When you enter a poker tournament, you might be surprised to find the tables dominated by men, with hardly any women present. Only 5% of professional poker players are women, and those numbers look rather measly next to the whopping 95% of men. There isn’t an apparent or singular reason why women don’t play poker, but perhaps many don’t see the value of it or would rather not play in such a male-dominated arena. However, poker can come with many benefits for women at the poker table, at work, and even for their self-worth. You don’t need to play among pros to gain these advantages either. Here are some reasons why more women should learn to play poke
They can use poker skills in their careers
Besides winning and earning, women can gain valuable skills from poker and apply them in their careers and industries. Women don’t need to play the game full-time either; taking part in lessons and casual games can already give them basic poker skills. For the women in a poker program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, they know all too well about the advantages poker can give them in their jobs. Through games of Texas Hold’Em, the program teaches them strategies in negotiation, decision-making, and emotional intelligence — things essential both at the poker table and in a corporate environment. Other than school faculty, female poker pros like Melanie Weisner have shared their expertise in the game to help women conquer the workforce.
They can find success in the field
Though not a lot of women play poker professionally, their numbers are starting to increase. Some of the best female poker players in the game not only win big in live tournament earnings, but they also achieve success through company sponsorships, online winnings, and poker accomplishments that pave the way for other women to follow. Case in point, best-selling author Maria Konnikova had no idea how poker would change her life when she approached it as an outsider to help write a book. After training under Erik Seidel, she entered poker tournaments and was often the only woman at the table. From initially having zero interest in the game, she began entering more contests and won higher-stakes games, and eventually started playing poker full-time. Her book The Biggest Bluff made rounds in the poker community, and inspired many other women to take up the game.
They can be empowered
Women tend to be more risk-averse than men and may have a more challenging time being assertive. Poker can help women be more aggressive or confident in their moves, both in and outside the game. As said by Jenny Just, cofounder of trading form Peak6 and the Poker Power workshop, strategy, risk, and capital allocation can give you the drive you need to win in all areas of life. Whether in board meetings, sports tournaments, or business negotiations, she mentions that women have to own whatever situation they may be in — like they would own their poker hand — to be successful.
The lessons women can learn from poker go far beyond the chips. These skills can take them far in their careers and passions while granting them amazing success. And even though you’re flying solo when you play, it doesn’t have to be that way in life. Check out our posts on Secrets of a Good Girl for more advice on anything and everything you might want to know.