Poker League of Nations helps drive female participation
According to most studies, female participation in poker tournaments is extremely low. Currently, female representation is only about 5% – less as the price of the buy-in increases. There are now efforts to change this, and none are proving to be as effective as that of the Poker League of Nations (PLON).
The PLON is now one of the largest entities campaigning for greater female participation. It only had around 300 members this past April, but now boasts over 2,500 members. It already has representation in 25 different countries, and this upward trend is still continuing.
Says PLON co-founder Lena Evans, “We want to be more than 4.8 percent of the fields — and 3.8 percent by the way, in the WSOP Main Event. We are the only organization doing this in earnest — not only hosting ladies events, but actually putting women into open events.”
There have been a number of reasons why female participation has been low – family obligations, harassment, marketing, just to name a few. However, the main reason, according to a study conducted by the PLON, is money. Evans explains, “We know that the No. 1 issue is bankroll – it’s not harassment, it’s not the environment.”
Maureen Bloechlinger, who co-founded the PLON with Evans, adds, “For most players – not only women — a $10K buy-in is a huge hurdle. Lena Evans and I wanted to create a real uptrend for women by creating opportunities for them to play in open events that would otherwise be impossible within their bankroll criteria.”
To help in their efforts, the PLON has launched an ambassador system through which PLON members organize private satellite tournaments around the world for entry into certain main events. Bloechlinger points out, “Our staking satellites not only provide women with the funds to play, but there is the added sense of community behind her, railing her along the journey. Using the PLON staking model, players retain an investment percentage of the winner. If the player goes deep, the PLON community also wins.”
Most of the satellite games have targeted WSOP Circuit Main Events, Circuit High Rollers and Ante Up Main Events. The PLON says that it will continue to expand its efforts to include other tournaments, as well.
It has also recently introduced the PLON Founders Fund, a private seed staking mechanism that rewards tournament backing to PLON members. The fund was created “in order to recognize, reward and empower women who have played an integral role with personal involvement and efforts to operate and build the PLON community in a substantive manner.”
As the PLON, and others, continue their efforts to increase female participation at the poker felt, the community will see the scales tip toward a more balanced playing field that will produce even better competition. Some studies show that women make better poker players and can give the male players a true run for their money.