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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Tournament Etiquette

Published in the 3rd issue of Women's Poker Player Magazine.

(This is the article that generated a lot of heat and flaming and insults to my family, I do not want to rehash that all over again and therefore no comments will be allowed on this blog entry and if anyone places a comment on this entry or on any other entry regarding this entry, I will delete. Please respect my wishes on this issue.)

Tournament Etiquette

Let me start by saying that while I’m not a “newbie” to poker, I also haven’t been playing for decades. However, I did introduce myself to the poker world before the onslaught of online-playing-TV-watching-players came on board so I can attest to the changes that also came on board with them.

Poker used to be a “golf” sport. Spectators would talk in whispers among themselves, there would be a polite smattering of applause when a big hand was shown down, and never would anyone ever dream of yelling out “DAAAAAA” while playing.

So, as witnessed on ESPN or even in person, times have changed, get used to it! Poker is now a spectator sport that is getting younger and younger crowds, thus producing rowdier fans that have no problems in cheering for their favorite player. Yet, you can’t help but wonder, how far is too far?

Where do we draw the line on what is merely being supportive of a player vs. being considered an obnoxious jerk? It’s certainly subjective, as while what I feel is over the line, others may not. However, unless others who feel the same way as I speak up, then who knows where it will go next, and I fear that poker will once again be put on the back burner as nothing but a game that hosts and sponsors rude, arrogant people who will, once again, get no respect.

I was very fortunate to spend most of the full six weeks at this year’s WSOP. I witnessed quite a bit of rowdy and just plain rudeness from a lot of players, throughout the entire six weeks. Sadly, the worse episodes were at the Ladies Event.

I played in nine different events and never witnessed some of the occurrences that I saw at the Ladies Event. The rudeness, and if you’ll allow me, “bitchiness” of some of the players was appalling. Now, please keep in mind that not everyone was this way, not even the majority, and these ladies were certainly the few bad apples in the bunch. However, as history shows us, in any mass crowd situation people will actually change and mold their behavior to those around them, which was the case at this event.

What started out as a group of women gathering to play poker for the afternoon, socialize with new and old friends, and just have fun; ended with some ladies in tears and whopping and hollering that should shame all involved.

In all other events that I was there to see, there is definitely a big sigh that can be heard once the bubble player has been busted and players are “in the money”. You can feel the tension melt away as the remaining players now feel safe to try to make their run for the bracelet. There was even an occasional smattering of applause as players congratulated their tablemates.

At the women’s event, the roar that came from the players as the bubble player was busted was embarrassing. Sure, be proud that you made the money, be happy and excited, but have a little respect for not only the bubble player, but the other players that had left before.

This was a tough article to write, and I’m not sure exactly how it will be taken. I do believe that there will be some who agree with me, just as there will be some who think I’m overreacting. I truly believe that the point I am trying to make is that to have poker etiquette is to show respect to the game, and to players involved.

When you’re A,Q rivers an A to your opponents K,K; don’t stand up and start screaming “Yeah!!! Yeah!!!!” and exchange high fives with other opponents at the table, instead think about how that player feels and how you would feel (and I’m sure HAVE felt) in that situation and offer a handshake and a “Good game.”

When you’ve just busted out the bubble player, don’t point at her/him and yell out “Your History!!,” why not offer that same handshake and a “Good game” instead.

When a player does the above to you, or worse, don’t glare at them or make a nasty remark back at them, or threaten to kick their ***; instead, hold yourself up with pride and dignity and refuse to lower yourself to their level.

This is what pride, respect, and poker etiquette mean to me. I fear that without those three key items, poker will become a sport that loses it’s appeal and will lose the players, dealers, and staff that we need in order to play.

I simply ask that when you find yourself in a situation that could produce any negative feelings or actions, to take pride in yourself and respect the game that we have all come to know and love.


WOE, known as Women’s Only Events, have been around since the early WSOP days when the husbands needed a place to “put” their wives while they played the “big” game.

Since then, it’s been a way for women to play tournaments who might have otherwise been too intimidated to play due to the testosterone from their male counterparts.

Well, ladies, hold on to your hats, because I feel that that time has come and gone.

There is no longer a need for WOE. Women have taken to the poker world in such a dramatic way, that it no longer feels “weird” to sit at a table filled with men, nor does it feel “weird” to sit at a table and find three other females there as well.

WOE have always had a certain disgrace and shame attached to them. You may not agree, but think about it. The WOE at the WSOP wasn’t even considered for ESPN taping this year, and didn’t even have an announcer at the final table. When I’ve spoken to men about WOE I’m looked at with a patronizing grin and asked “You going to play in the “Big” event, darling?” The WOE bracelet isn’t even a “real” WSOP bracelet, but rather a smaller version of the other event’s bracelets. Most male players roll their eyes when asked about WOE, they laugh and smile condescendingly at the women that gather around during the event.

The time has come to stop the segregation of poker and to have ALL poker players play together. I am a huge supporter of women in poker, the more the better! However, I am against WOE and find them to be degrading. I didn’t use to feel this way, but the more time that goes by and the more events I attend, the easier it is to see the disrespect that is given to the ladies that play WOE. Therefore, I have decided to boycott all future WOE and ask that you seriously consider doing the same, for the reasons I’ve mentioned.

This article was tough for me to write, as I know that I may be strongly disagreed and I may have offended some. That is never my intentions, and if I have offended you, I truly apologize. I’m simply stating how I feel and you are more then free to disagree with me. I feel that this may be cause for some serious discussion and would welcome any and all comments at the WPC forum online.

In the next issue: A lighter note as I talk about the comedy I witnessed at the WSOP!

Tanya Peck

Tanya Peck can be found online at many different sites playing by the name of MissT74. Tanya is a local to Laughlin, Nevada and frequents Las Vegas for all major tournament events. Tanya can be reached at


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