Nearly Half of Women Poker Players Have Felt Intimidated, Study Finds

A survey has found that many women still feel that poker is a male-dominated activity.

It’s no secret that the poker world has historically been a boys’ club, and a new study takes a look at how women who play the game feel on the felt. Even though poker is becoming more inclusive, a survey by 888 Holdings has found that women feel intimidated when taking part and feel that their gender puts them at a disadvantage.

2000 Women Participated

There was a considerable sample size for this study, with 2000 women answering the survey. 44% of those surveyed had played poker before, with 7% currently playing. Over half of respondents had never played poker previously.

Of those who had played poker, 81% stated that they enjoy playing the game and 34% play at least once a month while 16% play once a week.

Balance Between Genders in the Poker World

56% of the women surveyed stated that they feel as though they are at a disadvantage due to their gender. 42% reported that between 1% and 10% of the players at their table are usually women – which says a lot about how few women play poker.

Feelings at the Poker Table

An important part of the survey asked participants to describe their experiences playing poker. The responses were very interesting. While many respondents had very positive things to say about their experience at the poker table, there were many negative responses. When playing poker, the respondents expressed the following sentiments:

  • Exciting: 44%
  • Positive: 31%
  • Thrilling: 25%
  • Exhilarating: 16%
  • Intimidating: 16%
  • Frustrating: 14%
  • Scary: 12%
  • Disappointing: 8%
  • Annoying: 7%
  • Unwelcoming: 7%
  • Other way: 2%
  • No way in particular / don’t know: 11%

Nearly a third of respondents agree that they feel less inclined to play poker because they’re women while 9% strongly agree. Another 32% disagree that they are less inclined to feel poker due to their gender while 15% strongly disagree with this.

Comfort and Intimidation

When asked about whether or not they have felt intimidated by a member of the opposite sex while playing poker, 45% stated that they have. 15% said that it happened many times while 30% said that this was the case just one or twice.

Of those who noted that they had been intimidated at the poker table, 83% stated that they are put off from playing if the men outnumber the women. 47% of all respondents agree that casinos are intimidating places for women.

The areas in which women feel the most comfortable playing poker area:

  • At home (27%)
  • At friend’s house (22%)
  • Online (8%)
  • At a casino (5%)

Poker Continues to be a Male-Dominated Game

Even though there are many more women playing poker than there were a decade ago, it is still very much a male-dominated activity. In fact, 68% of women agree with this statement with 40% agreeing that they are less inclined to visit male-dominated places.

When they are in male-dominated environments, the women polled stated that they experienced the following intimidating behaviours:

  • Sexist behaviour
  • Verbal aggression
  • Loud behaviour

Still, there was a quarter of respondents that haven’t experienced negative behaviour in male-oriented settings. They stated that they don’t feel any places are male oriented in negative way.

What Does This Mean for the Game of Poker?

The poker world is seeing many more women enjoying the game in both casual and professional capacities. However, we still have a long way to go before the poker world is a completely inclusive space.

There needs to be a shift in attitudes towards women who play poker, as there is a persisting stigma that they simply aren’t as good as men – which is not true in the slightest. In order to reduce the negative feelings that many women experience when playing poker, a change of perception is required.

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