And that’s with winnings of $11.6 million by the age of 31, with three WSOP bracelets to her name, and the only poker player – male or female – to win the same North American Poker Tour Main event back-to-back. So, even knowing that the best poker players lose more than 95% of the time, the issue of winning – and winnings – is not so straightforward for women or men.
The thrill of winning big is a pull for many players. It’s generally thought that men lean more towards:
While women gravitate towards:
This could be seen as a difference in perception between games of skill and games of luck. The thinking is that men want entertainment that makes them feel more in control, where they have more opportunity to influence the outcome, and this makes a win that much more rewarding. Women, it’s suggested, look more for the social element of entertainment. Or so the thinking goes.
Perhaps all is not as clear as it seems, regarding risk. Games like blackjack and poker feed off an innate ability to keep calm under pressure, to strategize effectively, and men have historically thrived in these high stakes arenas. But with poker, we know the stats regarding losing – however much you strategize. And Annette Obrestad certainly doesn’t seem risk-averse with her $4 million poker tournament winnings. In 2007, she reportedly won a $4 buy-in 180-people online sit and go tournament without once looking at her cards.
One seriously big modern gambling payout comes from a very risky strategy, with a huge gamble by Denise Coates, CEO of bet365. Describing herself as the ultimate gambler, Coates and her brother mortgaged their family-owned betting shops to launch a start-up. That little company started in the earliest days of online gambling and took £525 million in 2017, giving Coates a £199 million paycheck for the year. The UK’s Sunday Times Rich List – a barometer of all things seriously wealthy – puts Coates’ personal fortune above that of Richard Branson.
Emotions can run high
How men and women react to their gambling wins – and their losses – can seem markedly different. Men seem to be more aggressive and lash out when they suffer big losses, whereas women can seem more inclined to verbalize and express their emotions.
Interestingly, the level of aggression displayed by men can be equally apparent when they win. And this can lead to heavier betting – when on a roll – ultimately, leading men to bet more.
Women, however, are more restrained in the online gambling world, more likely to cash out when they win big. This might be because women are more likely to be skeptical about the odds of a game, so they are happy to walk away rather than boost their winning streak.
As the world of online gambling, especially, continues to grow and develop, these gendered responses may change, but, for the time being, it does seem the differences between the sexes hold true. A recent major Australian study described women as “more emotional” when they were losing and “more likely to cry or display visible signs of elevated sadness.” Men, meanwhile, were found to be “often striking or even kicking a machine.” They also tended to be rude to casino staff, and often displayed “territorial” behavior to claim possession or dominance over certain machines.
Loyalty isn’t everything
Understanding loyalty is rather puzzling, but the move to the online world has changed the concept of loyalty, significantly – for fairly obvious reasons.
Over 35% of female participants in one survey said they stick to just one betting site, while 35% of men play on two sites. Less than 10% of each sex regularly plays on six sits or more.
Some men will always be on the lookout for the best casino bonuses, while some women prefer engaging with a site that offers more authentic gameplay. It could be that the bonuses are more relevant for any player who is thinking about playing on a site for the long haul, to maximize the chance of making the most out of the bonuses on offer – which makes sense when statistics show that men tend to spend more time gambling than women and are also less likely to walk away when either on a winning or a losing streak. And, if women are still more inclined to play bingo online, then the social aspect could be keeping them more loyal to just a few sites.