I just voted for the Maven Awards. Not usually my bag to give out all my confirming email data (in a time-consuming way) that lets someone else plausibly sell or profit from my internet ID. In fact, many know I consciously chose not to vote for the WSOP-TOC because I couldn’t help but see that as an email harvesting operation for WSOP.com, done in a way that trivializes the value of sites like Pokerati when it comes to someday sending players to the WSOP for online poker play.
(Also, by standing on such principles, I didn’t have to tell Tom he had a more promising future in selling pants than trying to qualify for the TOC.)
However, because the Maven Awards presumably isn’t looking to open an online poker room in the near future, and because, frankly, I was feeling bad for women in poker after the punk-bitch episodes in this year’s WSOP-Ladies event … I decided to give up my IP address to support the cause … somebody’s cause … in a way that seems like a good step toward someday negating the need for a separate Women in Poker Hall of Fame.
Much to my plausibly noble delight, it turns out The Maven Awards has an anonymous voting option that still does a decent job of preventing blatant ballot stuffing. (I tried; would require too much work for me to vote twice.)
I’m not sure when their voting deadline is, but it’s gotta be soon … so I encourage you to get your votes in, too, by voting here. Below are whom I voted for in each of the 14 categories and why:
Best Role Model for Women in Poker Award
Ooh, tough one right off the top. There’s little not to like about Jen, but I’m not so sure I’d want my daughter aspiring to become such a high-stakes professional gambler — too many potential negatives that go with living in what can be a rather cold, hardcore world.
Kathy … she knows I have mad respect for her game and generally feel she deserves more props. But again to my imaginary offspring … I’d think my daughter some day should know a bit more about effectively shaking her moneymaker … not necessarily in a skanky ho-jiggle way, but to allow her to use whatever that moneymaker for her might be to her best advantage.
Annie … likewise, I think she’s a true and accomplished leader who wouldn’t be thought of as so bitchy if she were male. But hey, just as women have the advantages of sex appeal to work with, they also must bear the cross of maneuvering through a world where men often see strength from females as a negative … and sometimes not without reason.
So Jen Harman gets the nod here. If that theoretical daughter were going to choose a life of high-stakes Vegas poker — I’d prefer she not, but hey, it’s better than stripping — then indeed, I’d hope she could do it with both grace and prowess, to which Jen Harman serves as a fine role model.
Woman in the Poker Industry Who Has Excelled in Encouraging or Promoting Women in Poker Award
Wordy category … But clear and easy winner here in Linda Johnson. Kathy has also done impressive stuff at the Venetian, but not with any specific female-empowering focus. Lupe maybe someday, but not yet.
Most Female Friendly Online Poker Room Award
Full Tilt Poker
Maybe the cutthroat way Full Tilt looked to bury Clonie is just testament to their commitment to equal treatment for men and women alike. But regardless … have never heard of Maria Poker, and Stars has often promoted women as strong and viable players without resorting to hoochie-mama tactics.
Most Female Friendly Poker Room Award
The Venetian, Las Vegas
The Borgata, Atlantic City
The Bicycle, California
Clearly couldn’t be the Bike. Have never played at the Borgata. Easy vote for The Venetian, which isn’t just a great poker room, but one that never seems to have a shortage of female players, many of them plenty cute. Kathy Raymond must be doing something right to make sure these players like it there.
Overall Best Tournament Series Award
World Series of Poker
PokerStars Caribbean Adventure
The Borgata Open
Another easy one … women love the WSOP, and the WSOP loves its lady players.
Best Ladies Only Poker Tournament or Series Award
High Heels PokerTour
WSOP Ladies Tournament
Pokerstars EPT Ladies Events
Same as above. WSOP-Ladies … the House that Linda Johnson and Jennifer Tilly built?
High Heels might be a good one, but those Ladies-Only Tourney League/Series ops can be pretty cutthroat in their efforts to corner the Y-less chromosome sector of the poker market. Not really sure how HHPT plays. EPT-Ladies events are probably really good, but for all their action, don’t recall any EPT-Ladies-specific tourneys — whether via overall field size or impressive final table — resulting in something that made me take note.
Most Appealing Poker Marketing Campaign to Women Award
Australian Poker League
Vanessa Rousso Bootcamps
Pokerica Ladies Team
What, no Victory Poker here? Vanessa Rousso does really good work with her boot camps, I’ve seen from afar, and don’t know anything about the other two.
Most Encouraging Poker Forum Award
Ack-gag-bleh! “Encouraging”? Why do you ladies even care about that kinda nonsense? You talk such a big sisterhood group-love game, but aren’t forums more a place for the claws-out back-stabbing realities of poker chickdom?
But OK, so you want encouraging … 2+2 obviously doesn’t belong — they don’t encourage anybody (which is probably why so many uber-poker-geeky dudes like the place). CardRunners is a current advertiser … and I’ve never seen anything disrespectful to women in their world.
LuvinPoker is a former advertiser (who presumably woulda been happy to continue on had Pokerati not made a recent decision to sever relationships with online poker sites). I’ve heard many stories specifically about how “supportive” their little group of players were in their forums, but it all sounded rather small and newbie.
Slight edge to CardRunners, for keeping a lady-friendly environ in a significant sector of the poker world.
Favorite Blogger or Author Award
Hmm, another potentially biased ballot, in a category featuring the lone male nominee. You can’t exactly consider Gary Wise a party-crasher akin to the shemale ladies-event players. They chose him … for some reason, so my pal and Poker Beat cohort must be a really standout good-for-women type of writer. But Jen is also a friend, and someone who’s helped this site a lot over the years as a blogger … AND who has turned into an admirable blogger in her own right.
Her gung-ho leftie politics may drive me to tilt, but I can’t let that get in the way of acknowledging that she deserves the nod for effectively pushing buttons on women-in-poker-related isues. Also snicker at the conflict of principles the mere existence of these awards would present for her (and Annie Duke) if Gary Wise weren’t a nominee.
Clear winner. Celebrity Apprentice and Ante-Up for Africa alone should be plenty by all measure. Inspiring women while shepherding the future of poker for everyone is nice (Linda) … and Liz doesn’t seem to be volunteering her time and resources on the ground for charitable efforts in Vietnam with accolades in mind. But making a needle-moving contribution to combatting genocide and oppression — on a scale noteworthy in a non-poker world … that’s gotta get the prize this go-round.
See conflict of principles bonus described above, too!
Most Notable Performance of 2009 Award
Another tough call. And though it may be my knowledge weakness not recalling the specifics of Annette’s or Kathy’s recent wins (think Kathy won a non-main event at Borgata?) … Vanessa’s
win runner-up at the National Heads-Up Championship is what I insta-remember, which has to mean it is the most notable.
CORRECTION: Vanessa got 2nd, not first. Maybe a lucky ballot for her.
(And what about Daphne Turner, the woman who beat Allen Kessler heads-up to become the first two-ring woman on the WSOP-Circuit?)
Top Female Media Personality Award
A tweet from Kara is what prompted me to vote and do this post. I’ve met her a couple times and she seems nice, too. A heart-worthy media personality for the Web 2.0 generation, for sure.
Notable Upcoming Female Poker Player of 2009 Award
Amanda de Cesare
NAPT-Mohegan Sun = notable by definition. Go Annette, but Selbst making moves on the table without the help of media and PR consultants. Seems appropriate, too, that poker should have a female bad-ass capable of appealing to fans of the WTA, LPGA, and WNBA. Hope Vanessa can get to that level of import in the world of power-fem competition.
Outstanding Professional Player of 2009 Award
There we go … finally one that easily goes to Kathy. She’s an all-poker poker pro’s poker pro … putting up consistent and ongoing results year after year, including 2009 and 2010. So it doesn’t matter where the year this awards is honoring begins and ends … she should be the winner in this category for sure.
So there you have it … one Pokerati editor’s ballot that means no more no less than any other … with probably way too much explanation of why I believe some finalists are more deserving than others … of an honor that hasn’t yet proven itself of any real merits, but could play a relevant role in poker should these accolades go to the right winners over time.