Who knows why gambling is generally viewed as a masculine pastime? Are men just more interested in money, danger, bravado, playing in public and earning glory? This is a very contestable question, since women these days do just about anything men do, and often better. A recent press release related to the popular mobile casino mFortune (UK) provides a few clues.
A New Scene
According to mFortune, the fact is that women playing its multi-player mobile Hold ‘Em Poker app has risen since last year. A quarter of its Poker players are female now. Arguably (and this is something casino-goers must notice) the land-based game in physical space, where players sit opposite each other glancing at each other’s poker faces, is usually dominated by male performances. mFortune’s news begs the question about a newer environment, the online game, and its accessibility to women who eschew that normative masculine scene, but who seem to be attracted to the anonymity of cyberspace-based games.
Women Are Going All In
Victoria Coren recently won the European Poker tour. Liv Boeree is another talented player who may be inspiring more women to play for keeps, as well. Although they play in the casino setting, other aspiring women may be more likely to take up the game online, at least initially. Web-powered Poker is probably an excellent environment in which to practice, learn and gain confidence. The other factor is logistical. Modern women could be less likely to carve out time to visit physical casinos, but are much more likely to fit in a game on the commute home from work, or during their days of homemaking.
A Common Table
We think that perhaps the most salient and probable explanation for the rise in female poker players online is an unfortunate fact: women (as in the UK) still suffer social inequality, lower wages, less professional inroads and so on. But when they join mFortune’s multi-player scenario — where nobody is really sure of the sex of one’s opponents if their screen name does not give it away — they find a level playing field. For any woman who begrudges the normal social inequality, this opportunity to beat socially-privileged male opponents must be quite attractive!
A Woman’s Touch
It may be that a new style of play, and a fresh way to win, are in the wings as more women influence the game as a whole. Do female poker hacks naturally use different strategies to win, which are methods that male players won’t easily crack? Perhaps this trend will also give rise to poker rooms online reserved for ladies. If that does happen, we’re not sure it is the best outcome compared to fair competition between the sexes in mixed environments. It almost seems reasonable to hope that segregation of the boys and girls does not happen, since this would lead to more progressive attitudes toward balance and fair play, and the further erosion of male domination.
mFortune Is Onto Something Here
We really like the fact that such a popular mobile casino has come out with this news about its demographics, when it did not have to do so. If mFortune is aiming to do more to encourage new female members, or promote its Hold ‘Em app to more of them, how can it go wrong? Since it’s online, where male players are less likely to fall prey to biases and stereotypes, there seems to be little risk in rocking the apple cart and hurting the house’s take. If other sites also see this as an opportunity, with little risk to their established clientele, then this could be the start of a new era in world-wide Poker. The game itself could change forever, if its online adherents slowly alter the demographics of land-based tables. How would you like to see women regularly competing in big events and winning against famous male players? As we said, mFortune might be staking its future to some extent upon increasing its feminine side — to increase profits, sure, but also to make its community more interesting. We’ll be following this trend this year and henceforth, because it’s about time that Poker grew less macho. Perhaps this classic game itself will get richer as women influence its mores and styles. Women can make it a classier affair, more nuanced, with fresh possibilities in terms of spectatorship as well.