Florida man sparks controversy after winning ladies-only poker tourney

Posted: May 05, 2023 12:45 Posted by Matthew Calleja
Category: Americas, Casino, Land-Based,
Posted: May 05, 2023 12:45 Category: Americas, Casino, Land-Based, Posted by Matthew Calleja

The recent victory of a man at a women’s poker tournament in Florida has sparked a heated debate on social media.

Controversy at Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown

David Hughes, a 70-year-old resident of Deltona, Florida, emerged as the winner in the $250 buy-in Ladies No Limit Hold’em Re-entry event held during the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Hughes took home $5,555 in prize money after defeating Diana Chapton in the heads-up match.

Despite the event drawing 83 entries, including 13 women, Florida law prohibits casinos from banning men from entering ladies’ events, and Nevada has a similar policy. The incident has raised questions about gender identity and whether men should be allowed to participate in women’s tournaments.

The Ladies event at the World Series of Poker has a steep buy-in of $10,000, but women are given a 90% discount to discourage men from participating.

Hughes’s presence at the final table caused a stir, prompting professional poker player Ebony Kenny to set a $300 bounty on him via Twitter. Other members of the poker community matched her bounty, and it ultimately reached over $2,000, but nobody claimed it.

In certain poker tournaments, a bounty system is in place to incentivize players to knock out their opponents. Depending on the tournament’s rules, the reward could be for eliminating a specific player or any player. The reward is usually in cash, rather than tournament chips. While bounties are not a common feature in professional tournaments, they do occur from time to time. Bounties are more frequently found in smaller or charitable tournaments.

Kenny and other poker professionals criticised Hughes for entering the tournament, and British pro Charlie Carroll added to the conversation, making light of the idea that anyone could identify as a woman and compete in women’s events.

This is not the first time a man has won a women’s tournament; in 2009, Abraham Korotki, a former WSOP Circuit Event Champion, won the $300 buy-in women’s event.

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