Some of the main hubs of poker are also the most sexualized cities in the United States, name New Orleans and then later Las Vegas. These cities are absolutely oozing with sex, and although this paper is not trying to make a moralistic argument decrying these wild cities' lifestyles, much of these images have stuck to the game of poker itself. Perhaps this phenomenon would not be so bad if it played out evenly between the two sexes, but all one sees is the portrayal of partially disrobed women advertising for poker sites. One only needs to log onto the internet and search for "Women and Poker" to have a dozen women in bikinis immediately pop up on the screen.
In fact, yours truly actually did run a search specifically for "Women and Poker", and here are some of the surprising results. In no particular order we present 10 of the most tasteful poker sites on the web:
-Pokerium Online Poker Room and Casino: The front page of this website is a model of good taste and restraint. Many of the searches yielded interesting results, but this website was head and shoulders ahead. Upon opening the home page one finds an illustration of a scantily clad brown-haired vixen with a flower in her hair(no real women were harmed during the production of this design). The interesting part of this drawing is that she is placed inside of a huge Ace of Clubs. In the middle of the card, where the woman is located, lies a very large club, and the stem of said club just happens to terminate in the center of the woman's crotch. Although there is a possibility that this not-so-subtle innuendo was unintentional, we would not bet on it.
-Next on our list is the deliciously tasteful advertisement on hollywoodpoker.com for their "Babes & Bounties" tournament. To begin with, the title itself should be enough to ruffle the feathers of most women poker players. Then, the image used on the page is of a woman in a bikini top with money in the background behind her. And finally, for those players who aren't sold by the picture in the middle, the site claims that "12 of the sexiest poker hostesses in the game" will be present at the table. It's a good thing too, because most serious poker players refuse to play in tournaments with any less than 8 sexy poker hostesses. Finally, jus tto make sure that one can notice all the different features on the side, there is a picture of a woman on the left-hand side of the screen dressed in her rather unsupportive underwear lying down in front of a laptop with poker chips lying around her body. She is happily wearing a pair of flattering white high heeled shoes so that she can model at any moment during her poker game. A truly classy website.
-PokerWorld.com, an up and coming online card room, is another tastefully crafted website, with nothing to offend save for their new "Topless Bonus". The "Topless Bonus: The Shape of Things to Come" seems a stretch: with this promotion they will "top up" your account with a free 20% bonus. The stingy bonus does not only fall way short of the 200% bonuses floating around on various sites, it also offends the eye. They advertise it with a small silhouette of a woman, hardly exposing anything whatsoever. Why they chose to try and correlate a 20% with topless women is a mystery, but they surely went for it.
-Not to be outdone, Jungle Poker has its own female spokeswoman: none other than the lovely Cheynelle Fraser, a bartender/model who is now the official face of Jungle Poker. Why a poker site would need a sizzling hot model as a spokeswoman is a grand mystery. We suspect it is because the photos of Cheynelle - which include several excellent cleavage shots - surely have everything to do with poker and nothing with selling sexuality. Although the site may be using the good looks of beautiful Cheynelle to help promote their site, they are not just about T & A on their site: on the front page of the site they have an advertisement for their heads up Sit & Go tournaments, featuring two headshots of a man and a woman, both fully dressed, challenging each other to a card game. Hurray for equality!
-Europeans are no exception when it comes to using alluring images of the female form to help them sell their products. In a recent article published on poker.gamble.co.uk, the author writes about the upcoming Great British Poker Tour, and the centerpiece image of this article is a nude woman relaxing in a bathtub full of poker chips. It's a good thing that they posted this picture, because nothing says Great British Poker Tour better than a woman bathing nude in poker chips.
-The most morbid result found during the search came from best-poker-rakeback.net on their rakeback advertisement, which features a frightening illustration of zombie woman in a corset, fishnet stockings, heels, and a short skirt using a rake to gather up some playing cards that must have fallen off a tree. Although the idea of having somebody literally raking poker cards is cute, we're not sure about the need for a sexy undead woman.
-Gambling blog Oddjack paid homage to the women of poker in an article titled "Top 10 Sexiest Women of Poker". This enlightening four part series takes the readers through their list of what they view as the sexiest women in the poker world. Just to give a small taste of their depictions of these women, we will go over the first three women they talk about. Each woman has a picture with a caption beneath it. At number ten on their list is Courtney Friel, a television hostess for the world poker tour. The picture they have of her is in a lacy tank top: fair enough. She's obviously OK with the picture considering she modeled for it. Underneath the picure is a caption that says "Stop teasing us Courtney, tear those laces off!"
The next featured profile is that of Evelyn Ng. Underneath her picture they put a quote that says, "Evelyn sure is one sweet ride..." Sadly, they did not even try to be creative with this comment, the only possible connotation for this remark is a sexual one. They also remarked in her profile that she won the WPT Ladies Night event and that, "Yup, she kicked ass. Asses that belong to Annie Duke and Kathy Liebert. Asses I don't want to see anytime soon. No matter how much they pay me to." This hilarious joke about the physical assets of two of poker's greatest female players was insulting to say the least.
At number 8 on their list is none other than Lily Elviro. This strong poker player who, besides being a strong poker player, is physically well endowed as well. The picture which they used for her was taken during a poker tournament she played in and shows her at the table holding a pair of cards. She is leaning forward a little showing a fair portion of her not so small breasts. Unable to resist, the comment beneath the photo says, "It's hard for Lily to always carry a heavy set of puppies like that." If it wasn't for such brilliant writing most of us would completely miss out on such hard to miss features.
-Next on our list is an article written by Toby Bochan on her poker blog. This photo-article, featured on about.com, is titled "The hottest women of poker", and it is essentially an amateur photo gallery of professional femal poker players. The women featured in this article are Evelyn Ng, Shannon Elizabeth, Clonie Gowen, Jennifer Tilly, Liz Lieu, Vanessa Rousso, Isabelle Mercier, Cyndy Violette, Jennifer Harman, Annie Duke, Kristy Gazes, Chantel McNutty, and Jennefer "Jennicide" Leigh. Perhaps the most disturbing part about this gallery is not that these women have their pictures posted, but that none of the pictures were studio pictures. They all seem like photos that were taken in a clandestine manner on a digital camera. Does this strike anybody as creepy?
-Coming last on our list is none other than Full Tilt Poker, who recently issued a challenge between Paris Hilton and Clonie Gowen. Their hearts were definitely in the right place: they were to host a heads-up challenge between the two women and the winner would take the $100,000 prize and donate it to the charity of her choice. This sounds good, so why does this make our trash list? Well, if you go to the website, the page they created for this challenge has these two women stacked up next to each other. The title for their statistics is called their "Sexy Stats", and just to make sure that the best poker player wins, they even added a "Who is sexier?" poll at the bottom of the page.