Live poker tournaments are broadcast across TV networks as well as through affiliated online poker websites, an arrangement dating back to 2003. These tournaments are primarily played by male players, with a recurring cast of experienced pros frequently playing for cash prizes.
But over the last few years, the number of female poker players competing in major cash tournaments has noticeably spiked. Women such as Vanessa Selbst and Jennifer Harman are challenging their male competitors in major tournaments, with both players successfully winning two World Series of Poker gold bracelets over their careers.
Online poker networks are also noticing the emergence of female poker stars, and are recruiting top players as ambassadors for their domains. The goal for many online poker rooms, still considered heavily populated by men, is to broaden the core base to include more women with successful female ambassadors.
888 Poker, the affluent poker room within 888 Casino, recruited two of poker’s emerging stars as ambassadors for their network – Sofia Lovgren of Sweden, and Xuan Liu of Canada. Both women have won hundreds of thousands by playing poker, with Lovgren signing to 888 following a four year stint as an ambassador for PKR.com.
Liu, who was born in China but grew up in Toronto, has become one of Canada’s most talented female poker ambassadors. Liu accumulated over $1.4 million in winnings over her career to date, including $300,000 playing at online poker rooms.
She finished within the top ten in multiple cash tournaments, with the most recent accomplishment finishing 4th at the KRW 2,760,000 no limit Hold’em main event in South Korea on the Asia Pacific Poker Tour – an achievement that won her over $40,000. Liu identifies herself as an activist encouraging more women to get involved in poker, and will use her new role with 888 Poker to continue her work.
888 Poker issued a statement that the firm was “proud” and “excited” to welcome both women as ambassadors to the team. Both Liu and Lovgren are also signed to compete in the World Series of Poker Europe in 2015, and will now do so as representatives of 888.