This is Part 3 of our five-part series recapping (in no particular order) the biggest stories of the year from the world of poker.

In this installment we’ll take a look at:

  • Women (or lack thereof) in poker causes robust debate
  • WSOP Colossus ushers in new kind of poker tournament
  • Vanessa Rousso Big Brother finalist
  • Nevada and Delaware form first interstate online poker network in the U.S.
  • Pennsylvania on the cusp of passing an online gambling expansion bill

#15 – Women in poker debate heats up

Over the course of 2015 the question of why there are so few women in poker (and what the poker world can do about it) came up several times, with everyone from Daniel Negreanu to Vanessa Selbst weighing in on the topic in some way, shape, or form.

Opinions varied widely, but virtually everyone agrees that there is an underlying issue or issues that is keeping female attendance in poker tournaments in the 5% range.

In addition to the big name players and the usual commentators on all things poker, we also saw a number of new thoughtful female voices emerge in large part because of this particular issue. Three poker playing females, Cate Hall, Melissa Burr, and Danielle Moon Anderson (as well as others), all decided that it was time to highlight the issues women face in poker and force the larger poker  world to work on solutions.

Daniel Negreanu’s Latest QOTD About Women in Poker Leads to Twitter Backlash

Opinion: Cate Hall on Poker’s Woman Problem

Sexism and Misogyny in Poker

Why Most Women Don’t Play Poker

#14 – The Colossus sets records

The 2015 World Series of Poker was marked by a number of peaks (Daniel Negreanu’s Main Event run) and valleys (Cheating scandals), and arguably the biggest peak was the incredible numbers the $565 Colossus tournament created and the records its set.

The Colossus produced over 22,000 entries, from around 11,000 unique entrants; easily setting the attendance record for a single tournament at the World Series of Poker. But beyond the event’s numbers, the Colossus had a ripple effect throughout Las Vegas, as waiting lists in Las Vegas poker rooms swelled to over 3,000 names according the Bravo App.

The event was so successful the WSOP is bringing it back (with a few minor tweaks) for 2016.

Let’s Face It: The WSOP Colossus Was Awesome

WSOP Colossus Is A Colossal Success With Huge Crowds, Long Lines

Event #5: $565 “The Colossus” No-Limit Hold’em

WSOP Controversy: Players Take Issue With Less Than Colossal First-Place Prize

A Dramatic End to the Colossus

The Colossus Bump: an Early Look

#13 – Vanessa Rousso polarizes on Big Brother

Over the years a number of poker players have appeared on reality TV shows, from Jean Robert-Bellande on Survivor, to Annie Duke on Celebrity Apprentice, to Maria Ho and Tiffany Michele on the Amazing Race. And in 2015 we saw Vanessa Rousso appear on the hit show Big Brother.

Rousso’s time on Big Brother was somewhat contentious, as she tried to manipulate the other players by any means necessary, something that caused her to become a very polarizing player among viewers. Rousso nearly made it to the finale of the show and was considered the favorite to win for much of the season, but in the end it wasn’t meant to be, and Vanessa exited the show in third place.

Vanessa Rousso reflects on ‘amazing’ ‘Big Brother’ experience

‘Big Brother’s’ Steve Moses knows he had no shot against Vanessa Rousso

Rumors Say “The Fix Is In” For Vanessa Rousso to Win “Big Brother”

#12 – Interstate online poker launched

After signing an agreement back in 2014 that would see the two states join their online poker industries, Delaware and Nevada finally consummated their relationship in March of 2015, launching the first interstate online poker network in the United States.

So far the returns have been modest, but from a technical standpoint this was a very big deal, and something that makes future online poker expansion a far more streamlined and appealing endeavor in smaller states.

Nevada, Delaware Launch Shared Player Pools for Online Poker

Delaware / Nevada Online Poker Pooling: A Technical Success With Minimal Traffic Impacts

#11 – Pennsylvania appears poised to join the iGaming ranks

As the poker community looked on in disgust as California stumbled and bumbled through yet another failed opportunity to pass an online poker bill, a new, far more serious, candidate for online gambling expansion emerged on the opposite coast: Pennsylvania.

Beginning in February, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, led by Gaming Oversight Chairman John Payne, made a ton of progress on an online gambling bill. Even though they didn’t get online gambling across the finish line in 2015, they appear to be ready to seal the deal in early 2016… of course, the poker community has been let down before, so nothing is official until it’s a official.

A Second Bill Outlines A Radically Different Path Forward For Pennsylvania Online Gambling

Rep. Payne On His Pennsylvania Online Gambling Bill: Most Lawmakers Are “Open-Minded”

Everything You Need To Know About Pennsylvania’s Online Gambling Bill

Pennsylvania Rep. John Payne: Bill Legalizing Online Gambling Is Alive And Well