How women are changing the face of poker

Poker has been a popular game in the U.S. for decades. Casinos and other organized betting venues that offer poker games—including tournaments—are sprinkled all over the U.S. Recently, poker has been growing across Europe with cities like Dublin and London leading the poker craze. This increase in poker playing has led many women to begin hitting the tables and online poker sites. In an interview with Bluff Europe, Hippodrome Casino Head of Poker Kerryjane Craigie mentions the rise in the number of female poker players. With women like Vanessa Selbst, Liv Boeree, Kara Scott, Ana Marquez, and Ebony Kenney hitting the tables, ladies are proving to be just as good as their male counterparts—if not better.

During the 1950s, Las Vegas, Nevada witnessed a boom in gambling as hundreds of casinos masked as resorts begin to emerge along the Strip. By the 1960s, many of these casino resorts expanded and became grander as major corporations began to invest in the industry. Today there are nearly 900 casinos in the U.S. with the top three American casino markets located along the Las Vegas Strip as well as in Atlantic City, New Jersey and the Chicago metro region. Besides Macau and the U.S., the U.K. enjoys some of the most lucrative casinos in the world with many cities and towns hosting small casinos. Although women traditionally stayed in the background when casinos initially came about, the role of women in gambling has shifted within the past few decades. No longer are women seen as just lucky charms and eye candy at poker tables as more are becoming players, dealers, and executives at casinos.

As casinos grow in numbers, card tables are seeing more and more women playing hard and winning big. Vanessa Selbst, for instance, is by far the most successful female professional poker player with her winnings totaling over $9 million. Selbst has made six final tables and two heads-up semi-finals at the World Series of Poker and, according to the World Series of Poker, Selbst had won over $3.5 million in live tournaments alone by the time she was 27. In addition to scoring big at the tables, women are also benefiting from sponsorships and appearances. Major female players like Kara Scott are building a strong following as they move up in the poker player ranks and gain fame on the live poker circuit. Unlike some other poker ladies, however, Scott got her start behind the scenes as the host of Poker Night Live, a popular poker show. Excited by the action at the tables, Scott moved from simple presenter to player and won over $400,000 after finishing second in the Irish Open, according to her profile on PartyPoker. She’s gone on to win back-to-back cash prizes in the World Series of Poker Main Event while still hanging on to her poker event and television hosting duties.

Although more women are hitting casinos and other gambling establishments to get their poker fix, there is still a lack of women at live poker events. However, more than one-third of online poker players are female, according to BoxingScene. This could be because of the convenience and intimacy of online betting and, unlike at live poker events, the anonymity that comes with playing on a computer. With online poker playing, women can hone their skills and become better players without feeling intimidated by all the men in the room or feeling that their gender is an issue. Also, women tend to prefer the lower stakes that online sites offer.

Poker may still be considered a game dominated by men, but women are gaining in the ranks of top poker players. From big-time poker competitors to favored poker entertainment presenters, females are becoming heavy hitters in all aspects of the industry. And whether they prefer to hit the interactive tables online or at a live poker event, women will remain fixtures on the poker scene.

Early-bird deal for Look How Far We’ve Come: Getting Racism Back On The Agenda? Conference Ends Saturday April 12

Look how far we've come
Look How Far We’ve Come: Getting Racism Back On The Agenda? Conference Thursday May 8 2014, 6-9pm The Abbey Centre,
34 Great Smith Street, Westminster London SW1P 3BU For background, and booking attendance, stall, literature display space or advertise in Conference brochure/bookazine:

This is to invite you and remind you that the early-bird deal to attend the Look How Far We’ve Come: Getting Racism Back On The Agenda? Conference ends on Saturday April 12.

The Conference is to address issues regarding racism raised by a number of contributors when BTWSC/AHR was researching African British history for the ‘Look How Far We’ve Come: Racism, The Bristol Bus Boycott, Black History Month, The Black Sections, And Where Are We In Today’s Union Jack?’ book.

The Conference will provide a forum for discussing issues pertaining to racism, highlight what stakeholders are doing about racism, and how racism can be brought back on the agenda. As it is meant to be a “towards solutions” Conference, the presentations, workshops and plenary session will focus on strategies to combat racism, and not just dwell on the problems.

There are opportunities for stalls and display space at the Conference, and for advertising in the Conference brochure/bookazine. We are particularly interested in advertisers who can provide ads which relate to the following themes: Race/Racism, Equalities, Inclusion, Integration, Diversity, or Multiculturalism. As it is meant to be a “towards solutions” Conference, it adds value if your ad reflects what you are doing within these fields.

Costs range from £20 for a classified listing, to £350 for a full page ad in an A5 sized, full colour document, which is meant to be value-added and have a shelf life that extends well beyond the Look… Conference. Through its editorial content and targeted advertising, the brochure is meant to serve as a useful resource for years to come for research, seminars and conferences on Racism, and related subjects.

All details, booking to attend, for stalls or to advertise can be made at Credit card and processing fees will be passed on to any payments received after April 16 2014.

Additionally, you may be interested to know that the Look How Far We’ve Come: Racism, The Bristol Bus Boycott, Black History Month, The Black Sections, And Where Are We In Today’s Union Jack? book and the Look How Far We’ve Come: Commentaries On British Society And Racism? DVD, which will be published on May 1.

The book documents African British histories from the context of racism and racial equality policies, and the DVD consists of contributors* responding to the question: How far has Britain come as a society in dealing with racism and racial equality issues?

Please note – for Conference specific enquires, please contact Awula Serwah, Conference co-ordinator via

Laura Bazile asks, “How is it to be the only Black Woman entrepreneur in the room?”

In the 8th article from our new series from women on the inside, Laura Bazile examines business networking as an entrepreneur in Europe.
As an entrepreneur, I chose to start my business on my own, providing full services to my clients, with subcontractors joining from time to time -depending on the type of projects.
All in one, it means that most of the time, I attend networking parties or meetings on my own, representing my company and my (real) expertise. No big deal as it is part of the business, isn’t it? What I notice is the way people interact when you are the only black person in the room.
I mentally make a list of what I am and of … what I am not.
I am …
  1. A female entrepreneur.
  2. A woman in the business.
  3. A French woman sharing her time between France and the UK for professional reasons.
  4. A shy woman, still learning from the networking exercise, keeping in mind that some events might be amazing, others might not.
  5. A not-so-shy woman who knows how exciting and rewarding it is to mix and mingle with peers.
  6. The one you would remember if we bump into each other after the event. (“Oh, yes, we met recently! How are you?”).
  7. An enthusiastic entrepreneur.
  8. Curious about the future.
  9. Pro-active, with strong values: amongst them there is my community.
  10. A Black woman
Note for the reader : point #2 could be point #1. Point #7 could rank #1. So could #10.
I am not …
  1. The Black woman you would say is from [ write country _____________ ] … for sure.
  2. A close friend of the Black guy who just entered the room.
  3. The one who will comment loudly about any famous Black novelist/entertainer/business (wo)man/fashion designer …. What does that have to do with our social gathering here?
  4. The one who will laugh all the time, just because I welcome everyone with a warm and honest smile. I might don my business’s gear when appropriate.
  5. The one who would act just as you “imagined” it.
  6. Fluent in whatever you think is Creole. Note for the reader: different Creole exist. Creole languages are spoken by different people … in different countries.
  7. That sensitive just less patient when I think the person in front of me deliberately miss the right point: “Could we get back to business, please?”.
  8. Only curious about things directly related to my community. And nope, my business is not community-oriented. These types of business exist, run by talented people. I happen to be one of their clients.
  9. Supported by any specific program. I am delighted for the lucky ones who did take advantage of these opportunities. Smart and a source of inspiration.
  10. A person whose name is exotic enough to be unforgettable (in a certain way). Mine is quite common, not that I wouldn’t have loved a more ‘exotic’ one. In both cases, this would be me and no one else.
What about you? Have you been upset (or delighted) by unexpected circumstances in a whirl of networking events?

Laura Bazile

Laura Bazile is an events professional, addicted to traveling, meetings & helping people. She is passionate about digital mix, live arts and design. Laura founded blufreelance, an event marketing boutique.

Afro Hair & Beauty LIVE 2014!


May Bank Holiday weekend hosts the ultimate hair and beauty experience. Europe’s biggest showcase for Afro Hair & Beauty LIVE is back, taking place on May 25th and 26th 2014 at the Business Design Centre, Islington.

Afro Hair & Beauty LIVE is the only place you’ll find award winning hairdressers, specialist beauticians and cutting edge fashion all under one roof. Take the time to be indulged with a customised manicure at one of the many pop-up beauty booths or take the stress off you mind with an Indian head massage or spa facial. The show has everything you could wish for from henna tattoos to professional eyebrow threading and eyelash extensions – all at cut prices.

Not only that but the runway stage will be in full action with fashion shows, dynamic hair competitions and show special presentations from the leading names in the ethnic hair and beauty industry. If any of the clothes you see catch your eye visit the Afro Hair & Beauty Fashion Boutique to bag a one-off piece at a special show price.


Other features include the Sensational Icon competition where top hairstylists display imaginative avant garde styles that can only be described as visual masterpieces. Along with the fiercely charged WAHL Battle of the Barbers competition which sees barbers from all corners of the UK work their skills.

Take advantage of this spectacular weekend and see the latest product innovations on the market and interact with the best of the best in the industry, including the fabulous natural hair celebrity stylist, Felicia Leatherwood known as the ‘Hair Whisperer’ who will be at the Beautiful Textures stand.

After the success of last year the interactive debate will be returning, a chance for you to put your burning questions to our top industry panel. Plus this year for the first time ever Afro Hair and Beauty LIVE are bringing you a beauty interactive debate with our panel to consist of well-known names in the beauty industry.

Take advantage of our FREE seminar programme which covers a wide range of hair and lifestyle related topics, and the many giveaways up for grabs.

With SO much going on, this is a show not to be missed!

Afro Hair & Beauty LIVE

25th and 26th May 2014

Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, London N1

Nearest Tube: Angel


For interviews and press enquires please contact:

Jessica Fuller, Public Relations

020 7498 1795


For more information visit



The pioneering film festival Images of Black Women returns on the 11th to 20th April 2014 to celebrate 10 years of promoting race and gender equality in film, both in front of and behind the camera. A six-day festival taking place at Tricycle Cinema on the 11, 12 & 13th of April as well as at the Rich Mix Cinema on the 14, 19 & 20th April.

Says Festival Director Sylviane Rano,

I started IBW to promote films from Women of African and Caribbean descent, a group still severely underrepresented in the film industry.  I want the festival to inspire the next generation of filmmakers and provide a platform for them to show their the wider audiences. Ten years later whilst things have improved slightly there is still a need for financial support in this area.

This year again, despite lack of funding, the festival manages to offer a fantastic mix of films made by and reflecting the lives of women of African descent from the UK and around the world.


           At Tricycle Cinema   SOLD OUT                  

  • 11th of April Half a Yellow Sun at the Tricycle Cinema 8.15pm

The festival is launching with the release of the film half of a Yellow Sun adapted by Biyi Bandele from the award-winning Novel of the same name by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at the Tricycle Theatre on April 11th   Starring Chiowetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton – at 8.15pm followed by a Q & A session.

  • FGM takes centre stage on Saturday the 12th of April at 15.00pm

With the documentary The Cruel Cut – Directed by Vicky Cooper  (Courtesy of Love Productions) and Calm by Kwame Lestrade. Followed by Q &A with Anti –FGM campaigner Leyla Hussein, and director of Calm Kwame Kestrade,

The Cruel Cut follows FGM Campaigner Leyla Hussein as she and a group of  survivors attempt to take their cause to the very top of the government. Leyla has been campaigning against female genital mutilation since 2008, winning a Cosmopolitan Ultimate campaigner Award in 2010

The Cruel Cut is a passionate, exuberant, exploration of the complex world of Female Genital Mutilation. Giving an insight into the cultural and societal pressures it brings and how it continues despite being illegal in the UK –At the time this documentary was filmed there had been no prosecutions for FGM in the UK despite being made illegal in 1985.

This screening is a timely reminder of how far this campaign has come, with the first ever prosecution for FGM due to take place this April, two days after the screening. Where does the campaign go moving forward?


Is an adaptation of a true story, set in present day London, uncovering what female genital mutilation means to a father.

On the 13th of April, UK Premiere of Award winning Haitian film DEPORTED, which won Best Documentary and Human Rights award at Vues d’Afrique 2013 in Canada, made by Rachèle Magloire, and Chantal Regnault. Plus short film The Silent Treatment. 14.30PM:

  • In the news constantly Deportations are a contentious issue in the UK, but what happens once someone is deported to their country of origin, separated from their family, with no job, or home to go to?

This documentary explores the controversial issue of what happens to deportees from Canada and the US who are forcibly returned home to their homeland Haiti, an issue currently affecting migrants in the UK.

Synopsis: Since 1996 and 2002 respectively, the United States and Canada conduct a systematic policy of repatriation of all foreign residents who have committed crimes on their soil. These range from violent crimes to simple convictions for driving while intoxicated or petty theft. “Deported” follows for three years these North American offenders as they return to their homeland: Haiti, a country they do not know.

Plus a Q & A with filmmaker Laurence Magloire (Deported) and The chief executive of Hibiscus Initiatives Jacqueline Mckenzie, an organisation who support deported Migrants in the UK and abroad.

For more information: