Liv Boeree, you might know her. She’s one of the key members of Team PokerStars Pro. She doubles down as a presenter on the UKIPT TV shows, is one of the most Googled poker players around and and in another world she could have been a physicist. Boeree knows her poker and is one of three female EPT champions (alongside Victoria Coren and Sandra Naujoks) helping her on her way to racking up $2,235,350 in live tournament cashes.
We caught up with Boeree this afternoon during the ladies event, a well-run €330 No-Limit Holdem event, to ask what behind the growth of the game for women. We were up to 75 entries when we spoke, and that number was still rising up past 77. These numbers may not seem huge when put next to an EPT but if you go back a few seasons you’d be more likely to find the event with a much smaller field, perhaps just two tables, and an equally smaller buy-in.
As more women join the game the fields get larger making the prize pool more attractive for thos female players that may have otherwise snubbed the event to some other side event. Now, there’s great value for the pros and grinders as well as a great entry point for recreational players to take a step up.
Boeree didn’t argue that’s a factor in growing numbers but her point – a far more pertinent one than my mere supposition – is that our very own PokerStars Women should get the hat tip.
“I think that the driving force behind (the growth in ladies events) has been the existence of PokerStars Women. Having a dedicated team promoting not only women in the game but women’s events and raising awareness that there are ways into poker,” said Boeree, resplendent in a purple beanie hat which was not inside out as I had thought (the label was on the outside).
“I recognise a lot of these women, I don’t necessarily know them all, but I see them a lot. However they got into poker in the first place, whether it was through a boyfriend or by themselves, these events are a great introduction. I’d like to think that the success of other women in mainstream events raises awareness and that I’ve helped promote it in a way. Selbst winning everything helps, of course!”
It’s a valid point. At the risk of sounding clichéd it’s fair to say that poker is no longer just man’s world and these events are a great stepping stone in. Every EPT festival has a women’s only event and they’re increasingly well subscribed and, thanks to the enormous schedules that are now run at these events, the pro players don’t feel like it’s an either/or decision.
Boeree ended up busting in a flip after jamming 10♥9♥. Being an inspiration to an entire gender doesn’t afford you privileges of fortune, it would seem.
Rick Dacey is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.