A man has won a Florida women’s poker tournament, taking home $5,555 for the victory over 83 entries.
70-year-old David Hughes, of Deltona, Florida, had a first place finish in the weekend’s $250 buy-in Ladies No-limit Hold’em (Re-Entry) event Saturday held at the Hollywood, Florida Seminole Hard Rock Hotel’s Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Anti-discrimination laws reportedly prevent Florida casinos from banning men from entering women’s events. The World Series of Poker previously implemented a $10,000 buy-in for men to deter them from entering women’s events, with women having to pay just a $1,000 buy-in.
The bearded man’s presence at the poker table among women was cause for controversy, with professional poker player Ebony Kenney stating on Twitter that she had placed a $300 bounty on Hughes which was matched by several other players. That bounty, which refers to a reward that would be given to a player that eliminated the target player, was also contributed to by Hughes.
British poker pro Charlie Carrel wrote on Twitter, "hilarious that he won," adding that "it pokes fun at the idea that anybody can identify as a woman and be allowed to enter women’s spaces."
"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 added.
According to Kenney, Hughes started the heads-up match on Sunday with a 6-1 chiplead and asked for the $100 back he had contributed to his own bounty.
"He’s now down 3-1 in chips & has talked completely disrespectfully to the dealer. Nice guy facade has crumbled. The thing about facades is they are hard to keep up," she added.
Abbey Merk, who came in third at the event, wrote on Twitter, "got 3rd in the ladies event!! didn’t run well when it mattered. gg to all the ladies. and to the man that won it? don’t do that again."
Kenney said she spoke with Hughes during a break in a $600 tourney on Monday, writing, "I wanted to extend an olive branch & express to him why there were so many people upset w/him playing a ladies event, while also letting him know I don’t condone bullying at all."
The man entering the ladies’ event "started out as a joke" with friends, Hughes told Kenney, who expressed to him that many women are intimidated to sit down and play poker.
"We chatted a bit and he said even if he makes one woman uncomfortable by playing in a ladies event, he doesn’t want to do it," Kenney wrote, saying that she could "sense his remorse."
Kenney said Hughes showed him a response he was writing that referenced biological males playing in women’s sports, a point also referenced by a friend of Hughes who later joined the conversation. " I reminded him this is not about that, this is about women playing poker," Kenney wrote.
Hughes told Kenney that he wouldn’t be playing in any women’s events going forward.
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