Poker League of Nations continues promoting game to women during COVID-19

Jon Sofen
Published by:
Posted on August 5, 2020 9:21 pm EDT

The live poker scene around the world, especially in the United States, has taken a fall since March due to COVID-19. But Lena Evans, founder of the largest women’s poker organization in the world, has continued to grow the game among women through various safe activities.

Evans founded the Poker League of Nations in 2017 with the goal of bringing more women to the game. And she’s been quite successful in her quest over the past few years. PLON has members all around the world, and some well-known ambassadors such as Barbara Enright, the only female to reach the WSOP Main Event final table, Kitty Kuo, and poker author Maria Konnikova.

The strategy of PLON has changed a bit in recent months for Evans. Her members missed out on the annual gatherings at the World Series of Poker due to the 2020 series being cancelled. She told Poker.org she misses those meetings, getting to see her members in person, having drinks and playing cards with them.

But she loves the game of poker and takes pride in bringing women into the game. Women represent just a small portion of the poker community. Each year, the WSOP Main Event attracts over 7,000 entrants, but only about 4% are women.

Poker League of Nations events during COVID-19 pandemic

A lack of social gatherings hasn’t stopped Evans from keeping her group together. PLON’s recent activities have included a Women’s Poker World Championship online poker event. Team Latin America topped the 18-country field — 188 players total — to win the event.

Carmen-Elina Vist of Team Estonia, however, was the individual champion. She won a PLON signature Tiffany & Co. silver heart tag charm bracelet, a $350 value.

“The tournament was very enjoyable,” said Vist. “I enjoyed the deep stack at the beginning and although I fell to 25bb at first, the card gods supported me and I got the stack up pretty quickly.

Vist defeated Team Mexico’s Natasha Velez heads-up to take it down. She got it all-in with pocket aces against Q-9, and the best hand held up.

PLON continues to provide additional opportunities for women in poker despite COVID-19.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to safely have some group outings in person soon,” Evans told Poker.org. “In the meantime, we’re focusing on online events and giving our ladies opportunities to compete in WSOP bracelet events.”

PLON principals fully staked four women for the recently completed $1,000 WSOP.com Championship bracelet event, as well as sent Las Vegas’ Sarah Howell into the $400 no-limit hold’em FreezeOut tournament during the same series. Howell won a 95-player Freeroll Staking Event hosted by the PLONpower Investment Group.

During COVID-19, the PLON donor’s league plays online frequently, four times per week. The women’s poker organization has also recently hosted a senior’s event and has a Lucky 8 tournament upcoming this weekend. A global health pandemic won’t stop Evans and her group from continuing to promote women in poker.