Vanessa Selbst has won the Partouche Poker Tour event in Cannes. Selbst, who was interviewed by our own Rebecca Liggero back in July when she (Selbst, not Becky) signed on with PokerStars, outlasted a 764-strong field to take the €1.3m ($1.8m) top prize this past weekend.
The final table was not without controversy, what with only eight players taking their seats after PPT officials announced that German player Ali Tekintamgac had been disqualified. Tekintamgac had apparently been receiving signals about his opponents’ hole cards from a well-positioned ‘journalist’ during the initial stages of the tournament. Regardless, that doesn’t detract from Selbst’s accomplishment, which elevates her into third place on the all-time female live tournament winnings list behind Kathy Liebert and Annie Duke.
Speaking of Duke, she recently participated in a panel discussion in which she related her experiences as one of the few women kicking ass and taking names in a male-dominated environment. Duke observed that when she took up the game full time in 1994, women made up just 3% of poker players, a number that hasn’t budged upward, despite poker’s increased profile.
Duke also noted that male poker players fell into a number of narrowly defined categories. These included the men who underestimate her because of her gender, those that call every one of her bets because their fragile egos won’t allow them to concede a hand to a girl, or those who take it easy on her in the hopes that this will somehow convince her to sleep with them. (All men reading this should hang their heads in collective shame at our gender’s cluelessness.)
Beth Shak echoes Duke’s observations/frustrations, but she does give men props for multitasking – at least, when they’re forced to. After taking part in numerous live poker tournaments (with 10 cashes so far), Shak’s been nothing short of impressed by her male opponents’ ability to get a lot done during their allotted 15-minute breaks, such as grab some food, make a few phone calls, deal with other business at hand, plus squeeze in a trip to the washroom. Of course, what she doesn’t realize is that during that washroom break, they’re probably rubbing one out, maybe even thinking about Beth Shak while doing so. As Metallica said, sad but true.