It’s not a game for (only) boys: the portrait of Terry King, the first female poker player in history

While there are numerous examples of women winning at green tables, poker remains primarily a male game in the collective imagination.

The cliché is arguably hard to die also because the story of our beloved game has always focused on male characters.

In fact, a female poker player was already at her side when Doyle Brunson, Chip Reese, and Stu Ungar took poker out of the niche to give it a popular and mass dimension, at least in the United States.

His name is Terry King and this is his story.

The first steps

Terry King came to Las Vegas in 1972 at the age of 19, right out of high school. He learned to play poker by watching his friend Natalie, who was actually his coach with her husband.

In 1978, King won the bracelet in the Ladies Event and was one of the first women to play in the Main Event of the World Series Of Poker.

His relationship with Chip Reese began the following year: “In 1979, Chip asked me to play the mixed doubles event. Shortly after that he took over the Dunes poker room and asked me to play for him to get some action at the tables.”

The friendship soon grew into something bigger. The first date was themed “gambling romance”:

“The first time we went out with Chip, we went to Lake Tahoe to play blackjack.”

In reality, the couple wanted to help Stu Ungar count cards to help him repay a debt he incurred with very unsavory characters.

Farewell to Chip Reese

Terry King’s relationship with Chip Reese lasted five years. The two parted amicably. Terry left Las Vegas and moved to California to work for the Bicycle Club.

He also helped open Hollywood Park Casino, where he then worked as a manager for five years.

Bonus comparator

This comparator compares the welcome bonuses currently verifiable on Italian operator sites. This table is informational and the operators are displayed in random order.

Terry returned to Las Vegas several times during the 1990s to play World Series Of Poker events. Between 1991 and 1998 he had four cashes and two final tables.

It’s been twenty years since her last cash in a live poker tournament, in 2003 she finished second in a 7 Card Stud event in Inglewood, California.

But the passion for the two cards that has never waned…

Entry into the Pink Poker Hall Of Fame

Terry’s name made a comeback last year when she was selected as an inductee for the Women in Poker Hall of Fame.

In the race to enter the women’s poker gallery, King found an exceptional sponsor: Doyle Brunson.

“Vote Terry King for the Women’s Poker Hall Of Fame. She’s old school, long-time engaged to Chip Reese, and a great stud player!”

We don’t know how much Brunson’s support meant, but King was eventually chosen along with Vanessa Selbst, Jennifer Tilly and Angelica Hael.

As they say, “better late than never”: It has taken some time but his role as pink pioneer in the world of poker has finally been officially recognized.

There was great satisfaction for Terry, as can be seen in the lively speech at the awards ceremony:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *