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Today in the 3-Bet we find a rising tide for women in eSports, Brandon Shack-Harris finds his inner bear and a (possible) Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan sighting in Montenegro.
1) Not a Pejorative
It's fitting that on the day the 2016 WSOP Ladies Championship begins iQ.intel.co.uk published a great piece on the rise of female players (and teams) in eSports.
As poker pro Xuan Liu tweeted, there are a lot of parallels between women in poker and women in eSports.
Both are very male-heavy industries, both struggle with perpetual sexism and harassment and both, as two-time bracelet winner Kristen Bicknell confirmed, are still fighting the lingering, thoughtless trope that "playing like a girl" is a thing.
As we've seen repeatedly from Vanessa Selbst, Maria Ho, Liv Boeree and more - and back-to-back bracelets in open events from female players this week - there's no skill gap between men and women in poker; there's just a disparity in volume.
And, as the piece above explains, the best way to change that disparity is to create a better environment:
“If someone is interested, shows up at an event, sees nobody that looks like them and doesn’t feel welcomed by those who are there, they’re usually going to find something else to do,” said Lee Machen, director of developer relations at Intel.
"Women-only tournaments can create supportive environments, giving pros much needed visibility and showcasing their dedication to the competition.
"When asked to recall the moment they became serious about competing, many professional women gamers point to playing with other girls in esports. (Matilde “Mattye”) Wiik joined her first all-women team in 2013. She said connecting with other women players helped her see how girls could compete and win.
“'That really inspired me to keep playing, to keep trying to get better and go to more tournaments,' Wiik said"
Definitely take a few minutes to read the piece and to check out the updates from the Ladies Championship at WSOP.com.
2) On That Polar Bear Grind
We originally thought Brandon Shack-Harris's choice of attire at the Rio this week was a reflection of the sub-zero temperatures, but apparently we were wrong:
@PokerListings contrary to popular belief this is not a cold Rio protest. I'm from WI ffs!— Brandon Shack-Harris (@Oscillator_WSOP) July 6, 2016
We're still not exactly sure why he was sporting the polar bear garb (prop bet? concern for climate change?) but, whatever the reason, it worked.
After winning the $10k PLO championship for almost $900k a week ago, Shack-Harris sported the PB hoodie all the way to second in the $1,500 Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo event last night.
The WSOP might need to consider stocking it in the gift shop for all the copycats looking for some run-good.
3) Ivey and Dwan in Montenegro?
One of the lingering stories over the course of this summer has, of course, been the whereabouts of Phil Ivey.
Even the Humphreys wondering where Phil is.
It was only a couple of years ago Ivey was multi-tabling any event he could to win some massive bracelet bets, and now he's nowhere to be seen at poker's marquee event.
Tom Dwan? He was less expected to show but poker fans were still holding out hope he might pop in for an event or two.
That hasn't happened.
Will one or both show for the Main Event? We have to believe Ivey will make his way back although the latest rumor, provided by grinder Patrick Leonard on the 2+2 forum, is they're busy making bank at a casino in Montenegro:
Re: Tom Dwan - the missing man
currently in montenegro at casino that Yong owns. Ivey et al there too.
A complete troll? Maybe. But it's an awesome one, given the Casino Splendido in Montenegro was the imaginary setting for James Bond's epic showdown with Le Chiffre in Casino Royale.