Rebecca McAdam-Willetts is a “working mum who does stuff to promote poker”. She’s also a poker player, writer, enthusiast, Gender and Diversity advocate, and Associate Director of Group Public Relations for The Stars Group. On International Women’s Day she writes how poker welcomes any player, regardless of their gender, age or race. And that the answer to the question “Can I play?” should be an obvious one…
This isn’t a question reserved for women. We’ve likely all asked it at some point in our lives.
I know I have. When I was a kid, maybe more so, totally open to being vulnerable. When we’re older, we may think it, but we hold it in.
Anyone can feel they’re the minority in a room. Maybe we don’t know most people in it, or imagine others know more than us. Maybe we just don’t look like the majority. But we hold it in, put on our “game face”, carve out a spot and progress.
The same as you. I’m not here because someone brought me along or because I think I can have an easy or quick impact because I’m different. I’m not here because anyone else got me here.
I want to be here. I’m here because I’m passionate and I work hard. I’m here to challenge myself and have fun. Don’t give me your chips or worry about giving me your chips. Don’t tell me what you think I want to hear or tell others why you think I’m here and what I’m like. Would I presume to know the same about you?
What brings me here?
The same thing as you. Now, what do you have behind?
Maybe I am. Maybe I have nothing. But if you’re thinking hard about it, then my move is likely a good one.
Maybe I’m not. Maybe I’m hoping you’re going to underestimate me or make quick judgments based on what you see. To make assumptions is to block yourself from gathering enough true information to play to your own real strengths and my real weaknesses.
Underestimate me. Overestimate me. I can work with both. However, doing so may come at a cost.
My presence doesn’t change anything at the table.
When I take my seat, don’t feel like you have to change your behaviour. If you don’t like to talk to people, you don’t have to talk to me. If you’re not used to playing with people like me, that’s OK too.
You don’t have to show me how to play or what you would have done differently. I don’t require extra effort or less effort, or special tools. I just want to play.
So be yourself.
And in my own personal experience? Please don’t highlight there’s a “lady in the room” or “at the table”. Or mind your Ps and Qs. I want nothing to change. I just want to play. And I thank all the people I’ve met along the way who made that an awesome experience.
You’re the reason I keep coming back.
It’s International Women’s Day but this is not just about women.
This is about inclusion and the things in life that are on even ground (or should be).
No matter who you are or what you look like, your age, race, or even your level of ability, in poker anyone can take part. And the more, the merrier.
We all want this game to survive and grow, and so we have a duty of care to one another. We need to make sure that the environment we create is one that people of all walks of life feel comfortable enough to have a good time in.
And we need to make sure this works from the inside out. No one is here purely to promote, to entertain or present trophies. We’re here to play poker. We’re here to learn and have fun. We’re here to win.
The answer is, yes. Welcome. Take a seat.
On International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating the women who have been representing and advocating for our beautiful game.
If you’re a woman and you would like to try your own hand at winning a Platinum Pass, then today is your day! There’s a $30,000 Platinum Pass to the PSPC up for grabs in today’s Sunday Women’s tournament.
If you’d like to nominate a woman you know for an incredible prize and adventure, you can with our global nomination giveaway.
There are many, many other ways to win a Platinum Pass for everyone to take part in too.
Although it’s International Women’s Day, we don’t need a day to celebrate women. We really just need for everyone to be accepted at all kinds of tables the world over, no matter who you are, every day.
Anything we can do to move towards that will ensure we all have a truly good game.