Bearded Man Enters Women's Poker Tournament, Crushes the Competition

Man enters women's poker competition. (Credit: Ebony Kenney | Poker & Purposeful Pleasure)

I’ve been wanting a top male college basketball player to identify as a woman to expose the idiocy of biological men competing against women in sporting events. If that were ever to happen, the player would likely quickly become the number one NCAA women’s basketball player in the nation and might even win his/her team a championship. That’s not to be demeaning toward women, it’s just that a 6′ 11″ dude with moves would easily dominate women on the court; that’s just the reality.

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While such a scenario hasn’t happened yet, 70-year-old poker player David Hughes gave us something almost as fun to watch last weekend: he entered a women’s poker competition and decimated the competition, winning the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and walking away with $5,500.

He was able to enter because Florida anti-discrimination laws require casino officials to let men play—even in women’s tourneys. The other participants pretended to act cheerful, but you can hear this woman tell Hughes, “Good luck! Not really.

Several players put a “bounty” on his head, which means that other players would have been rewarded if they bounced Hughes from the competition.

Nevada has similar laws, so the World Series of Poker’s Ladies event gives women a 90 percent discount in hopes of discouraging dudes from entering. That sounds like discrimination to me…

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Although other men have joined women’s tournaments before, sometimes to raise money for charity, sometimes just because they’re greedy, Hughes’ entry got people’s attention. Reactions were mixed, with some thinking he was just being a jerk and others opining that by doing this he’s shining a harsh light on the debate over single-sex sports, bathrooms, events, and more.

Poker News reports on what professional player Charlie Carrel had to say:

1) Hilarious that he won.

2) It pokes fun at the idea that anybody can identify as a woman and be allowed to enter women’s spaces. [Note: It has not been reported that Hughes identified as a woman, even just for the tournament. He entered it as a man.]

It’s a real issue that people are taking advantage of in many different areas, including sports, prisons, and changing areas. This has lead to some horrific repercussions (female inmates being raped in prison, or women getting destroyed in MMA fights by somebody who spent 95% of their life as a man).

It does suck that it comes at the expense of the women’s only space. I wouldn’t do it, even though I probably share the same criticisms. Female only spaces in poker are really needed. Mixed poker can often be absolutely horrendous environments for women to be a part of.

The trans issue is a lot easier to handle in poker, as the stakes are relatively low. The difference between male and female players is negligible enough that the incentive for men to join women’s spaces isn’t really there. It does speak loudly to the insanity that’s playing out on a larger scale.

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Another pro, Matt Glantz, pointed out that if Hughes had simply identified as a woman everyone would clam up:

The motivation of Hughes is unclear—was he just being a jerk, or was he trying to get across a message? Whatever his reasons, he did expose the silliness of the current push by some to allow anyone who identifies as female to compete, use the facilities, and basically inject themselves into women’s spaces. The effort by the “progressive” left to erase women continues. And there will, as this commenter points out below, be consequences.

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