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Is a WSOP Discount for Women Ethical?

Despite the growing number of women who are playing poke these days, the game is still dominated by men. And if there was ever any doubt about this, just look at how guys fill up around 97-98% of every WSOP tournament field. This being said, it’s no wonder why women rarely have a chance to win gold bracelets when the WSOP rolls around every summer.

However, the one tourney that’s historically given women something of their own is the WSOP Ladies Hold’em event. In the past, this was an all-female affair that guaranteed a lady would be walking away with a bracelet and plenty of cash. But even this has been put in jeopardy in recent years with various guys entering the Ladies Hold’em tournament.

The whole ruckus started in 2010, when Shaun Deeb, David Sesso and their cronies dressed up in women’s closing and entered the event. This has opened the floodgates for other guys to join in subsequent years under the banner that no tourney should be gender-based. Not wanting to see their Ladies Hold’em tournament turned into a mockery, the WSOP politely asked guys to stop entering.

Unfortunately, being nice hasn’t worked so the WSOP will raise the Ladies Hold’em buy-in to $10,000, but give the girls a 90% discount. This keeps the traditional buy-in at $1,000 for women, while giving guys terrible EV to play in the tourney. Of course, some male players have raised complaints about this perceived injustice by saying that its sexist and against the law. However, Nevada does allow for gender-based discounts and promotions, so the legal argument is out the window.

As for the morality of offering women a discount, just think of it this way: there’ll be 62 bracelet events at the 2013 WSOP, and it’s very likely that at least 60 bracelets will go to men. Barring any Vanessa Selbst-type performance in an open event, there’s a decent chance that guys will be taking home 61 out of the 62 bracelets. So why not give the ladies at least one solid shot to take home a bracelet?