Friday, 21st June 2024 17:01
Home / Poker / Jennifer Shahade wins Global Poker Award while talking poker and chess at MIT

Jennifer Shahade won her second Global Poker Index (GPI) award at the 2023 Global Poker Awards, which took place in Las Vegas in early March 2023.  

The two-time US Women’s chess champion, acclaimed author, and PokerStars Team Pro took down the Best Media Content: Written award for her Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article How Becoming a Poker Pro Helped Me Accept a Personal Tragedy.

“I was so happy to win,” she says. “I didn’t think I was going to.”

The article explores how the ups and downs of poker have helped her cope with loss and failure in her personal life. 

“It was a subject I’d wanted to write about for a while,” she says. “The editor reached out to me and asked me to write an essay, so I suggested this topic and he was in.”

Shahade’s win topped off an excellent night for Team PokerStars, which also saw James Hartigan pick up the award for Best Broadcaster.

TALKING POKER AND CHESS AT MIT

The 2020 GPI Awards was the last public event that Shahade attended before locking down for the pandemic. There, she picked up her first GPI award for Best Podcast for The GRID.

“I have really fond memories,” she says. “It was a wonderful night.”

She couldn’t attend this year’s ceremony, but with good reason.

Shahade was speaking at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston, where she sat on two exciting panels.

The first, titled Raising The Stakes: The Evolution of Poker Strategy, featured Shahade, 538’s Nate Silver, PokerStars commentator and Women in Poker Hall of Fame inductee Maria Ho, and professional poker player Xuan Liu. 

The discussion was moderated by entrepreneur, author, and host of the ‘Bet the Process’ podcast, Jeff Ma – one of the legendary blackjack players featured in Bringing Down the House.

RAISING THE STAKES

Here’s how the panel was described prior to the event:

How can analytic decision making in high stakes games of poker be applied to real life decisioning? What can we learn through the analytics of human behaviour and how different game strategies can be applied to real world situations? 

Discover how to identify, analyze and leverage key metrics present in everyday games of poker, blackjack and chess to make more informed decisions in all aspects of your life. 

Join 538’s Nate Silver, professional poker player Jennifer Shahade and Women in Poker Hall of Fame Inductee Maria Ho for a wide ranging conversation on poker’s trendiest strategy, whether the rise in analytics in poker has truly evened the playing field, and the potential implications for the future of high stakes poker.

“I thought it was a good way to get poker out there,” says Shahade. “We looked at the more positive signs of poker, like the ways you can use the analytics, probabilities and theories you learn in poker to approach life.

“Obviously that has a lot in common with what my article was about, so it did feel very up my alley.”

The second panel Shahade sat on was The Chess Renaissance: Modern Challenges for an Ancient Game which also featured top chess grandmasters Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana, as well as host Danny Rensch, the Chief Chess Officer at Chess.com, and Daryl Morey, President of Basketball Operations at the Philadelphia 76ers.

“POKER GIVES SO MANY GREAT INSIGHTS”

Shahade feels that the poker industry could do more to bring the game to a wider audience and highlight how poker can be useful for everyday life.

“We’ve seen some attempts, like Maria Konnikova’s book [The Biggest Bluff] and a lot of the great podcasts out there,” says Shahade.

But from what she has witnessed in the chess world, Shahade feels like there’s a lot more work to do.

“Chess has such mainstream and academic buy-in,” she says. “Poker has that in certain circles, like the sports analytics and economics worlds, but it’s not as widespread as chess.

“Poker just gives so many great insights. You can look at it from a theoretical point of view or even just a fun point of view. 

“There are so many different ways you can look at poker, but if you don’t know about it – or you haven’t seen it conveyed like that – then you’re not going to understand the positive aspects. So it was cool to present more of that at the conference.”

TWO BOOKS IN THE WORKS

With no more trips planned until the European Poker Tour (EPT) in Monte Carlo at the end of April, Shahade now plans to spend the next month writing.

She’s currently working on two book projects simultaneously. 

“One is called Thinking Sideways and it’s about using chess and poker to better approach life and success,” she says.

But Shahade – whose most recent book, 2022’s Chess Queens, was a massive success – is also working on a follow-up to her 2005 book Play like a Girl.

“It’s going to be called Attack like a Girl and it will look at chess positions from great female players,” she says.

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