Negreanu criticised Deeb for entering the WSOP Ladies Championship dressed in drag
The WSOP had to deal with controversy this week in the $1000 Ladies Championship when half a dozen men registered for the tournament, many of them in drag. One male player even went so far as to use a tampon as his card protector. Online tournament legend Shaun Deeb – the most famous of the men participating – claimed that he was doing it to raise the question of sexual discrimination and gender equality at the WSOP. Deeb argued that he should be able to participate in the event and not be excluded on the grounds of his gender.
Daniel Negreanu was a vocal critic of Deeb and company, writing on his blog: “I mean, you have over 1000 women in that event who love it! Why in the world would we want to spoil their fun in the name of sexual equality? You aren’t fighting for men’s rights, or women’s rights for that matter, you are just being an ass”.
In response to the criticism Deeb later admitted in a video statement posted on YouTube that he was wrong to dress up as a woman and apologized for any offence caused but maintained his actions were taken with the best possible intentions. Deeb also stated that he would donate a percentage of his prize money to charity. Female player Maria Mayrinck wasn’t convinced, saying, “It was crappy to see women get knocked out by men. It just wasn’t right.”
Outspoken pro Annie Duke was also quick to give her views on women-only tournaments in general. She said, “I get that women would be upset, but I think it’s important for men to take that stand and also it’s for charity. It’s also making a point that poker is not like tennis. Men are not mentally stronger than we are, so it makes no sense to separate it out. If there were a men’s only event, people would be encouraging women to play.”
Whatever the opinion, this story has reignited the debate about women-only tournaments in poker. Also, despite the stated good intentions of the male players entering the event the World Series of Poker was not similarly amused – and has mentioned punishing the players involved with bans from future WSOP events.