Online poker chips away at sexual stereotypes

There are 5 main reasons why women are taking up online poker:

•Poker is gaining a lot of media attention. TV games shows, high-profile tournaments and the traditional portrayal of poker in film and TV gives the game a glamorous, exciting image.

•More and more women are playing the game professionally. The success of women players listed on the Women’s Poker Hall of Fame has created some powerful role models.

•The web creates a safe environment. Logging on to a poker website is nowhere near as intimidating as walking into a male-dominated casino. Good online poker rooms are moderated, mostly by women.

•Online poker caters for the novice player in a way that was not possible before the web. First, the anonymity means no-one has to worry about looking stupid. Second, there are extensive tips, articles and tutorials online that rapidly educate the novice player.

•Games can be played just for fun or for small stakes. One fear is getting into a game where the stakes are continually rising. But fixed cost games mean that if women want to bet, they know exactly how much they stand to win or lose.

Anecdotal evidence from the gambling industry suggests that traditional female traits such as assessing difficult situations, taking in information from multiple sources, make women ideal poker players.

But do women really make good poker players?

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Research from Cambridge Professor, Simon Baron-Cohen in his book “The Essential Difference” suggests that men and women do show different personality traits. These traits undoubtedly influence how both men and women play poker.

Professor Baron-Cohen identified three brain types – the female brain, the male brain and the balanced brain:

•In the female brain called the E-type, empathizing is the dominant characteristic

•In the male brain called the S-type, systemizing is the dominant characteristic

•In the balanced brain called the B-type, both characteristics are finely balanced.

According to Professor Baron-Cohen the female/male difference is not absolute but on average, more women have E-type brains and more men have S-type brains. His conclusions: