PokerPages has instituted a new discussion forum for women poker players. It looks as it’s going to be a rich source for discussion and a rich source of article topic ideas for me.
One of the first threads was started by PokerVeteran, an internet poker troll. He basically proclaimed that women belong in the bedroom, not the cardroom.
Of course, as you might expect, a number of posters felt the need to tell him how wrong he was. A couple of them were men. Randy made a very polite post pointing out that PokerVeteran never posted anything with any poker content and calling him an a-hole.
My boss, Mark, made a post claiming, among other things, that women don’t have an advantage at the poker table.
It was Marks post that inspired this column. I think he’s wrong. I think women do have an advantage at the poker table. It’s a situational advantage. It’s not an unfair advantage. And, not all women exploit the advantage. But, they do have an advantage.
Our troll, PokerVeteran, and Randy, our gentlemen, are examples of the kinds of opponents that often unwittingly give women an advantage.
Different players will react to situations in different ways.
He doesn’t think women belong at the table, and he’s aggressive about it.
Most men who think of poker in terms of a man’s game will think of it as a UFA game of controlled aggression. But, a guy who gets verbally aggressive about not wanting women at the table is a guy who isn’t really strong on the control part. He’s likely to become hyper-aggressive, almost maniacal, when competing against a woman for the pot.
A woman who realizes that can exploit it.
Generally, the Mr. Macho kind of guy will not react well to an initial show of aggression from a woman. She should wait until she gets a good hand, then bet or raise once and sit back and let him start throwing chips at her.
Many men behave differently around women than they do around men. The Mr. Macho behaves like a macho jerk whether he’s around women or not. It’s just that he tends to be more directed in his behavior and more exaggerated when he’s around women. However, the Gentleman type does behave differently with women. Sometimes very differently.
The Gentleman doesn’t dislike women. On the contrary, he likes them very much and he wants them to like him. It’s the wanting them to like him that’s the source of his weakness.
Much like the male fighters in the new movie Girlfight, the Gentlemen will soft play women players. They’ll be much less likely to bet or raise, and with hands that other’s might raise with they’ll call while saying something like “I can’t fold this hand, I have to call.”
The advantage that women have is that they are more likely than men to be faced with opponents who purposely play sub-optimally against them. Different men, with different attitudes, will react differently to a woman at the table. Most probably won’t react at all — there really isn’t any rational reason to react. But, some men will react.
Knowing which men will react, and how they will react can pay off for the observant woman. It’s part of knowing what image you have in the eyes of others. Knowing that image, knowing how they will expect you to behave and knowing how they will likely react to you is one of the keys to beating the game — for men or women.