Pocket Queens

Women, Poker, Memoir and Perifeminist Strategies


  • Julie Rak University of Alberta






Approaches from the humanities that understand poker as a culture (rather than as a gambling pathology or an isolated gaming activity) can help to highlight the voices and stories of women and connect them to feminist and gender research. Stories by individual women who may or may not be feminists can be most usefully described as “perifeminist,” a description of the strategies to cope with sexism that do not necessarily involve either confrontation or negation. Understanding women’s poker stories within this framework can bring depth and breadth to the representation of female poker players in popular journalism, which generally characterizes female players as objects or accessories for male players.  In this article, I analyze the gender politics of memoirs by Annie Duke and Victoria Coren, prominent female players whose texts are widely read, because these memoirs are a good place to look for perifeminist strategies and a sense of what being part of poker culture involves for women. Looking for and noticing the stories of female players and contextualizing them as part of the everyday experiences of gender politics can do much to make the lives of poker playing women more visible, and worthy of critical attention.

Author Biography

Julie Rak, University of Alberta

Julie Rak holds the Henry Marshall Tory Chair in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta, Canada. Her latest book is False Summit: Gender in Mountaineering Nonfiction (2021). She has written many other books, collections and articles about nonfiction, popular culture and print culture.




How to Cite

Rak, J. (2022). Pocket Queens: Women, Poker, Memoir and Perifeminist Strategies. Critical Gambling Studies, 3(1), 1–11. https://doi.org/10.29173/cgs103



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