Bearded Florida man wins women’s poker tourney, intense debate follows

Dave Hughes, a 70-year-old bearded man in Florida, has sparked an intense debate after he entered an all-women poker tournament at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and then won the $250 no-limit Texas Hold’em event with a prize pool of up to $17,450.

There were 83 poker players in the tournament and all of them were female except Dave, who was the last one to enter. He defeated Dayanna Ciabaton at the end of the contest and wound up taking home $5,555 according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Florida casinos are evidently prohibited from disallowing a man to enter a women’s tournament by anti-discrimination laws, so Hughes was seated at a table and dealt in.

The newspaper alluded to the fact that Nevada casinos have a similar rule. The World Series of Poker’s Ladies event has a $10,000 buy-in tournament, and women receive a 90% discount in hopes of keeping men from entering the game.

A video was taken by one of the players at the tournament on Saturday and was posted to Twitter. A couple of the players put a bounty on Hughes’ head. The move would have rewarded a player for eliminating him, which did not happen, so the bounty went unclaimed.

“Good luck, not really,” the woman recording the video said to Hughes who has now gone viral for his stunt.

Given the hot debate on transgenders competing in women’s sports, the incident engendered its own heated conversation

“I love ladies-only poker tournaments. I would have no problem with them having a men’s only and I wouldn’t enter it as I would not qualify for it,” Poker Hall of Famer Linda Johnson declared, according to Poker News. “I would have no problem if they had a tournament for 26-year-old, motorcycle riding, Mohawk-haircut seniors and I wouldn’t enter it because I wouldn’t qualify.”

“I don’t think men should play in ladies-only tournaments. That said, I think there is a total overreaction to the few man (sic) who do enter. They are usually looking for attention, so why give it to them? Maybe we should just ignore them and play our best. This is just my two cents and you are welcome to your own thoughts on this,” she remarked.

Charlie Carrel, who is a British poker player, also gave his opinion on a man entering a women’s poker tournament, commenting that it was “hilarious that he won.”

“It pokes fun at the idea that anybody can identify as a woman and be allowed to enter women’s spaces,” Carrel noted. “It’s a real issue that people are taking advantage of in many different areas, including sports, prisons and changing areas. This has lead to some horrific repercussions (female inmates being raped in prison, or women getting destroyed in MMA fights by somebody who spent 95% of their life as a man).

He wasn’t done and railed further against men competing in women’s sports.

It does suck that it comes at the expense of the women’s only space. I wouldn’t do it, even though I probably share the same criticisms. Female only spaces in poker are really needed. Mixed poker can often be absolutely horrendous environments for women to be a part of,” Carrel added.

“The trans issue is a lot easier to handle in poker, as the stakes are relatively low. The difference between male and female players is negligible enough that the incentive for men to join women’s spaces isn’t really there. It does speak loudly to the insanity that’s playing out on a larger scale,” he concluded.

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