Women’s History Month: Beth Shak (Poker)
Added by Gregg Snyder on March 26, 2012.
Is Poker a sport? or just a game? Regardless of your opinion on that, Double G Sports moves to the table today as we continue our Women in Sports celebration. When you think poker, most of you will think of men doing the gambling. Well Beth Shak has something to say about that. She’s one of the few women that has made a name for themselves playing poker. She’s also very much into fashion. Beth took a few minutes to talk with Double G Sports…
When did you start playing poker and when did you realize you could make a professional career out of it?
I started playing in 2005. It was never my intention to become a “professional poker player.” I loved the game and from 2005-2008 had a great run. My business was always fashion.
Poker and card playing in general was known more as a guy thing. How difficult was it to gain respect at the table?
I find in general being a woman it’s harder to get respect being a career woman. There is still a certain perception that a woman doesn’t have the ability to be a mother and be successful at business. The Today Show just had a feature piece on how women tend to be less assertive around men in business.
You are big into family. How often do random family card games start up? Who in the family provides the biggest challenge for you?
I love fooling around with my kids and playing cards. The fun part now is my older son can legally play poker anywhere. As for being challenged, my 15 year old is GOOD!
All sports have rivalries, and whether you consider Poker to be a sport or a game, I’m sure there are rivalries at the table. Is there a particular person you have a rivalry with?
I really don’t have a rivalry. I don’t care who beats me, I just want to win when I play.
You have played poker in many places and tournaments including the World Series of Poker and the Ace’s & Angels Tournament at the Playboy Mansion. What has been your single favorite event?
I really love playing in the charity events. Yes, the WSOP is great and I want to win the coveted WSOP bracelet but I have a blast meeting interesting people and raising money for great causes at charity events.
You seem to be very big into fashion, is it important to you to look good at the table?
I have loved fashion for as long as I can remember. I had a vintage designer clothing business for 10 years. I care about looking together, it’s not about “looking good at the table.”
You have a massive collection of designer shoes. We hear it’s over 1,200 pairs. How did this start, and is there one particular pair that is your favorite?
It started when I was 13 years old and my mom bought me my first pair of Candies to the time I started working at 13, baby-sitting and buying shoes. When I started in the fashion business it helped me acquire even more rare pairs. I have soooo many I love.
Wish Upon a Hero, Redlight Campaign, and PAWS are just a few of the charities you’ve supported and done work with. How important is charity work to you?
Charity work is one of the most important things I do. I’ve always felt that I need to give back. I feel fulfilled when I’m helping other people.
Beth knows her fashion just as much as she knows her poker!
What else are you currently working on outside of the poker rooms? We haev heard the possibility of some clothing lines.
I haven’t played cash games in a while. I’m back to focusing on fashion again…for now.
Do you ever go to the local casinos to just relax, have fun, and play some games. For example, Sands in Bethlehem, PA or down to Atlantic City? Do you have a favorite local spot?
If I have a favorite spot it’s the Borgata (Atlantic City). Yes, I do sometimes just go to play. My biggest problem is my two best friends have no idea how to play!
More and more women are appearing in the poker scene, but it’s still a male majority. Would you like to see this change and what can be done to make that happen?
I think it’s great that women play. Women have great instincts. The more women that play the more women you’ll see winning.
Beth with SOME of her massive shoe collection
Beth Shak has a website with more information about her, her poker career, and fashion. You can also follow her on Twitter @bethshak.
Previous Women’s History Month Interviews: