[LL] “Wasn’t there an induction into the Women in Poker Hall of Fame last year around this time of year?” Leroy the Lion wondered. “I haven’t heard anything about this year’s inductees at all.”
[SS] “I was thinking the same thing”, Stan the Stat responded. “So I went to the web site, but there’s no new news since before the 2014 ceremony.”
[LL] “Uh oh, that doesn’t sound promising.”
[SS] “Yeah, that worried me. There are only two women1 in the other Poker Hall of Fame, so it’s definitely good for poker to have more women honored for their play or work behind the scenes. I emailed the contact2 for the web site, but it bounced.”
[SS] “Fortunately, they also listed the Board Chair, Lupe Soto, and she responded!”
[SS] “The bad news is that there won’t be an induction ceremony in 2015. The good news is that they’ve been on an every-other-year schedule since 2012 and are already thinking about 2016.”
[LL] “Good to hear. Who do you think should get in next?”
[SS] “Well, for starters, here’s who’s already in:”
Women in Poker Hall of Fame Inductees
|Year||Inductee||Claim to Fame|
|2008||Barbara Enright||Only woman to reach the WSOP Main Event final table (5th place in 1995); won WSOP Ladies Championship 1986 and 1994|
|2008||Susie Isaacs||Won consecutive WSOP Ladies Championships (1996-97); 10th in 1998 WSOP Main Event|
|2008||Linda Johnson||Won the 1997 WSOP $1,500 Seven-Card Razz event|
|2008||Marsha Waggoner||Over $900,000 in career tournament winnings; Last Woman Standing in the WSOP Main Event in 1993 and 1997|
|2009||Jan Fisher||Co-founder of the Tournament Directors Association|
|2009||Cyndy Violette||Won 2004 WSOP $2,000 Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split tournament|
|2009||June Field||Won 1982 WSOP Ladies Seven-Card Stud; founded Card Player magazine in 1988|
|2010||Jennifer Harman||Won 2000 WSOP $5,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven Draw and 2002 WSOP $5,000 Limit Hold ‘Em events|
|2010||Kathy Liebert||Won 2004 WSOP $1,500 Limit Hold’em Shootout; over $6,000,000 in career winnings|
|2010||Billie Brown||Marketing Director of Ocean’s Eleven Casino in Oceanside, California|
|2011||Margie Heintz||First female WSOP dealer in 1977, including the Main Event final table that aired on CBS|
|2011||Kristy Gazes||Won 2007 WPT Ladies Invitational and $20k NLHE FullTiltPoker.Net Championship|
|2011||Phyllis Caro||Director of Poker Operations at the Hollywood Park Casino|
|2012||Kathy Raymond||Director of Poker Operations at the Venetian Resort and Hotel|
|2012||J.J. Liu||2nd place in 2007 WPT Bay 101 $9,600 Championship Event (highest female WPT Main Event finish)|
|2014||Deborah Giardina||Vice President of Poker Operations at bestbet Jacksonville in Florida|
|2014||Allyn Shulman||Won 2012 WSOP $1,000 No Limit Hold ‘Em Seniors Championship|
|2016||Victoria Coren Mitchell3||First player to win two European Poker Tour titles|
|2016||Debbie Burkhead3||Wrote the “Debbie Does Poker” column in Poker Player Newspaper for over a decade; has won ten tournaments in Hold ‘Em, 7-Card Stud, and H.O.R.S.E. since 1996|
|2018||Maria Ho3||Last Woman Standing in the World Series of Poker Main Event in both 2007 and 2014. Five WSOP final tables.|
|2018||Lupe Soto3||Avocate for women in poker; helped found WiPHoF in 2008; CEO of Senior Poker Tour; Founder & Executive Director of Women’s Poker Association.|
[LL] “A little heavy on non-players, I’d say. I’m a huge fan of poker, and I’ve never heard of a bunch of them.”
[SS] “Same here.”
[LL] “So, a couple players for 2016 would make sense… Vanessa Selbst is an obvious choice. She’s the only woman to win three WSOP bracelets in open events.”
[SS] “Although I think she’ll just qualify for ‘ten years’ in the poker world, she won’t reach the age minimum of 35 until 2019 or 2020, depending on when the inductions are.
Nani Dollison, the other female with three bracelets, albeit two in women’s events, wouldn’t be a bad choice either, but outside of those three bracelets, her resume is pretty empty.”
[LL] “How about the EPT star you told us about, Victoria Coren Mitchell?”
[SS] “Sure, the only player, male or female, to win two EPT Main Events certainly has the credentials. Besides her great results at the table, she had a long-running poker column in The Guardian and The Observer and is a commentator on TV.”
[LL] “I’d also nominate Annie Duke. As polarizing a figure as she is, she’s certainly left a mark on the game.”
[SS] “Sure, an NBC Heads-Up title, the interesting but ill-fated Epic Poker League, Last Woman Standing in the WSOP Main Event twice,…”
[LL] “And I’m sure she helped popularize poker with her provocative appearance on Donald Trump’s The Apprentice.
[SS] “I think Coren Mitchell and Duke would be great additions, but I don’t know if either of them passes the ‘must be a proponent of women in poker’ test. Duke once said, ‘Poker is one of the only sports where a woman can compete on totally equal footing with a man, so I don’t understand why there’s a ladies-only tournament.'”4
[LL] “I don’t know if that makes her a ‘proponent’ or not.”
[SS] “Her 2005 book, How I Raised, Folded, Bluffed, Flirted, Cursed and Won Millions has worse, like, ‘To emphasize your femininity, giggle girlishly when you win pots. Check-raise them at every opportunity. Show them your bluffs. They already don’t like you. Why not completely piss them off?… It worked for me.'”
[LL] “Okay, that may not help her cause much.”
[SS] “On the other hand, Duke trumpets herself as a Trailblazer for Women in Poker on her web site, saying all the right things.”
[LL] “Such as?”
[SS] “‘I truly believe that we have a responsibility as women who have successfully found their place in this game to mentor young women. To provide them with the same confidence and belief that your intellect is your greatest weapon that my mother gave to me.'”
[LL] “That’s exactly what the committee wants to hear.
What about Coren Mitchell?”
[SS] “She’s probably in better shape on this condition. She’s said stuff like, ‘Stuart Wheeler says women are no good at poker?! If he fancies playing a bit of heads up, he knows where to find me.'”5
and ‘A big part of winning at poker is psychology and detective work – things that women tend to be quite good at. Why is that person doing this or that? You are looking at someone’s face and working out if they are nervous or confident. You need a good understanding of people.'”6
- Barbara Enright was inducted in 2007 and Linda Johnson in 2011.
- The Women in Poker Hall of Fame website lists firstname.lastname@example.org as the contact email address.
- Coren Mitchell was indeed added to the Women in Poker Hall of Fame in 2016, along with Debbie Burkhead. Maria Ho and Lupe Soto were inducted in 2018.
- From Toby Leah Bochan’s 2005 book, The Badass Girl’s Guide to Poker.
- From an interview in the August 16, 2013 Evening Standard.
- From an interview in The Jewish Chronicle Online, September 17, 2009.