Poker Chat Room Rules
Put the name of a sports team or a poker term in your username, or maybe just use a random word from the dictionary. Just don't identify yourself as female unless you like being regularly propositioned and harassed. Poker, particularly the online kind, remains a boy's club, and after playing hundreds of thousands of hands under many kinds of usernames, I just don't think outing myself as female is worth the trouble anymore.
I've been playing online poker for real money stakes since August,and last summer began earning a decent for a grad student, anyway monthly income from part-time, small-stakes play. During this time I have played on over twenty different poker sites, spent countless hours reading poker forums, and have learned much about the game and myself.
If you let it, the game of poker will teach you lessons which will serve you well in other areas of life—I know it has taught me much about, among other things, discipline, money management, and dealing with situations which are caht of my control i. Unfortunately it has also shown me that pooer at and away from the pokers, the world of online poker is one where women's participation is welcomed only with lascivious arms, eooms I've had some difficult experiences working within this uncomfortable embrace.
First, a few words on how gender identity is expressed in online chat rooms. Players' options for visual identity formation are fairly limited; on most sites players have no choice of representative image at all, though some sites do allow an avatar to be selected from a pre-constituted set and a roojs even allow users to and present an image of their choosing. The avatars provided by the sites overwhelmingly trade in room stereotypes, so those not blonde or buxom will find few relatable choices.
That said, this representational lack is not entirely a problem given that deception is an intrinsic part of poker.
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Also, players do have some choice in identity construction via usernames, which with text chat are the only ways of fashioning an identity on many poker rooms. While I mainly did this to amass money faster, along the way I began experimenting with various usernames and accompanying personas.
Altogether I have played under three kinds of usernames: a female-identified usernames cht using an obvious suffix, e. Note: For privacy reasons, these username examples are similar but not identical to those I've actually used. Under some usernames I intentionally used chat to interact with other players and to try to create a persona, while under others I only interacted with the table when prompted by other players. Some of the usernames were created solely for oroms possible entertainment value, as poker can get quite boring sometimes.
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I had no formal research goals in mind when registering such names, yet I must admit that I was curious to see how players might react to them. For the most part my basic suspicions were confirmed; I was treated much differently when playing under female-identified usernames. Poker was rarely, if ever, a topic of initial pokker instead I was almost always asked personal questions—was I a student?
Did I have a boyfriend? This sort of chat communication simply did not occur when I played under male-identified or neutral usernames.
Under those names, other players would rarely initiate chat with me, and when they did the topic of discussion was usually the game at hand. Occasionally I was asked about UT sports on sites where my location was displayed, and I had quite a good laugh once when I was playing as male and someone asked me about the betting line on a UT football game. I know nothing about sports betting.
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Some of the more entertaining and troubling poker chat occurred on a site with no avatars where I played under a female-identified username that also explicitly referenced alcohol. Along with the other questions mentioned above, other players would reveal themselves as inebriated in some way and use that as an entry roooms into conversation.
I was repeatedly asked to chat on IM instead of within the poker software. In one case a player spent almost an hour asking me to talk to him on the telephone. I continued to respond to him via chat every so often because he was donating his money to the entire table, but obviously I'm not going to talk to some stranger on the telephone poke because he asks me to!
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Female avatar The most disturbing incident happened while playing at a small room about a year ago. On this site, random male or female avatars are displayed depending on where one is sitting and what gender box is marked upon registration. Thus, players have control over which gender they present but not which image. I had only ed up on the site to play through a bonus, and was playing on one of the few limit hold 'em tables offered. I beat another player a few times and he fumed in the chat poket for a of hands thereafter.
After awhile I left that table but was still playing on another one on the same site.
What unnerved me was not so much roomms text vitriol or his quizzical disbelief over my gender registration, but that this player was following me from table to table to verbally abuse me. Whether physical or virtual, being stalked is a harrowing experience, and this incident caused me to rethink my choice to identify as female when playing online poker. When first playing under female-identified names, I would eooms respond to the chat initiation and engage in conversation, as I thought that distracting other players might prove to be an advantage.
Over time, however, the regular pickup lines and haranguing simply grew tiresome and annoyed me to the point that I began to register neutral usernames on new poker rooms to avoid the chatt.
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I don't regret it; now that I play for income as much as, if not moreso than for entertainment, the last thing I want is to be harassed while at work. The public demographics of sites and online poker forums indicate that the majority of online poker players are male, so I am confident in my use of masculine pronouns to discuss other players. I am also well aware that some of the players that I assume are male could very well be masquerading just as I do now.
Increasing s of women are playing online poker, and I am certain that I am not the first one to conclude that playing as male is easier. Yet it should be noted that even when an online identity is fabricated, slips may occur, as Sherry Turkle  among others has observed. When one of the four cards that would give her the best hand fell on the river and she won the large pot, a litany of sexist vulgarities formed in my head and I had to step away from the computer to keep from typing them all in.
Once the initial rage subsided, I was floored by how quickly such phrases—some of which had been directed towards me and others that were certainly more hurtful than any man could come up with—had come to mind.
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I am still wrestling with how much of this impulse stemmed from my own cultural assumptions about how men behave or how I think they think they should behave and how much may have stemmed from subconscious identifications with such invective. I must also acknowledge the possibility that the harassment I received while playing as female could have originated from others' gender play, though I'm not sure that lets cyberstalking or my own horrible thoughts off the hook.
Online poker game Ultimately, this and the other incidents I've mentioned above demonstrate that online poker is merely another site within which patriarchal repetitions continue to influence behavioral practices. Women remain targets of sexual objectification and scorn despite the facts that skillful card play knows no gender and that online identities are malleable and messy. poer
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Gender egalitarianism is not a battle but a war. Am I conceding some ground by avoiding the use of obviously female names at the pokeg and not exposing each instance of sexist behavior in real time? Image Credits:.