Watch out, the women are coming
by Rebekah Mercer
Women had another good showing at the PCA (PokerStars Caribbean Adventure) this year and continued to demonstrate that poker is not just "a man's game" anymore. The women in this year's Main Event cashed at the same rate as men, and they demonstrated that, like men, they have the fortitude to work their way through a huge field to the top.
The women who played in this year's Main Event in the Bahamas did very well for themselves, but they were just a bit hard to find in the sea of men surrounding them. Of the 1,529 players in the Main Event, only 29 were women, and four of them cashed. Women were outnumbered by men by 1,500. But they didn't let a small matter like that stop them. They put their head phones on and ignored the fact that they were the only woman at the table.
They concentrated on the goal ahead, and four of them made it to the money. They were: Amanda Baker (USA) $59,000, Liz Lieu (USA) $45,000, Kathy Liebert (USA) $20,000, and Team PokerStars Pro Vicky Coren (UK) $17,500.
For some more details about how women were represented in the Main Event this year, take note of the following statistics that may surprise you:
• Women cashed at an average of 14 percent (4/29), virtually the same as the men, and of the prize pool of $14,831,300 women took home $141,500. That's a pretty nice bank for a handful of women
• More women played this year and doubled the number from last year (14), but they still represented slightly less than two percent of the field
• 18 female players this year were satellite players
• 21 of the 29 female players were from North American -- 18 from the U.S. and three from Canada
• Two females cashed in back-to-back Main Events (2009 and 2010) -- Kathy Liebert and Vicky Coren
In addition to women's participation in the Main Event, this year's PCA saw the launch of the $1K Ladies Event with 91 entries and a prize pool of $88,270. This was the largest event exclusively for women ever held (the WSOP Ladies Event allows men to enter) and 33 of the women who played won a package via an online satellite through PokerStars (the package included the $1K event entry, $900 for expenses, three nights at the Atlantis, a $250 spa voucher, and participation in the High Heels Poker Tour Academy).
Sixteen women cashed in the event, with Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Rousso taking home the top prize of $24,725. Second place went to Halli Pinson with a cash of $13,815.
Ms. Pinson was impressed with the competition in the event and noted: "This event was a lot more serious than most ladies tournaments. I didn't recognize that many faces, but the field seemed a lot more experienced than usual."
With a field that included Annette Obrestad (WSOP Europe Main Event Champion 2007), European Poker Tour (EPT) London Ladies champion, Dagmara Aleksandrowicz, and other pros such as J.J. Liu, Shirley Rosario (who placed fourth), and Team PokerStars Pros Katja Thater, Veronica Dabul, Sandra Naujoks, and Maria Mayrinck, Ms. Pinson's observation proves to be absolutely correct.
Then, to wrap things up for the ladies, a $300 freezeout tournament was held on Sunday, January 10, with 73 entrants and a prize pool of $19,119. Diana Linke took home the top prize of $6,504 in that tournament.
There were good showings in the other side events, too. Team PokerStars Pro Katja Thater won the $1,000 8-Game event collecting $10,475 - and she also came seventh in the $1,000 Pot Limit Omaha six-max for another $3,940.
So what does all of this mean? Several things are pretty obvious when you look at the statistics for the Main Event presented above:
1) Participation by women in the event is much too low. Women need to know that the numbers prove they are very good at this game
2) Women are just as successful as men when they play in the event. They just need to play more satellites to get in, find a sponsor, or pony up $10,000. When women understand that their ROI is high enough to justify the expense, they will start playing more
3) More representation from other continents is needed. Let's see more women from around the globe compete in this great event for a huge prize purse in a competition that is truly on a level playing field with men
4) And finally -- Vicky Coren and Kathy Liebert are amazing! Stay away from their tables if you can manage it!
And what does it mean for men? The answer is simple:
Get ready. The women are coming.