PokerStars and PokerPower have been unrelenting in their initiative to try and stir up female interest in poker.

Female Poker Stars

Female Poker Stars

Following the success of their inaugural Women’s Bootcamp last year, which spanned over four weeks, PokerStars and PokerPower have teamed up once again to bridge the gender gap in the game. 

This year, the emphasis of the boot camp was more upon tournament play, and after eight weeks of intense training, the 40 participants faced off in a 2 x 20-player competition, with the top 5 from each section earning a spot in the boot camp showdown in Cyprus.

The boot camp’s 10 successful women took part in the event at the Merit Royal Diamond Hotel in Karavas, and no expense was spared with a jam-packed itinerary that included a jeep safari trip as well as player parties. Moreover, flights, transfers, accommodation and meals were included.

It is thought that 244 rookies put their names down to sign up, and hopefuls had to outline reasons as to why they thought they would be suitable candidates. Indeed, the programme was designed to appeal to women who were interested in learning more about the game but had no previous poker-playing experience.

One participant named Kat wanted to make the most of her opportunity and she finished sixth in the Cyprus showdown. She admitted that PokerStars were very encouraging throughout the event and that now she has a taste for the game, she wants to continue and gain more tournament exposure.

She said: “I had the best time playing in the final showdown of the tournament. My heart was racing the whole time, but I loved the excitement. 

“It might still be a while until I’m playing cash games but I love playing with money on the PokerStars app!

“But I am eager to continue my poker journey and play in more face-to-face tournaments in the future. Big congratulations to our winner Louise, I know you’ll do us proud in Prague.”

Nevertheless, the carrot that was dangled out for the winner was a trip to Prague to take part in the prestigious EPT Prague Main Event. Former maths teacher Louise Ulrick, who now runs her own company teaching others to buy and sell software licenses, came out on top in Cyprus, punching her ticket to Prague in the process.

Sparking the poker revolution

The female poker revolution has been a long time in coming, although there are a few players who lit the touchpaper and paved the way for others to follow. This includes Vanessa Selbst, who accrued more than £10million from live poker events and Annie Duke, who is best known for seeing off poker legend Phil Hellmuth to claim the WSOP Tournament of Champions title.

Poker teaches core life skills, such as problem solving and applying strategy to escape from sticky situations as well as putting your opponent on the backfoot by bluffing them before a certain stage of the game, such as the river.

Aside from that, poker is an intrinsically exciting game to play, and there is a phalanx of real money operators to hone your skills. This includes formidable online casinos such as Hot Streak Casino. A glance at this Hot Streak Casino review and you will see a variety of different titles available, including Three Card poker, that are highly immersive and will keep gamblers engaged. 

For PokerStars and PokerPower, the main intention is to attract more female interest in the game, although recent market research carried out claims that 55% of the women interviewed believe that poker isn’t as inclusive as it should be.

But Ulrick, who will be heading to EPT Prague in December, is a convert, judging by her comments.

She said: “Anybody who is thinking about learning poker, it’s such a good game to play.

“You can learn so much about yourself. There are online resources that are great to have a go.”

With some female players, the mathematical side of poker can be hugely appealing. And as Ulrick points out, with a greater range of resources widely available online, the entry point for poker may not be as daunting as it once was.

Initiatives carried out by PokerStars and PokerPower such as the boot camp, are just the start of the nascent poker journey female players will make, and it will be fascinating to see how things pan out in the years to come.