Not all poker players have beards and smell bad

The image that people have of the average poker player is far from the reality. I did a little test. I walked around asking people how they think the average poker player looks. I received the funniest answers.

"A poker player definitely has a cowboy hat on."

"Poker players have beards and wear crazy glasses."

"Poker players chew tobacco and drink beer." (Ok, the beer drinking part is true for most German players.)

"A poker player has no social life and probably never showers."

Except receiving really cliché answers, I noticed that no one said "she." None of them mentioned the fact that a poker player might also be a woman. It is a fact that poker-playing women are still not completely implanted in the brains of the people who don't play poker. In the poker circuit, such as the PokerStars.be European Poker Tour, women are still very rare. Only less than 10 percent of the players are women. Yes, that is indeed a low number. But when I compare it to the number of women in the field a few years ago, I need to confess that it has increased.

It's still a complex case. Why are there fewer women in poker tournaments than men? Poker is a sport, for sure, but the only muscles you use are your brains cells. You don't need an overload of testosterone to be good at poker. You also don't need gigantic arm muscles to riffle your chips. All you need is a lot of patience (especially when you start playing as a novice player) and love for the game.

When you have those two things, you can start learning to be good at poker. It took years before I could stay calm at a table and not being impressed by those men trying to steal my blinds. But after months and months of practicing (with a lot of tears, believe me), I can now proudly say that I deserve my place in the Belgian women's poker scene. Not because I'm any "good" but because I love this game and want to improve every day by playing online women's tournaments on PokerStars.be.

Gaelle Diaz - poker table.jpg

Every Tuesday and Sunday you can play online in two of the best women's events. On Tuesday, there is an $11 buy-in tournament, and on Sunday (the big one!), it is a $55 buy-in event. Of course, you can qualify online for both. So if you started playing poker recently and want to take it cautiously, you can try to win a seat by playing satellites for those two women's events.

I've been playing poker for a few years now, but it is only this year that I have tried to play as much as I can. I played a few weeks ago in the Women's Tuesday and reached the final table. Unfortunately I busted on a really sour bad beat. But it was still amazing to see that more than 130 women played the tournament. And even more amazing was that I wasn't the only Belgian girl at the final table. Magia Vandamme (online and cash game player, girlfriend of Kevin Derwael, 2010 EPT Londen £1K PLH champion) was on my right, and two other Belgian girls were also at the table. And finally, it was one of the Belgians who won the event.

Grab your chance and show the world you are as good as any men at the poker tables. Hopefully, one day, we might share a final table together in of one of the women's tournaments. Let's meet on Pokerstars.be!

Gaëlle Garcia Diaz
@PokerStars in PS Women