Chicks with decks: The female lived experience in poker

Abstract

Though poker does not inherently discriminate between men and women, the proportion of men in the game is much higher than that of women. The authors describe the female lived experience in poker, including interactional barriers to participation from the moment they step foot in the door, to individual decisions at the table, and through to the time they depart. In-depth qualitative interviews with 13 recreational and professional poker players are used to explore these issues. Strategies women use to overcome the potentially uncomfortable and intimidating environment to persist in poker play are also explored, such as community-building through women-only poker games and adapting to and forming aggressive play strategies. It is suggested that poker be distinguished as a unique example of gender differences in gambling, a complex group interaction that goes beyond the current theory on gendered gambling preferences.

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