An elderly man has won a ladies’ poker tournament in Florida, sparking internet controversies and outrage. Under local laws, operators cannot prohibit men from entering women’s events, resulting in this confusing situation.
The man who challenged the women in the $250 buy-in Ladies No-limit Hold’em (Re-Entry) event is David Hughes, a white-bearded man from Deltona. He entered the event which took place last Saturday at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood and eventually emerged victorious.
Hughes prevailed, beating dozens of competitors and winning $5,555 for his victory after defeating Dayanna Ciabaton in the final round. However, his victory was not as appreciated by the community as he had hoped as the news exploded, attracting the ire of many female poker pros.
In winning the event, Hughes attracted the disapproval of poker players all over the world. For example, Ebony Kenney, a famous player and confidence coach, scrutinized Hughes’ decision to enter the tournament. Kenny said:
While we appreciate the dead money, I really wish men would get what these events stand for.
Kenney eventually placed a bounty of $300 on Hughes, inspiring more players to do so. By the end of the tournament, Hughes had a bounty of $2,000 on his head, which remained unclaimed.
Poker Pros Are Unamused
Linda Johnson, a member of the Poker Hall of Fame, said that she believes there is nothing wrong with having events for a specific demographic. In an example provided to Poker News, she said that she would be perfectly okay with an event for “26-year old, motorcycle riding, Mohawk-haircut seniors” and that she wouldn’t enter because she wouldn’t qualify.
The elderly player was also critiqued overseas with British poker professional Charlie Carrel saying that nowadays “anybody can identify as a woman and be allowed to enter women’s spaces.”
It’s a real issue that people are taking advantage of in many different areas, including sports, prisons, and changing areas. This has led to some horrific repercussions.
Echoing Carrel’s words, it is worth mentioning that this is not the first women’s poker tournament to be won by a man. Fourteen years ago, ex-WSOP Circuit champion Abraham Korotki won a $300 buy-in Ladies No-limit Hold’em tournament that took place at the Borgata Poker Open in AC.
Florida isn’t the only state where operators cannot prohibit men from entering events reserved for women. Nevadan laws are similar, which is why WSOP’s Ladies’ event has a $10,000 buy in with a 90% discount for women.