PokerStars Ambassador Jen Shahade: Philly Poker Players are “Passionate”
Jen Shahade, who resides in Philadelphia, told PokerNews that her hometown has “passionate” poker players during the PokerStars Summer Series at Live! Hotel & Casino Philadelphia.
The PokerStars ambassador didn't have to go far — about 20 minutes — to register for Day 1b of the $2,200 buy-in series finale, which features a $500,000 guaranteed prize pool. And it came at a time when she's made some news outside the poker community.
Stepping Away from US Chess
Shahade is a Woman Grandmaster (WGM) in chess and has served as the Director for the US Chess Women's Program since 2018, and has been with US Chess in some capacity since 2006. But due to, as she wrote earlier this week, the organization has “minimized or ignored” allegations of sexual assault. As such, she has stepped down from her long-held role.
In a Substack post titled, “I Am Leaving US Chess,” she revealed that, effective Sept. 7, she left the chess program she started four years earlier.
“After I went public in February with a viral tweet about being assaulted by a prominent Grandmaster, things escalated quickly,” Shahade wrote.
Despite her efforts to bring attention to the issue, as she explained in her Substack post, she was “met with hostility” instead of support, and a lawyer representing US Chess advised her to be “mindful” that her actions could jeopardize the organization. Due to the unsupportive response, she could no longer continue in her role.
Shahade's passion for inclusion isn't just exclusive to chess. She wants it in all facets of life, including poker.
“I think that when a woman is doing great in poker and playing well, give her a shout out, boost her on social media,” Shahade advises. “Even if there's no woman at your poker table — PokerStars, Poker Powher are trying to change that — but if there's no woman at your poker table, imagine that there is one there and don't let guys get away with saying b******t.”
PokerStars Ambassador Loves the Philly Poker Scene
Shahade, who has long been outspoken about equal rights and supportive of women in poker and chess, wasn't at the Summer Series to discuss the US Chess situation. She showed up to compete for what could turn out to be a $1 million prize pool.
At the time of publishing, there were just under 100 players registered for Day 1b with registration open until 9:00 p.m. On Day 1a, 95 players signed up, and Day 1c (Saturday) is expected to be massive. That wouldn't come as a surprise to the chess and poker star who lives nearby.
“It is my hometown, it is where I grew up, it's where I live now. I love Philadelphia. To see live poker come here from PokerStars, it's like really a dream come true,” Shahade said.
The city of Philadelphia has produced a number of great poker players over the years, including Shahade, Joe McKeehen, Matt Glantz, John Hennigan, Kane Kalas, and many others.
How would Shahade describe the average Philadelphia poker player?
“Passionate about the game,” she responded. “Come on, we're Philly, this is a place where we have very passionate sports fan, very passionate poker players, so I'm really looking forward to jumping in (the PokerStars Summer Series).”
Shahade is correct in that Philadelphia is a passionate sports town. That passion appears to trickle over to poker in the “City of Brotherly Love.”
Follow Shahade's Run in Event #3 at PokerNews
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