There’s an art to card games like blackjack and poker, and many have mastered it. But, now and then, a special player comes along and leaves their mark. Alice Walker is one of them, the first female winner of the World Series of Blackjack.
After years of honing her skills, she claimed her title in 2007 and helped change the world’s view of women as professional gamblers. Keep reading to find out more about Walker and how her industry has been expanding its pool of players to accommodate female champions.
Who is Alice Walker?
Born in Houston, Texas, she got into blackjack around the age of 13. An interesting development, considering the state’s unhappy history with gambling. Nevertheless, young Walker picked up the tricks of the card trade, including poker.
Despite their differences, learning both games clearly made her a better player, one that went on to win two major tournaments in a row. A driven, tactical mind is what led her to the hall of fame of gambling.
Alice Walker Wins
The World Series of Blackjack is a big deal. For Walker to reach her $500,000 prize, she went head to head with top players. Since this is a closed event, each participant is either invited or given a spot after winning a qualifying satellite tournament.
Season 4 was the most exciting in the televised series as celebrities like Orel Hershiser, Penn Jillette, Shannon Elizabeth and Caroline Rhea joined its tables. The hype increased Alice Walker’s glory as she beat the competition and proved her serious mettle.
Her abilities were already quite clear from her previous victory: the 2006 Three-Card Poker Tournament. Constant practice in both games helped her achieve such heights. In addition to the back-to-back titles, Walker developed her card-playing skills and reputation from tables outside the spotlight.
But it’s also thanks to her prestigious championships that female players around the world know her household name and can follow in her footsteps.
Alice Walker’s Mark on Future Players
Female gamblers making a splash in the professional spotlight definitely draws new talent onto the scene. It shares possibilities and goals for fresh faces to reach, if not best. But the growing accessibility to blackjack and poker tables today also increases the training players can get.
With the range of card games available online, anyone can turn their hobby into a profession. To begin with, the well-vetted experience and knowledge digital casinos give you while playing from the comfort of home make real-life games easier to dig into.
You can learn the rules back to front before entering your first serious competition. So, between online and land-based opportunities, women who want to join the fun need only jump into what card games they can.
As Alice Walker shows, however, real success comes with skill. And this demands attention, determination and patience. In fact, becoming a professional blackjack or poker player takes the same hard work required of any successful entrepreneur. Knowing the rules and tricks is one thing. Making good use of them is another, something which expert players like Walker can teach.
More Female Card Players to Remember
Alice Walker is one of many women to break boundaries on the gambling scene. All perfected the art of bluffing and smart strategy, combining it with their ample perseverance. Then they directed this power at their games of choice until they earned their coveted titles and the community’s recognition.
Cathy Hulbert, for example, is a legend at cards. Like Walker, she played blackjack and poker in the 60s and 70s. But her journey to stardom was even more exciting as she went from working in the New York State Senate press office to becoming a blackjack dealer and then a part of lifechanging gambling partnerships. The world recognizes her as a top seven-card stud poker player, as well as a leading trainer for female players.
Barbara Enright turned heads in 1995 as she finished fifth at the World Series of Poker, the first woman to achieve the finals. The milestone only fueled her hunger for those bracelets, so she gathered three throughout her career. All her wins combined saw her onto three halls of fame and onto her own pedestal as one of the most famous female poker players in history.
Vanessa Selbst, the highest-ranking female player of 2020, bloomed in the wake of trendsetters like Hulbert and Enright. Even though she retired in 2018, her $11.8 million in total winnings remain a goal to surpass for many women. Her passion added three World Series of Poker bracelets to her collection alongside big wins at the North American Poker Tour and Partouche Poker Tour.
Erica Schoenberg is further down the ranks, but proves that you don’t always have to finish first to count as a good player. Part of her training came from the MIT blackjack team, which fine-tuned her abilities to World Series standards and beyond. She’s participated there and in the Ultimate Blackjack Tour. Her move into poker was only natural and paid off just as well with her earning thousands in tournaments.
There’s no doubt about it. Not only have women come a long way in terms of earning recognition as card-players, but they clearly always had the chops to do it. Alice Walker’s achievements only boost the inspiration that’s already there for new and ambitious talents to find.