David Hughes Wins Seminole Ladies Event at WPT Hard Rock Poker Showdown, Twitter Reacts

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A Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown ladies event has been won by David Hughes. No, that’s not a typo, a man called David is now a ladies event champion.

david hughes
David Hughes, a poker player from Florida, has won a ladies event at the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown. (Image: Twitter/Ebony_Kenney)

Hughes, a poker player from Florida, took advantage of local state laws over the weekend by entering the $250 ladies event at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. As per Florida state law, casino employees can’t stop men from entering female-only events, so Hughes sat down to play.

To say his presence in the tournament caused a reaction would be an understatement. Not only were comments flying in from all corners of social media, pros were putting bounties on his head. However, despite pressure from all sides, Hughes won the event for $5,555.

Women band together at WPT Seminole

Men entering women’s events is nothing new. It’s happened multiple times at the WSOP over the last two decades. However, with efforts to increase female participation reaching new levels in recent years, the events at WPT Seminole were in danger of setting the industry back.

Fortunately, for the sake of those efforts and women in poker, the community’s condemnation of the result was swift and definitive. Poker pro Ebony Kenney played in the event and put up $300 for anyone who busted Hughes. Others joined in and the bounty was soon worth more than $1,500.

In fact, even Hughes offered a bounty to anyone who put the final nail in his coffin (he’d already re-entered twice by that point). Kenney described the gesture as entering into the “spirit” of the situation, even though everyone would have preferred there wasn’t a situation in the first place.

Things apparently took a turn, however, when Hughes was heads-up against Dayanna Ciabaton. According to Kenney, Hughes revoked his $100 bounty after losing a 6:1 chip lead. He was also rude to the dealer, as per Kenney’s tweet.

Hughes eventually took back control of the match to scoop the third biggest win of his career. While there’s no disputing the result, members of the poker community saw it as anything but a win for Hughes or the industry at large.

Pros react to David Hughes winning WPT Seminole ladies event

Kenney didn’t hide her contempt for Hughes, as evidenced by the tweet below.

Abby Merk, who finished third, took the result in her stride but called for Hughes (and other men) not to do it again.

“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,” Merk tweeted.

Among the contempt were some legitimate concerns about men who identify (or claim to identify) as women and how that can affect ladies events.

Charlie Carrell said that Hughes entering the event “pokes fun at the idea anyone can identify as a woman and be allowed to enter women’s spaces.” Matt Glantz was less diplomatic.

He acknowledged that Hughes made a “d**k” move but, had he identified as a woman, nobody would have criticized it. That point may or may not be valid, but it takes away from the wider discussion about men entering ladies events.

More women are finding success in poker thanks, in part, to efforts by organizations such as the WPT. Hughes winning a WPT ladies event won’t cause those efforts to completely crumble. Indeed, as you can see from Kenney’s video and the tweet below, the women who played were confident and content enough to laugh at the situation.

However, men entering ladies events isn’t something the majority of people want to see happen again at the WPT or in any other tournaments.

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