70-year-old Dave Hughes won a $250 event during the World Poker Tour (WPT) Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown for $5,555. That’s great, right? Unfortunately, it’s really not. The tournament was the Ladies No-Limit Hold’em event and Mr. Hughes is certainly no lady.
Fortunately, it feels like men entering women’s events does not happen as often as it used to, but it obviously still happens and is always frustrating to see. I’ve ranted about it before, but to keep it brief this time, while things have gotten a bit better, poker was and still is a good, old boys club. Women are often made to feel uncomfortable at a table full of testosterone and machismo, so it is nice for them to have a tournament of their own.
Besides, even if women never experienced anything negative when playing against a table full of men, it’s just fun for women to have that one tournament out of an entire series schedule to enjoy the company of other women.
All of the other tournaments are basically men’s events; there is no reason for a man to join a ladies tournament.
At first, it sounds like the women in the tourney took their anger and turned it into silly entertainment, banding together to try to oust him. Here’s Ebony Kenney starting the rallying cry:
Apparently, Hughes even contributed to the bounty on his own head. At least it sounds like things stayed lighthearted at first.
But toward the end, it took a turn and, according to Kelley, Hughes was a poor sport, being disrespectful to the dealer and asking for a refund of the money he pitched in for his bounty:
It is entirely possible that the bounties helped Hughes win, as the other competitors may have been so geared up to knock him out that they made calls with worse holdings than they normally would have. But hey, poker is a strange game. You never know what’s going to happen.
Of course, the natural question one might ask is how was a man able to play in a ladies event in the first place. The answer is simple: Florida law prohibits players from being discriminated against in poker tournaments. You just can’t block someone who is of legal age from playing (aside from, say, if a player is banned from the casino). Thus, as rude as it was, Hughes had every right to play in the tournament.
Nevada has a similar law, but the World Series of Poker got around it several years ago by making the ladies event $10,000 to enter, but women are given a $9,000 discount. Thus, women can buy-in for $1,000, while men have to pay $10,000. One or two men have still entered the WSOP Ladies Event with that buy-in structure in place, but they have…paid for it.