The $1,000 Ladies No-Limit Championship drew a field of 1,054 entrants, but the major discussion has been about the 10-15 men who were part of the field. Because of anti-discrimination laws, the WSOP staff can not legally prevent men from entering a women-only tournament. In previous years, led by former WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack, men have been discouraged from entering the Ladies’ event, with very few entering the past few years.
This year, their pleas fell on deaf ears as a group of players, most notably Shaun Deeb (appearing in drag), took their seats. Whatever reason they gave for entering the tournament (a lost prop bet, fighting for sexual equality, to get attention for themselves), their actions led Communications Director Seth Palansky to state in a CardPlayer interview that suspensions or bans from the WSOP would be handed out to the interlopers. There are several areas in the rules of the WSOP (especially in the Player Conduct and Tournament Integrity section) where the WSOP can decide what type of penalties to give to players for transgressions.
There’s been plenty of discussion about the on Twitter and the forums about today’s controversy with a discussion of women-only poker tournaments in general. Personally, I don’t see why men would want to enter a ladies’ tournament, as it gives the appearance that it’s being done for a selfish reason. Appearing in drag also doesn’t help your cause, even if it’s done with the hope of getting the ladies supporting your cause. F-Train did a good writeup about the topic this afternoon, with more opinions coming from the blogosphere and the WSOP over the weekend.