Earlier this year, PokerStars, in collaboration with Poker Power, announced the return of the Women’s Bootcamp, a program specially designed to encourage and empower women to engage more in the world of poker. The bootcamp culminates on October 18 at the European Poker Tour (EPT) Cyprus with a final showdown tournament. The champion will be awarded an all-inclusive trip to EPT Prague in December.
In anticipation of the event, we decided to spotlight some of the fantastic women who will soon compete for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Among them is Drea Renee, a Los Angeles-based poker enthusiast with hands-on industry experience.
Renee has been part of the poker world since 2013, starting as a massage therapist before transitioning into a sideline reporter in 2015. Her work has taken her across various tournaments and organizations, including PokerGO, the World Poker Tour (WPT), and the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT).
Renee shared that she got her first taste of poker while working in the industry and has been hooked ever since. She said that her motivation to participate in the Women’s Bootcamp stemmed from her desire to excel as a sideline reporter and truly understand the game’s mechanics and strategies.
Her experience at the bootcamp was nothing short of transformative. Renee reported that not only did her gameplay improve significantly, but she also enjoyed every bit of it – from daily community games to learning from informative and entertaining teachers.
One memorable lesson Renee took away from boot camp came from Liz Huey: “Sometimes you gotta risk it for the biscuit!” It’s a mantra that resonated with Renee and one she plans to apply beyond the poker table. She also mentioned how poker has taught her valuable life lessons like letting go of things she can’t control and trusting her gut instincts.
PokerStars continues its efforts to promote inclusivity in poker, as Rebecca McAdam Willetts, PokerStars’ Director of Partnerships, PR, and Consumer Engagement, noted. The company is doubling the length of its bootcamp to eight weeks and aims to equip participants with skills they can apply both at the poker table and in their daily lives.
Despite the strides made towards inclusivity, a recent PokerStars survey revealed that 55% of women still feel that poker is not inclusive. This statistic underscores the importance of initiatives like the Women’s Bootcamp in bridging this gap and encouraging more women to engage in poker.