Published on January 22, 2005 2:22 PM

I must tell you that the more I play and watch the ladies playing poker out there, the more impressed I am with the new batch of female players. When Annie Duke flipped over one of her hole cards whilst playing heads-up against Phil Hellmuth at the tourney which made her a multi-millionaire this year, I was like, ďtake that, Mr. Hell-Mouth!Ē The lady can hang.

This is not to say that the older Ďdamesí of poker canít hang. It just seems that they tend to play a kinder, gentler game than the men and some of the new up and coming female stars. Take the final table at the Ladiesí Night II table, which was shown a few weeks ago on the Travel Channel.

Isabelle Mercier rocked the table. The woman is mentored by Gus Hansen and seems to have quite a few of the male players on her side. She plays aggressive, in-your-face type of poker. She dominated the field because she wasnít soft. Even her facial expressions were harsh at times.

She played the kind of poker I want to (and do) play.

Women like Isabelle and Annie women are crashing through the glass ceiling of poker. They are taking the trail blazed by the Barbara Enrights, Wendeen Eolisí and so many more thatíve come and been long gone. Theyíre steamrolling over the guys and breaking the field wide open for the rest of us. Itís ours for the taking - if we want it!

Of course, I donít feel as though I carry my gender on my back when I sit down to play. Neither should you. However, I do feel that I should play the best game I can, even if itís a masculine game. Letís face it - aggression is still seen as a masculine trait. Soft-playing, often considered to be a Ďfeminizedí way to play, is not revered at the table.

Intuition and reading your opponents are valued; but only if you can use the information to your advantage. Women do these things all the time; but itís antithetical to many of our natures to do this for personal gain.

Stop feeling guilty, ladies. Be aggressive, use your intuition and play fearlessly. You neednít feel ashamed for being aggressive. If someone thinks youíre well, you know, so what? Maybe you are. I know I am and well, I own it (most of the time).

Get out there and play. Study. Read books, watch the game on TV and practice, practice, practice.

When you go to the table; make it yours and show these guys that you belong here even if you donít believe it. ESPECIALLY IF YOU DONíT BELIEVE IT!

Go on. BE AGGRESSIVE! It pays off.

Bio: Deanna Couras Goodson is a 31 year old mom of two, magna cum laude graduate of a major university, a freelance writer and a woman. She plays Poker as often as she can Ö and then plays some more.

Her greatest wish is to be the first ďBad Lady of Poker.Ē


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