’s and Thi Nguyen’s breakthrough performances, Eleanor Gudger winning the WPT500 in Nottingham, The Player of the Year Ladies race between Sam Cohen and Vanessa Selbst, Female players on Twitch, Yu Kurita‘s deep run in the WSOP APAC, Ruth Graham’s fight against cancer during WSOP – the list goes on and on. Being part of the nomination panel for both the American and the European Poker Awards has been a fun and interesting experience as well.
The blog proves how many good stories there are to be told about women in poker, the dramatic final tables and the big scores, not to mention the challenges of being a woman in a very male dominated industry.
In my view, every woman, who sits down at a poker table is a hero! It really takes guts to enter a poker room for the first time and find yourself surrounded by 97% men – and as Rachel Kranz said to me in an interview: “Hostility at the table is something that just about every woman in poker has experienced some version of—frequently—and the good guys have trouble believing it because it doesn’t happen in front of them.”
That is why the subtitle of the blog is “Supporting Women in Poker” and why I try to call out female players on Twitter, when I notice they’re in a tournament. It’s about awareness. It’s about visibility. It’s about showing the world and each other that we are out there – and we can hold our own and compete and succeed in this game we all love so much.