Is This Allowed? Genderswap at the WSOP1 year ago
A woman, working under the pen name Sia Layta is planning on pulling an interesting stunt while working on her upcoming book, Black Widow Poker. Layta claims that female players at the poker table face bullying and harassment to a much greater degree than men, and that is why the industry has gender disparity issues.
As of now, the highest ranked female is 44th on Hendon’s All Time Money List - Vanessa Selbst has over $11.8 million in live tournament earnings. She’s the only woman in the top 50.
In last year’s WSOP, only one woman won a bracelet outside the all-female Ladies Event, Liv Boeree who took down the $10K tag team championship with her partner Igor Kurganov. As for the Main Event specifically, the event Layta’s planning on infiltrating, no woman has ever won that title yet - although the Norwegian Annette Obrestad did triumph in the first ever WSOP Europe Main Event in 2007.
However, Layta’s theory doesn’t explain why men are dominating in online poker as well, in an environment where the gender of one’s opponents is generally unknown. On HighstakesDB’s “biggest poker winners” list, all top 16 spots are occupied by men.
That is not the only issue with Layta’s premise for her book. According to WSOP rules, “participants may not cover or conceal their facial identity”. This law was introduced after 2008, when well-known poker pro Phil Laak masked himself as an old man. Players who break this rule could be forced to forfeit their $10K buy-in and be disqualified from the event.
The author still intends to follow through with her plan - a spokesperson for her book’s - which will also cover poker strategy, partly - launch argues the aforementioned rule is intended to "prevent players from trying to put a ‘pro’ in their seat - or some other fraudulent move”.
Layta’s unique endeavor is somewhat akin to that of Maria Konnikova’s - the author, who has a PhD in psychology from Columbia University, decided to play high buy-in live tournaments for a year as a research project for her upcoming book on the great game of poker.
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