Any Casino Malaysia game, anywhere. It is nice to see poker becoming more popular with women. At Pub poker, the type I play the most, about one in ten players is female, and the ratio has been slowly increasing.

My experience is women will generally beat most of the men at the table in the early to mid game where finer skill and judgment is required, but then lose out in the latter rounds. The much higher blinds and smaller relative chip stakes make aggression and risk taking much more important, and males, especially after a few beers, tend to fare better than their fairer counterparts.

I try to avoid going heads up against a female player. For a start, they might indicate they have a particular type of hand, I automatically assume they have a different hand, but then find they were telling the truth! Poker is a game of deception, Misleading someone by telling the truth is just plain sneaky.

But more often, it is impossible to tell what sort of a hand they have, because whether it is a low pair or a royal flush it will be played the same way – meekly calling every bet I make – until the river and then the question comes “How much do you have left? Oh, only that much, well I put you all in”. It’s terrible, I never know where I stand.

An absolute master of that play is poker professional Jennifer Harman. In the 2004 WPT Aruba Classic she is playing against some of the toughest opponents in the world. Because of the hole card cam, we can see she has the nut hand. Phil Hellmuth opens the betting, Jen calls. After the flop, Phil bets out again, Jen sits their thinking, looking like a little lost waif (with the nut hand mind you), and just calls. On the turn, Phil bets again, now committing almost half his chip stack.

Jen looks very sad, that big bully Phil picking on little Jennifer with his much better hand and much bigger chip stack. So she just calls. The river comes and Phil makes two pair. Sure that he has the best hand he makes a value bet to get a few extra chips from poor Jen. As quick as she can Jen shoves in all her chips and announces All In. Phil looks surprised, very surprised, he tries to talk to Jen to get a read on what she might have. Jen of course is back in ‘sad little girl’ mode again and just stares at the table. Phil says “All right, I guess you want me to call you so I call”. Jen flips over the nut straight, which she had since the flop, and takes the pot.

The thing is you see, that a great player like Phil Hellmuth knew in the back of his mind exactly what Jennifer was doing, new he was being played for sucker, but was still powerless to stop his natural male aggression pushing more and more chips into the pot. I think if more women played poker, not just Phil, but many of the top players would not have as many bracelets as they do.

I see that in pub poker all the time. Guys betting hard to push a female out of the pot, she just calling every bet until the cards are turned and taking down the pot with a better hand.

So here are my rules for that situation:

– When they are in a pot, they always have a hand

– When they call bet or a raise, credit them with a hand hand as if they had made a re-raise. You are probably beat.

– When they call a second bet, you are almost certainly beat. Check the hand down if you can

– Understand that they have a much better read on you than you have on them and you can never push them off a hand with a big raise, you will just lose even more chips

– Often, even with a monster hand they will not raise or if they do it will be a min raise. Treat any raise as if it were ten times bigger before you call it.

– if you hear “how much do you have left” you are done. Fold.