The goal of getting more women into poker continues as a major goal for PokerStars. On Thursday, the company announced another addition to those efforts, a partnership with the women-led organization Poker Power.
The group offers training and events geared toward female players. The first initiative between Stars and Poker Power is a boot camp to strengthen their skills. More co-branded events are also planned.
“We’re incredibly excited to join forces with such a progressive organization like Poker Power,” PokerStars director of partnerships, public relations, and consumer engagement Rebecca McAdam Willetts said in a news release.
“They are the perfect partner to collaborate with on this project as the work they do with women in poker transcends the gaming table – their programs teach skills of strategy and leadership that can be applied to the board room and beyond.”
PokerStars looks to grow women in the game
The initiative is part of the company’s commitment to the growth of the game and to supporting women in poker. Stars hopes to bring the fun to more women while ensuring a comfortable and safe place to play, live or online.
The news follows recent Poker Power research that a major gender gap exists within the game. Female players check in at just 4% of the estimated 100 million poker players worldwide.
We are so proud of Amrutha! She joined Poker Power as a student two years ago with no poker experience, leveled up to instructor, and just last week she WON her first poker tournament.
— Poker Power (@joinpokerpower) November 3, 2022
What to expect from PokerStars/Poker Power
The four-week boot camps are part of the overall Stars effort to address that disparity, company officials say. The Poker Power aim to add confidence and skills by:
- highlighting women in poker
- presenting more opportunities for women who already play and for those who would like to learn
- learning gameplay skills that translate to real-world success including negotiation, strategic decision-making, and capital allocation
The curriculum includes practice sessions on Power’s teaching app, Poker Power Play. Those attending can also expect specialized tournaments and home games on PokerStars.
Modules feature themes like confidence, boldness, determination, perception, and discipline. The site notes that input from women players was a big part of the planning process.
“Despite some great progress over the years, we know there’s still a long road ahead to make poker more inclusive, but a lot can be done when we row in the same direction together,” McAdam Willetts said. “We also know women-only events and activities are not for everyone, but we’ve listened to players and this is one of many activities we have planned that comes from direct feedback.
“These boot camps are an essential first opportunity to pique interest in women who have never played the game before and to motivate those that play poker, to continue to evolve their skills and gain confidence at the tables. We’re committed to making poker as inclusive and accessible for everyone and it’s our mission to create equal opportunities and a safe space for the poker community.”
Stars ambassadors part of the mix
Beyond the training elements of the sessions, PokerStars ambassadors will also take part. The events include one-on-one tutorials with company representatives like Jennifer Shahade, GJ Reggie and Lali Tournier.
The women hope to prepare students to play at the tables. Those participating will even have a chance to win a spot in a special event at European Poker Tour (EPT) Prague series.
Stars selected participants via an anonymous survey. Those surveyed had limited poker ability, but an interest in furthering their skills and learning more.
The partnership comes after PokerStars recently held its first Road to PSPC (PokerStars Players Championship) women’s event. Rishva Iyer (pictured in lead image courtesy PokerStars) came out on top, scoring a Platinum Pass.
Officials with the company and Poker Power now hope their partnership adds to the momentum.
“We are honored to be working with PokerStars on this milestone project,” Poker Power managing director and general manager Erin Lydon said. “PokerStars shares our strategic mission and vision for the future of women in poker – and it’s thrilling to curate a special boot camp that will encourage more women to join this amazing sport. Our mission at Poker Power is to teach one million women business and life skills through the game of poker.
“Our four-week course will not just teach women about poker but equip them with important life skills that can be applied to business, parenthood, and general life. I hope through this partnership, we can create more opportunities for women, and that perceptions of poker will begin to shift and more women will feel empowered and safe to step up to the gaming table.”