Lexy Gavin

How to play poker - a woman’s perspective

I’ve been a professional poker player for over a decade, and as a woman in a male dominated sport, I have experienced first hand what it’s like to be the minority gender. 

To know how to play poker and make it as a woman in this male dominated game, you have to have thick skin. It’s not only about memorizing poker hands and knowing the odds. It’s about understanding how to “play your image”. There are some disadvantages to being a female in poker, but if you learn these simple techniques, you can dominate the game, make money online or in a casino, and win more money than you ever thought was possible! 

What are the advantages of being a woman in poker? 

From my experience, there are many men that love playing pots with women. I’m not sure if it’s because they want an excuse to flirt with us, or if it’s because they assume we are not as good as them. It is beneficial to be up against this type of player when we have a good poker hand that we want to get value from (aka win more money). If we raise a hand like pocket aces and our opponent is the guy who just loves playing in pots with us, we get to win more money by betting bigger because he is going to be calling our bet with a wide variety of hands. 

On the other hand, I have met many men who dislike playing against women at the poker table. This can be beneficial because if we happen to win a pot off of them, they may go on “tilt” which is just a fancy poker term meaning they get emotional and frustrated. When this happens, the player is thrown off of their game and they start playing many bad poker hands and make very poor bets and decisions. This gives us the opportunity to win more money off of their emotions. 

Another advantage to being a woman in poker is the comradery we share. We are all aware that we are the minority gender trying to battle it out on the felt in a game that is 95% men, and from my experience, us females really stick together. The majority of the women I have met in poker are strong, independent, competitive women. It’s nice to have that support amongst each other when we are playing such an emotional and physical taxing game. I have made some amazing female friends in poker, and I feel lucky to be a part of this wonderful community. 

So, what are the disadvantages of being a woman in poker? 

Unfortunately, there are some difficulties we face in this game as well. I have come across men who simply don’t think we belong at the poker table and who are not afraid to tell us. I have been called names, had poker cards thrown at me, been teased, and so much more. It is important to not let this affect our game, and to try and understand that they are trying to throw us off our game. 

Another disadvantage to being a woman in poker (or any male dominated field) is that you are going to have men try and come on to you. Now, some women may consider this to be an advantage because who doesn’t love to be flirted with, right? Well, when you’re playing a game that requires your utmost attention and emotional control, having pickup lines thrown at you in all directions can be somewhat of a distraction. And not to mention, men can be pretty crude at the table sometimes, so you should definitely prepare yourselves for some locker room talk. 

How can you use being a female to your advantage? 

It is important to understand how to utilize your image as a woman. The typical stereotype for female poker players is that we are “tight” or in other words, we don’t play that many hands. So we can capitalize on this by stepping up our aggression and re-raising our opponents more. By doing this, they will assume we have a premium or a very strong hand, and therefore we can get away with more bluffs. If a man thinks we are tight, then he may also try bluffing us a lot more. In this type of situation, we will be able to catch his bluffs because it is unlikely he has the strong hand that he is projecting. He assumes we will only call his bet if we have a very top hand so we will be able to exploit this thought process and increase our hourly rate. 

On the opposite spectrum, there are also men who think that women are bluffing the majority of the time. So we have to be aware of the necessary adjustments we should be making when we are in a hand with a guy who thinks this way. Against this type of player, we probably don’t want to be bluffing them too much because they will call our bluff quite frequently. However, if we have a made hand like a flush or a straight, we can bet very large. Our male opponent will likely call us because he assumes we are bluff machines, ultimately allowing us to win more money. 

So for the ladies out there reading this, it can be very profitable to be a woman in the male dominated game of poker. Don’t let the negatives affect your decision to play. Remember, it is very important to understand your image and how you are perceived at the table. Once you figure out what type of player you are up against and how they are labeling you, figure out how to make the necessary adjustments to your strategy and then plan your attack! 

Poker is an amazing sport that can be very profitable. You should be very proud to be one of the few women in this male dominated game. It is empowering to compete as the minority in such an incredible game. Let’s come together as a community to encourage and inspire more women to play. Now go out there and show them what we are capable of! Best of luck to you all on the felt! 

Lexy Gavin