David Hughes won a $250 buy-in No-limit Hold'Em poker tournament in Hollywood, Fla. over the weekend. Normally, that would not be noteworthy, except for the fact that it was a ladies event.
Hughes entered the event at the Seminole Hard Hotel and Casino and won the top prize of $5,555, per the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Hughes beat out the rest of the entrants, all women, and drew the ire of other players in the process.
Abby Merk, who finished third in the event, tweeted out her frustration with the fact that Hughes won a tournament that was supposed to be exclusively for women.
got 3rd in the ladies event!! didn’t run well when it mattered. gg to all the ladies. and to the man that won it? don’t do that again— Abby Merk (@abbypoker34) April 30, 2023
Under Florida's anti-discrimination laws, casinos are not allowed to ban men from competing in women's events, which is why Hughes was able to participate.
As Hughes advanced in the tournament, professional player Ebony Kenney was willing to provide a $300 reward for any player who could knock him out.
Playing the @WPT ladies event today, and Dave here is the only man. (Filmed w/permission!)— Ebony Kenney | Poker & Purposeful Pleasure (@Ebony_Kenney) April 29, 2023
While we appreciate the dead money, I really wish men would get what these events stand for.
So I put a $300 bounty on his head and Tamra & Noah Piderit matched it. 🥳🥳
Let’s get him. pic.twitter.com/dXVZVlriAP
By the time Hughes was at the final table, the bounty Kenney had started had reached more than $2,000. However, no one was able to collect the bounty because Hughes defeated Dayanna Ciabaton heads-up for the title.
The next day, Kenney had a conversation with Hughes about him competing in women's events, which she documented on social media. According to Kenny's account of the discussion, Hughes said he would refrain from playing in women's events in the future.
I reminded them women’s events shouldn’t be the butt of someone’s joke… Especially when that joke threatens the very specific dynamic and environment we are creating for women.— Ebony Kenney | Poker & Purposeful Pleasure (@Ebony_Kenney) May 2, 2023
Dave said he wouldn’t be playing anymore ladies events moving forward.
Here’s hoping. 14/end of 🧵
While men cannot be prohibited from playing in women's events in Florida casinos, the World Series of Poker tries to discourage men from participating by making their buy-in 10 times higher for men at the events designed to be for women only.