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First women-owned poker club in Rio Grande Valley set to open

3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago Friday, July 02 2021 Jul 2, 2021 July 02, 2021 9:23 AM July 02, 2021 in News - Local

Two Mission business owners are getting ready for their grand opening.

They say it's the first women-owned poker club in the Valley and they want to encourage more women to get into the game.

"It's something that brings people together,” said Bluff RGV owner Samantha Gonzalez.

Gonzalez plays for fun but has also placed in the poker world series.

"I've been playing poker professionally for about 18 years,” Gonzalez said.

Only about four percent of the world series poker players have been women, according to Cardschat, a global poker organization.

Gonzalez feels women are often discouraged to play. 

"They sometimes can have this cantina kind of feel, they may feel unsafe,” Gonzalez said. “And that's why we wanted to do Bluff RGV.”

Gonzalez's business partner, Sarahi Duarte, isn't a professional, but felt empowered to join the game.

"I've always wanted to learn, and she's teaching me,” Duarte said.

Duarte says the beauty of poker is that people from all walks of life gather around a table and have a good time.

Taking a cut of gambling proceeds is illegal for these types of businesses. So to break even, Bluff RGV rents a seat at the table and charges membership fees.

They officially open July 9.

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