Poker is a male dominated activity full of testosterone-driven personalities. The game’s history is rooted in Mississippi riverboat duels between whisky-shooting men gambling with their egos as much as their wealth. While the game may have turned tame relative to its origins, it is still very much a medium through which men challenge each other to a test of wits and guts. This image of poker has intimidated many women into avoiding the game altogether. But there have been other women, such as Jennifer Harman-Traniello, who saw the game from another angle: an opportunity to exploit the predispositions of men for personal gain.
At the tender age of eight years old, Harman-Traniello learned to play poker in her hometown of Reno, Nevada. After graduating from college, she saw an opportunity to forego a traditional career and instead chase fortunes at the poker table. Let’s just say she made a good career choice. To date, Harman-Traniello has over $2,000,000 in live tournament winnings and likely countless more winnings from the “Big Game”, a regular high stakes cash game held at Vegas’ Bellagio of which she is the only regular female participant. She is also the only woman with two World Series of Poker bracelets and two appearances at televised World Poker Tour final tables.
So, What’s Her Secret?
For one, she has an incredible understanding of fundamental poker strategy. But another key to her success, at least her early success, is that she is a woman! With a foundation of excellent poker fundamentals to rely on, Jennifer has made money hand-over-fist from employing these fundamentals against men who all too often underestimated her skills as they made ill-advised bluffs or fool-hearty calls.
Most men, especially the type of men likely to be attracted by the game of poker, are like bugs towards a light when it comes to women. There are a few things about women that make them ideal for the poker scene.
It has been said that poker is largely a game of “feel”. While some like to break the game down into a rigorous mathematical model, at the end of the day, it’s ultimately nothing more than a battle of intuition. In areas where men tend to over analyze relatively simple situations, women are great at understanding poker for what it is: a game of feelings.
One great way to get a man to foul up is to transfer the organ in charge of his thought processes from his brain to the thing in his pants. There is a lot, believe me, A LOT, of money to be made in the poker world if you are a woman who can distract men with sex appeal. Truthfully, you don’t even have to be all that good at poker. Just flash a smile and a little cleavage, and you’ll be shocked how often men will “take it easy on you” and fold to your unending bluffs.
I believe that one of the biggest keys to success in poker is patience. There is a huge market to make money in the poker world from exploiting people who have a “get rich now” approach to the game. In general, women excel at patience more than men. They don’t call women the “fairer sex” because they’re always in a red-faced hurry to display their dominance. Patience comes natural to women, which is an invaluable asset in the game of poker.