A documentary on the women of poker

 Poker has been a male-dominated card game since time immemorial. It certainly is a struggle for female poker players to participate in a male-dominated competitive professional sport. Elucidating these struggles is poker documentary ‘Cracking Aces’ that recently made its debut and is now available for public viewing. The 53-minute documentary produced by Tracy Halcomb and directed by H. James Gilmore was released in 2018 and did it’s rounds in film festivals. However, its final delivery for a wider public consumption occurred only this month.

Cracking Aces tells the fascinating story of the pioneering women who broke through the glass ceiling of professional poker according to the film’s trailer. The film stars a large number of poker’s most famous female figures and shares their inspirational stories of how they found a place in the poker world while battling rampant sexism. Jan Fisher, Susie Isaacs, Vanessa Kade, Mario Ho, Lupe Soto, Linda Johnson, Kara Scott, Jennifer Harman and Jeanne David to name a few have shared screen time in this insightful documentary. The key take away certainly is how these women outclassed their male counterparts despite the harrowing banter.

The film’s synopsis is this:

Long before the #MeToo movement, a handful of young poker players challenged stereotypes and battled a hostile environment where women were often abused, insulted, and sexually harassed. Despite the fact that some of the top-ranked players in the world are now female, terms like “girls on the rail” and “hot girls of poker” remain common in the industry, objectifying women and diminishing their potential. But in the last decade, the Internet—and the anonymity that it provides—has been a factor in opening up the game of poker to an increasing number of women, and today more women are challenging the barriers of professional poker and learning to use gender to their advantage.

 The producer, Halcomb, goes onto talk about shortsighted men who’d still prefer that a woman simply polish the glass ceiling instead of break it. Although he’d like to believe the number is dwindling, the message of the film was for everyone who plays poker, not just women. Creating a change and a more inclusive atmosphere in the poker industry is of utmost importance and the documentary set out to do just that.

While the smaller events have witnessed a higher percentage of participation from women in recent times, the high priced live events remain 95% dominated by men. As the documentary captures, participation by women is higher where screen names provide some shelter from the abuse. Cracking Aces represents another hammer blow against some of the worst offenses, hoping to create a better poker world for everyone.

Certainly worth an hour of any poker fan’s time. Catch the trailer here.