WPT, Bicycle Casino to Host Women’s Poker Summit
The World Poker Tour (WPT) and Los Angeles’s Bicycle Hotel & Casino have announced their joint hosting of the first ever WPT Women’s Poker Summit, to be held at 2 pm on Sunday, August 26. The summit, designed to be the first in a series of ongoing conferences with the long-term goal of increasing women’s participation in poker, hopes to attract prominent players and executives of both sexes to discuss ways to make women less an outsider element within the poker world.
The informally-structured, limited-seating event is being organized by Angelica Hael, the WPT’s prominent VP of Global Tour Management. The chosen late-August date allows the event to be held in conjunction with the WPT500 Los Angeles event at the Bike at the same time; the event will be held in the Dynasty Room at the Bicycle’s hotel complex, and the LA location plays well for the WPT in logistically terms, since the WPT is based there.
Pre-announcement word of the summit was distributed quietly in July, with the WPT making its formal announcement of the summit on August 1. According to Hael, “You will find representatives from our global casino partners, poker media, executives from non-poker industries, and representatives from various women poker organizations all in attendance. Plus, there will be professional and non-professional female poker players at the summit.”
As mentioned, both men and women, players and industry officials alike, are welcomed attendees. Among them is likely to be prominent WPT tournament director Matt Savage. Savage, fresh off a poignant keynote address at June’s Women in Poker Hall of Fame ceremony, reprised many of those thoughts and more in a recent blog post on the topic of women in poker.
Hael, one of 2018’s WiPHoF nominees was in attendance in that event, at which it was also announced that the WPT plans to take a leading role in promoting the cause of women in poker in general. As Savage noted, the percentage of women playing in major poker events has been stuck at about 5% for many, many years, and if poker is truly to grow, that has to change. Some of the causes for the general lack of women’s participation are socioeconomic, but others are related directly to the embedded sexism present within the poker world.
The WPT Women’s Poker Summit is one of the next steps being taken, with the hope of exploring the “why” behind the chasm to better fix the ongoing issues. Hael, who is also assisted by WiPHof president and recent inductee Lupe Sote in this latest endeavor, offered this:
“One of the WPT’s key responsibilities is to grow the game of poker. Too long has the lack of women in poker been a topic of conversation in our industry, and it’s time we work to both attract more women to the game and keep them playing poker for years and years to come. Women represent half of the population in the world, but they only represent a small fraction of the poker-playing community in tournaments and cash games. It’s no secret that poker is a male-dominated industry, both on the business side and the playing side. I’m fortunate enough to work for a company where 50 percent of our executive team is made up of women. Unfortunately, we don’t see that same percentage in poker events around the world, but this is something we want to improve upon. We can either stop talking about the topic or we can choose to do something. I’m proud to say that our team has come together and decided that it’s time to put words into actions and initiate a plan of attack that achieves the goal of bringing more women in poker, starting with the WPT Women’s Poker Summit.”
For more on the WPT Women’s Poker Summit, check out Hael’s interview-style announcement on the WPT site here.