Female poker pros such as Amanda Musumeci, Vanessa Selbst, Jackie Glazier and Cherish Andrews have been on a tear that has seen them win hundreds of thousands of dollars so far this summer.
Through 47 events the sheer numbers for female players are startling:
- Eleven top-nine finishes in separate events
- $1.7 million earned in those 11 top-nine finishes alone
- Three runner-up finishes (Patricia Baker, Amanda Musumeci and Jackie Glazier)
- One bracelet victory (Allyn Jaffrey Shulman in the Seniors Event)
It’s a striking contrast to last year where female players made a total of five final tables to collect a total of $919,836.
Perhaps the only thing female players have yet to accomplish this summer is win an outright open bracelet event (Shulman won the closed Seniors event).
It would be easy to chalk the success up to more female participation but so far that doesn’t appear to be the case.
Last year the first 15 events averaged 3.77% female participation while this year that number was down to 3.35%.
So why have females had so much success at the 2012 WSOP? It’s tough to say as there are a wide variety of arguments from the female side.
Why Female Players are Succeeding at Male-Dominated WSOP
Cherish Andrews, who finished fourth in Event 31 for $210k, believes the stereotype that female players are somehow less skilled than their male counterparts is rapidly changing.
“When you’re a girl and you sit down at a poker table, the first thing that comes to anyone’s mind is that you’re bad,” she said.
“That’s just it. I mean that’s the first that comes to my mind when a girl sits down. Well it used to be.”
Andrews went on to say that these days many males are underestimating female players and it’s giving skilled women ways to pick up a few extra chips.
“They’re trying to bluff them in spots where they shouldn’t be and the women are winning,” she said. “That’s at least one of the reasons I feel I do well.”
Andrews is yet another up-and-coming female poker pro that seems unphased by frequently being the only female player at the table.
Amanda Musumeci, Xuan Liu and Melanie Weisner also fit very well in that category.
Shulman, who broke the streak of 249 consecutive male winners in non-ladies events by winning the Seniors Event this year, thinks it’s similar to what’s happened in the business world.
“As the years go by women become more and more comfortable in all fields,” she said.
“When I was getting started in law there weren’t many female lawyers. Women have broken through and pretty soon it will be all even in poker.”
According to young Swedish PKR Poker pro Sofia Lovgren it’s also important for females to have players they can look up to.
“I think seeing other female players succeed, such as making a deep run or winning a bracelet, will make even more female players want to play,” she said.
It also helps the female community appears tighter-knit than ever with close bonds between many of the top female pros.
This year Vanessa Rousso, Liv Boeree, Vanessa Selbst and Maria Ho all shared a house for the summer and, as a group, have already cashed for over $250,000.
Could Female Players Just Be Getting Lucky?
On the other hand Annette Obrestad, who is the biggest female winner in WSOP history thanks mostly to the $2 million she scored by winning the 2007 WSOPE Main Event, isn't sure if this year truly represents a change in the male-dominated poker word.
“I’m pretty sure it’s just random,” said the young Norwegian. “I don’t really know but it seems like it has to be.
"I mean I guess female players have gotten better over the last couple years. There’s just so much variance though. I think that’s what it is.”
Whatever it is, Obrestad is off to her best start at the WSOP in Las Vegas with a top-eight finish in the $3k PLO/Hold’em Heads-up event and over $30,000 in earnings.
Surprisingly, despite the massive achievements at the 2012 WSOP, the flagship female event – the $1,000 Ladies Event – took a slight hit this year as its down from the 1,055 it drew last year to 936 in 2012.
It could be the Ladies event simply has less appeal to female players who have already won millions playing in open events with the men.
For all the action from the WSOP in Las Vegas click through to our 2012 World Series of Poker Live Coverage section, brought to you by 888poker.com.