“There’s all the time subsequent yr”
My subsequent piece might be a visit report from the current Worldwide Poker Open (IPO) in Dublin, however earlier than that, I wish to concentrate on what was in some ways the large story of the competition. As soon as once more the women punched nicely above their weight, however the actual story was that the majority of it got here from what’s in some ways poker’s most forgotten demographic, senior girls.
An indomitable character and fierce competitor, she performs very a lot in opposition to kind
I first met Helen Henry a number of years in the past at a match within the Bonnington when if I keep in mind appropriately she wished me to signal a replica of my first e book. Since then I’ve gotten to know her higher by enjoying along with her a couple of occasions. An indomitable character and fierce competitor, she performs very a lot in opposition to kind, regardless of being the friendliest particular person on the desk. Initially from Cambridgeshire, she informed me as soon as she relocated right here for the love of her life, her Irish husband.
I lastly met “the husband” this weekend. I’d performed with Helen the day earlier than within the Excessive Curler, and after she informed me she was again for Day 2, she mentioned: “Don’t look so shocked!” She then launched me to her husband with the phrases: “He’s one in all these professionals.”
As I performed my ultimate small facet occasion, Helen was on the ultimate desk of the excessive curler behind me. She had certified for the occasion by profitable an area poker league, however that didn’t cease her from turning down a deal heads-up when her opponent Nicky Levene provided, saying she wished the trophy.
Sadly, there was to be no trophy for her. As she walked away I congratulated her on the end result and mentioned I used to be sorry she didn’t handle to safe the trophy. With a twinkle in her eye, she answered:
“There’s all the time subsequent yr.”
Chip Race tourney
For the second yr operating, David Lappin and I sponsored a facet occasion. Our sponsorship took the type of a free copy of ‘Endgame Poker Technique: The ICM Ebook’ for everybody who made Day 2. An impromptu e book signing broke out once I went all the way down to examine the books had been not noted, and the women nonetheless in appeared significantly happy.
Manal (photographed above) and Susie each cashed. When Manal bust in ninth, that left the legend that’s Annette O’Carroll because the final girl standing, as she so usually is. I first met Annette O’Carroll in Citywest in August 2009 once we each made the ultimate desk of a €300 ($319) facet occasion. My recollection is she had nearly all of the chips and was enjoying a way more aggressive fashion than the one her stern headmistress look would counsel. This learn was confirmed by my good good friend Fergal Nealon who pulled me apart at a break for a phrase to the smart:
“Don’t be fooled by her oul wan act. She hangs round with all the perfect younger gamers down in Sligo and soaks up all of the technique discuss. Not like the remainder of her technology, she is aware of the sport strikes on and he or she strikes with it.”
She had nearly all of the chips and I had nearly none of them so after a few early confrontations the place she put me in an ICM coffin, I made a decision the perfect plan was to put low and let the remainder of the desk who have been “enjoying for the win” punt off to her. It was the nice previous ladder-to-second-and-then-hope-to-get-very-lucky technique I’d repeat six years later in opposition to Upeshka da Silva on the World Sequence of Poker. On each events, I managed the ladder-to-second half however not the then-get-very-lucky bit.
calling everybody “honey” and usually charming or shaming them into not enjoying again
After busting the excessive curler I max late regged the Chip Race occasion and located Annette on the desk in full faculty mistress mode, utilizing her common tactic of “butter them up then devour them.” She was calling everybody “honey” and usually charming or shaming them into not enjoying again at her.
I didn’t final lengthy, however Annette bagged up an enormous stack for Day 2, which she marshaled all the way in which to headsup. She overcame a chip deficit to prevail, and in her second of victory, there was an outpouring of affection and delight from the rail.
An emotional win
Sadly, I wasn’t capable of hold round to share within the celebrations along with her, as my spouse was ready impatiently outdoors to drive me residence, and he or she’s the one girl on the face of this earth I’m much more fearful of than Annette. I did nonetheless ask her what the win meant to her and he or she replied:
“It’s emotional. I used to be not there in 2022 as I used to be simply after surgical procedure and recovering. Final yr was marred with quite a few frequent medical challenges. Thank God all have been manageable and I’m nicely. I’m acutely conscious many undergo critical medical challenges and don’t have such a superb end result.
I’ve needed to put the bucket deep into the nicely and draw on no matter enduring resilience I may scoop up. For the final yr I performed little poker and missed a whole lot of key occasions. I missed the problem, the camaraderie, the banter, and the craic. So I’m stuffed with gratitude to be again on the tables, and including a win on high of that’s magic.
with the grace of God and a bit of excellent luck I’ve emerged victorious”
The win is pulsating. It’s about being vibrantly alive. It’s validation and affirmation that I typically get it proper. It’s primitive. It’s being in battle and rising victorious and so too I humbly acknowledge the bullets I dodged and the splash of excellent luck when wanted. Not not like my well being story. I’ve battled. I’ve dodged bullets and with the grace of God and a bit of excellent luck I’ve emerged victorious. I’m nicely, I’m vibrantly alive… I’m buzzing.
And the icing on the cake was the truth that it was the Chip Race trophy. We return some time. I’ve enormous admiration for the work ye do. Your data, your abilities, your professionalism. Along with that ye quietly coordinate and develop a group. I’ve been quietly satisfied to have been requested twice earlier than to contribute to your podcasts. Within the presence of giant international names and superstars of the poker world I’ve genuinely felt within the presence of giants.
So that you ask what does the trophy imply? In a small subject in a small city, I received a small trophy however I’ve it… it’s on my shelf and I’m enormously happy with my trophy. It’s my validation. It’s my affirmation that on Sunday and Monday final I dodged a couple of bullets, obtained a bit luck, and obtained quite a bit proper.
The forgotten demographic
I’ve written previously about how I feel the poker business is lacking a trick in advertising nearly solely to youthful individuals. There’s basic settlement that poker additionally doesn’t market efficiently to females whereas paying plenty of lip service to getting extra ladies enjoying.
Younger males (beneath 25) outnumber younger females by greater than 100 to 1
It’s irrefutable that females make up a disappointingly low proportion of the participant pool. Girls usually make up 3% of the WSOP Essential Occasion subject. That easy statistic is a bit too easy and hides a extra nuanced comparability by age. Younger males (beneath 25) outnumber younger females by greater than 100 to 1. Different age teams are equally miserable till you attain over 40s when the hole begins to shut. By the point you get to the over 60s males outnumber ladies by solely 10 to 1.
In response to the overall consensus, the primary purpose for that is that even in progressive societies, the burden of child-rearing nonetheless falls predominantly on ladies, so it’s solely after their youngsters are reared that the majority ladies may even take into consideration devoting a whole lot of time to poker. This argument is supported by the truth that on-line (which doesn’t require gamers to journey or decide to lengthy days on the tables) the gender hole is far much less throughout all age teams.
From this, it needs to be clear that efforts to market to senior females ought to doubtlessly be extra fruitful than swimming upstream to attempt to entice extra youthful females. But little or no advertising is finished to this demographic: they’re in some ways the forgotten ones within the poker world. I can’t consider a single older feminine the business promotes broadly as an envoy, but it’s the tales of profitable older females like Helen and Annette which have probably the most potential to draw extra ladies to the sport for my part.
Or within the phrases of Annette herself:
“Butter them up then devour them.”