Pocket Poker starts 2020 with good energy! This week I spoke with Natalie Hof Ramos, German professional player and founder of Herzdamen Club, a group created at Telegram to support women in the poker world. Even near the holidays and with a newborn baby, Natalie’s foundation has reached women all over the world. Several countries and cultures were connected through her action.
It’s stimulating and challenging to see women’s poker action this early in the decade. Although several studies point out that women are at the forefront of the social networking revolution, thinking and acting, as simply as Natalie did, makes us question: “Why haven’t we thought this before? Why haven’t we organized this before”? Acting in a network produces questions directed to hierarchical structures, helping to generate power shifts. And we did it! Our Telegram group is global, it has different languages, cultures and nationalities, Herzdamen has managed to unite women from Brazil, Germany, Russia, England, Sweden, Austria, Canada, Argentina, Slovakia, Spain, Puerto Rico, Netherlands and USA, in fact every day a new flag is added to the group. The link to join in is in Natalie’s Instagram profile (@nataliehoframos), there she also shares the experience of motherhood in the poker world. For Natalie, “poker is male-dominated and the most frequently asked question for us women is, how do you get more women at the tables? But I find this question here much more interesting: How do we support women who have already found their way to the table? I want to change that and that’s why I created the Herzdamen Club to start getting stronger. ”
We understand the group as a set of interpersonal relationships that reveal habits, customs, beliefs and values, and from this network, women can receive support. The existence of daily links and dialogues ends up being fundamental for helping situations of difficulties in the reports of prejudice, activism and commitment to help each other. The Herzdamen Club fosters understanding and global female connection, providing support for the establishment of opportunities for women. In the interview, Natalie tells us that “I don’t think poker organizations are doing enough to get more women playing. I believe that when a woman sits at a table in most places, she is sometimes intimidated even to play with. I felt like that many times. We definitely need more initiatives to bring more women to Poker because it is a game for everyone and therefore men and women can play at the same level. The direction I wanted to go with this group is more about women being comfortable being themselves by supporting, learning, and developing together. Sharing our experiences (also off the table) and empowering all women in this group is my goal with this initiative”.
Problematizing the social configuration from the testimonies of women from various geographical locations and generations, the growth of adepts is large. The Herzdamen Club is still at the beginning of the journey, but its density is solid. Natalie believes the group still connects strong women, who become Girl Boss in the field that they want to: “I’m sure in my group I will connect women who would never know each other in real life. And that is amazing. Every woman has a strength and a different knowledge so we can help each other in many ways”, she says.
It was through Natalie and discussions with other members that I was able to observe and follow other feminist poker networks mentioned in this virtual environment. The Fantastic Ladies in Poker (FLIP) and the Women’s Poker Association are perhaps the largest global female gaming community on Facebook, with over 3,000 women today.
As we reflect on the extent of our group at Telegram, we also observe the relationships of exchange between women and members of the online network. Participating women have better supportive relationships, declaring strong bonds with each other since the moment of creation on December 23rd. The indicator of proximity and geographical distance also highlights particularities, reflections and intimacies that eventually brought this group of women closer, such as Natalie’s maternity, and so many other accounts made in Herzdamen that are truly and sincerely exchanged life experiences. They are powerful women seeking to evolve together. They are women united globally for the purpose of improving in poker, they are women united in strength and willingness to help each other.
Finally, I’d like to leave a message from Natalie here, which somehow connects with my last 2019 column, “Egos and Legos on the BSOP Millions red carpet.” Realize that our voices are rising and crossing continents. “For all the poker pros in the world: look back and help other women succeed. To really change something, we need to start supporting and really connecting with each other. If a woman wins, you win too. And for all women who want to become professionals or just want to connect: don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you really want something, go ahead and don’t be afraid to fail, ”is her tip.
May we start the year with love at heart and furious female poker at the tables. GL All! Until next week!