January 26, 2015
Almost a decade after Barbara Freer broke the glass ceiling for women, another woman took the next step.
In 1986 Wendeen Eolis became the first woman to cash in the World Series of Poker Main Event. Eolis finished 25th in the tournament, receiving what amounts to a refund on her $10,000 buy-in, and more importantly, a place in poker history.
It was another three years before another woman, Carmen Valenti, made the money at the 1989 WSOP Main Event, and the next instance occurred in 1993, when both Marsha Waggoner and Wendeen Eolis cashed, finishing in 19th and 20th place respectively.
Again, poker’s gender gap may seem pathetic in 2014 (where 282 women played in the Main Event), but just 20 years ago, not in 1955 but 1995, you would have trouble rounding up enough female entrants to fill a single poker table.