History of Poker - History of Women in Poker

The history of women in poker takes us from the 1920s through to the modern day. Female poker players are still a force to be reckoned with.

Poker Alice - A Force to be Reckoned With

While poker has always been known as popular among men, women have also taken a big role in the game. One of the first women to gain a reputation as a serious poker player was Poker Alice. Alice was born in Devonshire, England and moved to Colorado, where she married Frank Duffield, a mining engineer. Duffield showed Alice how to play poker, and she took a liking to the game. After his death, she needed a way to support her family, and turned to card dealing.

Poker Alice became a force to be reckoned with. She gained a serious reputation as a top poker player, and could earn as much as $6,000 on a good poker night, while she dared any newcomers to try to beat her. She did understand the realities of winning big, and in a man's world, so she carried a .38 revolver with her. Alice had become a poker legend by the time she died in 1930. She had also opened the door for other women to become professional poker players.

The Holder of the First Legal Poker License

In the 1920s, three variations of poker, and two other games were the only legal casino games available. In 1931, the first legal casino license was issued to Mayme Stocker, a woman. Mayme earned this noteworthy historic title as first casino license holder because her husband and sons were unable to do so. They all worked for the railroad, and would have been fired on the spot if they were caught gambling. The family earned a place as one of Las Vegas' casino community leaders.

More Women Play Poker as Time Goes By

At the time of the first legal casino in Las Vegas, card playing was still considered illegal in the rest of the United States. Poker was, however, played in secret by card lovers all over the US. Poker has definitely come a long way from the time of Prohibition, a time when the Mafia used to run secret poker games, and players had to watch their backs carefully.

More and more women began to join in poker games on a social, and also a professional level. Although women are still outnumbered by men when it comes to professional poker playing, it has been noticeable that their numbers have continued to increase. Women may or may not see a time when they will be equally represented at the poker table, but they have certainly been known, now and in the past, to dominate the tables they do play at.

Even though women can beat men at poker as well as, and better, than many men, they have not quite reached the same status as male poker players in the poker peer group. The image of women in the poker world has not been fully accepted by many.

In more recent poker history, the following female players have shown their true poker colors at tournaments: Jennifer Harman, Annie Duke, Barbara Enright, Kathy Liebert, Cyndy Violette and Annette Obrestad. Other women certainly have enough shining stars in poker to model their games on.