At least in theory, poker is a game of fair chance where men and women alike are just as likely to emerge victorious, because no gender has an obvious edge over the other. Even so, women are underrepresented and UK Independence Party’s Stuart Wheeler was quick to make a connection between what statistics tell us and women’s ability to play poker. He extended his remarks over other games of skill, such as bridge or chess and as expected, his comments were quickly challenged.
These remarks were made at a convention debating the importance of having women promoted in larger numbers in various industries. Following Stuart Wheeler’s comments on how women got nowhere in games such as bridge, poker or chess, an opposing speaker dismissed him as sexist and disingenuous. The idea that there are some areas of expertise where women are inferior to men was bound to create turmoil, but somehow the Treasurer of the UK Independence Party didn’t expect that reaction.
He claimed that we should accept the fact that there are some activities at which women are less qualified than man, and as a result it is only natural for them to be underrepresented. Among his most vocal detractors was Clare Gerarda who serves as the chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners. She invoked her mother, who apparently is a great bridge player and 83 years old to point out that Mr. Wheeler’s remarks are far from true.
He used that comparison to prove that corporate boards shouldn’t promote more women just for gender variety, because he considers men to be more suitable for the job. Although there were no professional poker players at the debate to challenge the treasurer, over the Internet there are many who are convinced that he was wrong in making those comments. These poker players have several examples and among them Jennifer Harman, Annette Obrestad and Vanessa Selbst are frequently mentioned.
These poker players achieve remarkable results in both online and live poker tournaments and what’s more important, prove to be equal to their male opponents. They only represent the tip of the iceberg and even though there are more men poker players, the number of women who joined their ranks is on the rise. At the current edition of World Series of Poker, Dana Castaneda and Loni Harwood while other female competitors came painfully close to securing a place at the final table of the Main Event.