Casino Inside magazine, invited by PokerStars to the European Poker Tour Monte Carlo 2022, had the pleasure of meeting Jennifer Shahade, PokerStars Ambassador. Enthusiastic, energetic, passionate, poker player and chess Grandmaster, successful commentator and writer, Jennifer Shahade always keeps her smile and is full of positive energy. It’s impossible not to think superlative when you’re around her.
Shahade, a passionate advocate for the promotion of women in poker and chess, has numerous conferences and seminars on the subject and is a constant advocate. The interview with Jennifer Shahade at the PokerStars European Poker Tour Monte Carlo 2022 was marked only by regret that time is running out too quickly.
Poker player, chess player, commentator and writer. How do you manage to do all these things at such a high level? Do you have time for other activities?
Oh, thank you very much! Well, I think the reason is that I’ve been working very hard in the chess and poker world for many years, so I don’t do all of them at once. I mean, I take breaks. Right now, my main goals are poker and writing, also promoting the game of chess among women.
I wish I had more time, but I love these things and I’m lucky to be doing things I love, but it’s still hard to do them all, meaning time management can be difficult.
Why poker? Why did you choose to play poker?
When I first started playing poker I loved the game and was drawn to the community around it and the lifestyle with traveling to championships and once I started playing more seriously it really grabbed me.
What chess skills and qualities do you apply to poker?
I think I liked the fact that I was able to play poker more easily because I play chess. Even though chess isn’t poker, it’s been an advantage to me I would say. An advantage of understanding how to play poker.
I think the fact that you have to study really hard. Study habits are very important. In chess you have to know how to study because there are so many options. With chess you realize that you have to study things that are very effective and that happen a lot. In poker you can take these things and learn what your approach should be. You definitely have to think about what you need to do in advance and not just what you need to do with what you have in your hand. So I guess it reminds me of chess, especially because I have a podcast sponsored by Pokerstars and the whole idea is that there’s a poker board, combinations of poker hands and you use those to do your study more effectively because you can put things in a certain light, which makes it easier to see the game situation, all the possible hands you can have.
Do you have a colleague/colleague you admire and learn from?
There are many good players in poker that I have studied over the years. Vanessa Selbst, to pick one woman poker player, is also Lex Veldhuis who has done wonderful things to delight people while also being an elite player. I think that’s incredible, it’s a very hard thing to do, to be personal and interact and play excellent poker at a high level, there are very few who can do it. There’s someone who plays in the high stakes circuits, Daniel Dvoress, who I love the way he thinks about the game and reminds me of a chess player who would think about poker. Those would be three I could think of.
Tell me about the No Limit Hold`em – FPS Monte-Carlo High Roller Event as a gaming experience?
It was incredible. I absolutely loved it. I love the people at the table. You can see that there is so much enjoyment to the game. I mean a lot of people have taken a few years off from live poker because of the global state of affairs. Everyone is grateful that we’re back and we can play this championship. You feel that energy. I think we’re all happy that we’re playing live poker again, because it’s something that you miss even though most of the time you’re playing online poker, I think live is a great motivator to keep working.
What are the most common mistakes you made when you started playing poker?
Uhm, well, I don’t understand a lot of things. I think one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made is not bluffing enough. So I need to learn to risk more.
What does Monte Carlo mean to you? Why is EPT Monte Carlo so special?
Monte Carlo was the first place I wanted to go to play live poker besides Las Vegas. The European poker tournament in Monte Carlo was my dream event because it seems like a place where poker is very well organized, but you also have time to explore the French Riviera and enjoy the food and the fashion and the weather. Exactly, this was my dream tournament.
Where do you see yourself in 10 or 15 years? What would you like to do when you retire or quit poker?
Well, I hope I’m still playing poker in 10 years. I’d like to draw more cards. I recently published Chess Queens and I have another book in the works called Thinking Sideways. It’s about how you can think about multiple options in your life and not just one option that you stare at and try to predict what’s going to happen. I think this thinking can be used in chess and poker. So this is my next book and I want to publish more books and continue to bring more women into these areas that are underrepresented like chess and poker.
3 tips for a beginner player?
I would say embrace fear and boredom. Both have something to give. Fear means you have an opportunity. Boredom means you’re doing well enough that you can bide your time. You have the ability to enjoy both of these emotional experiences that are uncomfortable. Another piece of advice would be to not… I think it seems very obvious that people discuss poker making, but I think people reveal a lot when… I would say be aware when you’re towards the end of the championship not to reveal how you’re feeling, for example if you’re tired or frustrated. It’s not just about poker makes during the hand, it’s also about poker makes that people don’t realize your approach to the championship.