Petrelis Files, a poker pro
How does poker treat gay players?
Hello my friend. My name is Petrelis Files. I am a Greek poker player and I am gay. I am here to talk about being a gay poker player.
This is not an easy life to be honest.
It is not easy to be a gay poker player because poker is a macho game, and there is an ample amount of homophobia in poker. Have you noticed that every time someone gets a bad beat with just a few outs, they will call the other player "gay"? This attitude may exist in other games or activities in society, but it is very unique to the poker community nevertheless.
If you think about it, and it is sad to say that, it makes sense after all. Indeed the main game of poker is called Texas Hold'em, as it (somehow) originated from Texas. It was popularized in particular by Doyle "Texas Dolly" Brunson who is a Texan. As aggressive a Texan as they make them. He always appears with his cowboy hat and every one knows that people wearing cowboy hats do not like gay people.
The movie "Brokeback Mountain" gave an excellent depiction of what people in Wyoming think of gay men. This couple of gay lovers had to hide all along, but they did not hide well enough as Jack was brutally murdered by three young men, for "being gay". And this is not just in the movies. In a state like Texas also, it can be dangerous to openly declare that you are gay. It is already difficult to play poker online until they legalize online gambling, so being a gay poker pro is not a piece of cake.
So poker is a game of card historically played by cowboys in saloons where they came for entertainment. The game has remained very macho, and I can tell you that no poker pro has ever dared to announce that he was gay, as this would be viewed very negatively by the poker community. Poker is not like haute couture or hairdressing unfortunately.
This being said, are there any professional poker players who are gay? And is the huge amount of homophobia at the poker table real or is it just me?
To answer the first question, yes there are some gay players, amateurs and pros, as I know a few. But overall this is a minority and they do not wish to be labeled as gay in the open. As I said, no one has ever confessed to being gay in the poker circuit, even when I made the squeeze play on them.
For the second question, no it is not just me. You are supposed to play poker aggressively, "like a man" and the opposite is timid and gay. A player who consistently makes too small bets will be called gay. Or a player who tries to trap and slow play his strong hands, hiding their strength, will be routinely berated and called a "dirty gay".
Maybe I choose the wrong line of work, some will say. Yes maybe, but I love poker. I just hope that things will change and that all gay people will be able to openly show their civil rights to the world and stop hiding. It is often said that one of the most important quality is poker adaptibility, and it is particularly true in my case.
May the God of Luck be with you at the poker table.