04 DECEMBER 2023
Empowering Women Through Poker: A Journey of Confidence, Skills, and Community
There's nothing more inspiring than witnessing women connect, share their experiences and form a supportive community, even if they've never met before. At PokerStars, we're incredibly honoured to create these environments, sprinkle them with a touch of magic, and watch them flourish. This is the essence of our women's initiatives, as eloquently expressed by Rebecca McAdam Willetts, Director of Partnerships, PR & Consumer Engagement. Rebecca, alongside her team have trailblazed a path, listening, surveying, and responding to women from all over the world, while seeking to match the needs of the female poker community and those who would like to be a part of it.
Rebecca gave us the inside scoop on a trio of efforts recently made to both keep the conversation going and create opportunities for women in, and new, to the game.
Kyna- England NAPT Women's Event Winner
Bringing Women Together in Vegas
The PokerStars North American Poker Tour made its return after 12 years in November, so it was the perfect opportunity to bring women together who we perhaps haven’t seen in some time. I talk to these women virtually as much as I can, so it’s important to sit down face to face and have meaningful discussions, even if we find ourselves repeating ourselves. It’s all about steps in the right direction. I hosted a discussion at Resorts World on the NAPT’s opening day to discuss inclusion and the impact of various activities to date. I was joined by fellow authors and poker players Alex O’Brien, Jennifer Shahade and Maria Konnikova, as well as Poker Power President Erin Lydon. The panel took an in-depth and honest look at the current state of the game for women, as well as celebrating the recent books published by those taking part. Afterwards, the attendees came together to learn or play and win a chance to take part in the women’s event later that day. It was Kyna England who took the first NAPT trophy to be rewarded on American soil in more than a decade with a stellar performance in the women’s event.
Tutorials were also held for female F1 fans who wanted to take part in the PokerStars charity tournaments the following week.
Women in Sports: A Look at Other Male-Dominated Spaces
In Brazil, we brought PokerStars Ambassador, poker and esports player, Lali Tournier together with Palmeiras football star Camilinha to talk about their own experiences, the crossovers and what they could learn from each other. In an intimate session, attended exclusively by some media, the two discussed the growing presence of women in predominantly male arenas, as well as the hope to balance motherhood and their careers. Key moments from this sports swap discussion will be highlighted soon in a video and photos that we will share.
Vegas Panel of the Women In Poker Event
Bootcamp Showdown and a Champion’s Grace
You may have read recently that our bootcamps, conducted in collaboration with Poker Power, were designed to instil confidence, knowledge, and experience in women. With an overwhelming response to our bootcamp this year, we selected 40 participants, and over eight weeks, they gained valuable game-play skills including negotiation, strategic decision-making, and capital allocation, all of which are transferable to real-world scenarios.
Ten exceptional women from the initial group won their way to our European Poker Tour (EPT) in Cyprus for the bootcamp showdown. Louise Ulrick emerged victorious, earning the privilege of representing all the participating women at the upcoming EPT Prague Main Event in December.
In a heart-warming gesture, Louise chose to share her prize with her fellow finalists, enabling as many of them as possible to participate in the women's event instead in Prague. This exemplifies the importance of fostering continuous support for women and activating long-term plans to encourage more women to join, have fun, and feel safe and comfortable in the poker world.
Behind the scenes, we’ve been working on more efforts for later this year, specifically focusing on ensuring our live event experience is of a stellar standard and continues to be a comfortable and open place for anyone taking part.