Royal Flush Girls Step Down From WPT Montreal Final Table Photo Shoot

TAGs: Royal Flush Girls, wpt montreal

Darryll Fish asks the World Poker Tour production team to drop the Royal Flush Girls from his World Poker Tour Montreal Final Table photo shoot, and they agree.

Royal Flush Girls Step Down From WPT Montreal Final Table Photo Shoot

[Image Credit: WPT Flickr]

Who wouldn’t want a photograph taken with two beautiful women?

Not Darryll Fish it seems.

In a blog post entitled Sexism, Poker, and Growing the Game, Fish has his say on the recent discussion on sexism in poker that has been orbiting the social media space.

He makes two interesting points that deserve attention.

The first regarded comments made by Cate Hall and Justin Bonomo in blog posts they had also penned on the same topic. Both players had drawn attention to the positive cash benefit that male poker players will get if they change their behavior and make the environment more female-friendly.

Fish reacts by writing, “If there is a battle to fight against the mistreatment of women in poker, shouldn’t the intention be based on morality, not the idea that we can fatten our pockets if we make the game more appealing to women?”

It’s an excellent point. The notion that it will improve a poker player’s bottom line if men treat women more fairly dilutes the message that many people are trying to drum home – the poker industry is a very intimidating environment for a female poker player.

The second point that Fish makes concerns the World Poker Tour (WPT) Royal Flush Girls. Fish recently made the final table of the WPT Montreal Main Event this past week, and he requested that the Royal Flush Girls should stand aside from the final table photo shoot. Fish has since confirmed to me that he first approached the production team, and then gave his reasons to the girls, as he is friendly with both of them.

Fish writes, “Cate {Hall} and I totally agree that the idea of having female models walk around as eye candy for the sex-starved men who fill poker rooms is one that perpetuates the objectification of women, and makes poker look like a man’s game. I think gender-specific marketing has no place in poker, and rather than portraying it as the extremely fascinating and fun game that it is, it cheapens it.”

It’s not the first time that the role of the Royal Flush Girls has been brought into question. The last time I felt compelled to write a blog post defending their position and supporting their role. I have since learned that my comments were both misguided and uneducated. I have worked for the WPT for many years. I have become friends with some the Royal Flush Girls, but I think Fish has a point.

It hit me during my time at Dusk till Dawn (DTD) where I worked as a live reporter for the WPT UK Festival. There were Royal Flush Girls, girls hired by partypoker; all of the waitresses were female, and the croupiers were also female. All of them were dressed to titillate men.

I know because I was titillated.

I would love to end with some smart advice. Instead, I am going to learn from the mistakes I made last time. I am not educated enough to understand this issue. More importantly, I am not a woman, and so it’s difficult to empathise with both the Royal Flush Girls and those that would rather they were unemployed.

I might not trust my knowledge, but I do trust my gut. It didn’t feel right standing in that poker room in Nottingham, and that tells me that something needs to change if the poker community is serious about gender equality, and we should give Fish credit for having the confidence to act instead of talk.


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