Happy Women’s Day to all Female Members of the Industry!

With the International Women’s Day on the 8th of March, we decided to pay a small tribute blog for all the wonderful women of our industry.

We took some interviews with the leading women in our industry. Women who’ve been making giant strides in the world of poker. We asked them about how they feel about the number of women in the poker industry and what all can be done to make this a better and safe place for women. We asked them about their experiences while playing poker in a room full of men.

First up, we had Dipika Agarwal. She played really well at the DPT Xpress February Edition ₹5K Burn N Turn this time and beat many to reach the final table where she finished 10th for a INR 23,000. She has been in the industry for more than 10 years now and she certainly had some interesting things to say:- 

How did you get into playing Poker and what was your family’s reaction to that? 

I started playing poker with my family members only. Everyone knew how to and I got introduced to it through them. My husband used to play so I took it on as well. For some reason, poker never felt like a gambling game to me. We all used to play together. Even my 70 year old grandmother used to play with us. So, that was never a problem for me. 

How do you feel about the number of women in the industry and what do you think should be done to attract more women towards the game or the industry itself? 

I feel that it is growing but we need a lot more! India Poker Championship (IPC) hosted an all women’s freeroll tournament which was a very nice way of integrating women who knew about the game but never really got a chance to try it out. I believe there are a lot of women playing online nowadays but I feel what really needs to be pushed is that a casino is a safe environment. We need to get this out to other women who want to play or those who are skeptical about coming to casinos and playing, that casinos have a safe and friendly environment. A level of safety and comfort is a must for any woman especially when going into a room literally filled with men! 

Have you ever felt uncomfortable at any moment in time during a live tournament? 

No. Maybe at my first event, but not really. That can also be down to my nature. I think considering my age I have a big advantage in the sense that not everyone can find it easy to approach me. I know a lot of people who work for the casinos and players. Casino people are a lot more hospitable and they watch out for girls and women anyways.

What would you like to change about the current state of poker, other than the obvious difference between the number of men and women? 

Deodorants, toothbrushes, breath mints! People are grinding for 15-20 hours but not many have the decency to go and brush their teeth! I have actually told Deltin and other casinos to keep deodorants and everything. If they can serve free Black Label, they can definitely do this! xD 

What motivates you to do well in the industry or as a poker player?

The sport itself. The feeling of winning. I’m a very competitive person. Now that I’m running deeper in tournaments and that motivates me to do better every time I am at a poker table.

Wise words from a person who has been out and about the biggest poker rooms and casinos in our country. 

Next up we have someone to whom people might refer to as a newbie. But her results speak for themselves. Radhika Shankar. She has been playing out of her mind for the last year or so. Her most notable finish till date has been a 3rd place finish in the recent DPT Xpress 15K Main Event. We had an interesting conversation with her as well. Here is the transcript: 

When did you start playing poker and how was your family’s reaction to it? 

I started playing poker 2 years ago with my friends but it was only back in March that I played my first live event. My family has always been very supportive but as you know, all parents are protective and they advise me to be careful at all times. Fortunately, my husband has also been very supportive. He’s always on the rails for me! 

How do you feel about the number of women in the industry and what do you think should be done to attract more women towards poker?

To be honest, I do not understand the hype about women in poker. Yes, it is a male dominated sport but to me, all players are equal, albeit men or women. The problem is the difference in number. I think that is because of the stereotypes about Indian women in general. We are a progressive nation as any and I’m sure that sooner rather than later, we’ll have more female players in the casinos! 

Have you ever felt uncomfortable at any point during a live event? 

No, never. I am very comfortable in my own skin and maybe it’s also because of my age. I am from Delhi and I can handle any breed of man there is! xD

Are you competitive? Do you go into a tournament always looking for that 1st spot? 

No, I am friendly. I like to be happy. Stay positive. I feel that it is a better tool for me rather than being competitive. 

Is there anything you’d like to change about the current state of poker other than the number of women in the industry?

I’m too new to the scene to be bothered by the nitty gritties that might bother the veterans. Plus, I don’t care much about gossip, who’s winning what, how much, when, where etc. I just like to be surrounded by friends and live a life filled with love and good vibes. 

What motivates you to do as well you’re doing? 

Funnily, it’s not the money. Because money comes and goes. Yes, it helps us live better. But I’ve been through enough slumps in my life to know that one can be happy without much money. My motivation has been the drive to put my name/face on the Indian poker map. This last win may have been my first step towards that goal! 

Up next, we have Dr. Akanksha Singh. She has been in the game for a long time now. Her most notable performances at the felts are an 18th place finish at the Baazi Poker Tour (BPT) Main Event back in 2019 and a 22nd place finish at the India Poker Championship (IPC) Main Event 2020. Here is what she had to say: 

When did you start playing poker and how was your family’s reaction to it?

I started playing poker around 4 years back and professionally since more than a year now. I have studied medicine and I’m a dermatologist so initially my family wasn’t supportive. When I told them this is what I want to do full time they thought I’m making irrational decisions and taking a big risk so they were not able to accept it though now the situation is different, my mother who would hate me playing ,is now supporting me completely.

How do you feel about the number of women in the industry and what do you think should be done to attract more women towards poker?

The number of women in this industry is definitely very less, I feel as and when poker grows more women will be attracted as I always think of poker as a women’s game.. Men are stronger physically and women mentally there is no doubt about it and poker is a mind game.. I feel many women aren’t aware about this game and many people still think of it as gambling rather than skill based. Slowly as this misconception fades more women will definitely step into this.

Have you ever felt uncomfortable at any point during a live event? 

Yes, last time I was on the live stream during IPC.. I got a bit conscious as I knew everyone from my family was watching me and I didn’t want to let anyone down so I got a bit uncomfortable but I enjoyed it as well as I got a lot of appreciation from my parents and in-laws.

Are you competitive? Do you go into a tournament always looking for that 1st spot? 

Yes, I love competition, it’s very exciting to make right decisions and that’s why tournaments are my forte.. I’m always looking for the first spot.

Is there anything you’d like to change about the current state of poker other than the number of women in the industry?

I want live poker to become legalized everywhere so that it’s easy to play whenever one wants and I want poker sites to keep more value tournaments. I also want a way that we Indians can participate in worldwide online poker tournaments esp.pokerstars.com.

What motivates you to do as well you’re doing?

I have stood by poker since the time I have known it. That’s my love for the game and everytime I play a hand well, I feel extremely happy and proud of my decision and the thrill that this game offers keeps me going. And ofcourse one needs to keep a good balance and yoga helps me a lot with that.

Wise words from some of the most experienced and important women in the Indian Poker scene.

At PokerShots, we believe that women are an important part of the community. Whether they’re playing at the tables or working behind the scenes to enable others to play. We hope that more and more women are encouraged to play the game after reading this blog. Happy Women’s Day to all women around the world and those who are part of our beloved industry. 

Happy Women’s Day to all Female Members of the Industry!

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