While poker has long been a tremendously popular game that spans all ages of men, the representation from women has always been rather small. Year after year, female participation at the World Series of Poker – the preeminent poker event in the world – hovers around the 3% mark. With that in mind, a new organization called the Women’s Poker Association has been founded to increase female involvement in the game.

Organized to “promote and develop the advancement of women in poker,” the WPA announced earlier this week that they were open for business in Reno, NV. The announcement of the new organization’s launch party was held during the Nevada State Ladies’ Championship at the Peppermill Resort Spa and Casino, with its Board of Directors named and its founder revealed. Several of the names involved with the new Women’s Poker Association have long been at the forefront of the women’s poker movement in the 2000s and before.

WPA Founder Lupe Soto, also nominated earlier this month for induction into the Women in Poker Hall of Fame, will have an excellent Board of Directors to assist her in the organization’s goals. The following women will take their seats on the Board, with the appropriate office indicated where applicable:

President Bonnie Carl
Vice President Ruth Hall
Treasurer Lori Greer Smith
Secretary Jana Von Dach
Board Member Peggy Carlson
Board Member Terry Constantino

The organization has a simple credo, a group created by women who are interested in elevating the poker experience for female players worldwide. The WPA will host educational opportunities and conferences with a focus on skill development for players at all levels in poker, as well as providing networking and social opportunities for women in the game. Perhaps most importantly, the WPA is a non-profit organization, with its leadership is an all-volunteer affair.

Although the group looks to have an excellent start, the roadways of the poker world are littered with the debris of several acronym-based organizations that had the best of intentions but could not motivate the players.

Most recently the downfall of the Poker Players Alliance has been well documented. Without the financial boost from the online poker industry – which was basically the ONLY financial support the organization received because they did not push for membership fees – the Poker Players Alliance currently is lying in dormancy, unable to raise even $25,000 from said membership to continue to operate on a shoestring basis. Without that money, their longtime Executive Director John Pappas was forced to resign and former Vice President for Player Relations Rich Muny oversees an organization that may exist in name only.

If you think the Poker Players Alliance is the only group to have suffered from the inattention of poker players, then you might have forgotten about the World Poker Association, the United States Poker Association, the International Federation of Poker (technically still in existence), the International Poker Federation (FIDPA, also supposedly still active) and a few others that have popped up in the past ten to fifteen years. All have purported to have wanted to be the “organizing body” for the world of poker and, for the most part, all have been unable to reach that pinnacle.

What could be the saving grace of the Women’s Poker Association is that they are starting with a group that is highly underrepresented in the poker community. Although some poker sites have tried to cater to women, for the most part it is still a “man’s game” in its advertising stance and presentation, among other things. The purpose of the “Royal Flush Girls” for the World Poker Tour hasn’t exactly moved the drive for women in the game forward, nor has some of the treatment of female players that still exists at the tables or the way the top female players in the game are spoken about by male players.

The Women’s Poker Association is in its infancy, so there will be plenty of time for it to prove itself. If you would like to volunteer to assist the organization or possibly join as a member of the group, you can visit the WPA website here.

One Comment

  1. John says:

    Author and poker player Sia Layta believes gender based games and awards are sexist. She talks quite a bit about this issue in her book BLACK WIDOW Poker. I tend to agree.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *