Beth Shak: The Poker Player in Those Amazing Shoes
Written by Amy Zupko
Tuesday, 27 September 2011 09:29
Beth Shak caught poker’s eye at the final table of the 2007 WSOP $3K buy-in No-Limit Hold'em event. With friends and family on the rail to support her, Beth brought determination and skill to beat out a field of over 800 players including a final table of poker professionals; such as: founding member of the “Tiltboys,” Perry Friedman and 11 time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth.
Beth shared a World Series of Poker history moment in that tournament as well. In hand #47 of the final table, three players were all in with A-A, A-A and K-K. Beth split the pot with Helmuth when their aces held up against Brett Richey’s Kings. After taking out Phil Hellmuth, Beth ended the tournament in second place with a prize of over $300K.
Beth started playing poker in free play games online in 2002. Little by little, she built up her bankroll and confidence to play real money stakes and in 2004, she decided to play professionally. Entering the live poker arena was very different for Beth, as it is for many women. She had to learn to play under the gazes of the men, who at the time were not completely adjusted to women playing in the male dominated card rooms. She quickly earned the respect of the other players and was able to overcome her insecurities and move beyond the intimidation.
“I am thankful for women’s events,” Beth proclaims. “The WSOP Ladies Event (where she took 8th place) was only my second tournament. And even though I do not play in ladies only events anymore, I feel they are a great place for women to start. They helped me to get my feet wet and gain the courage to play in mixed events and to realize that women are just as good as men.”
Beth continues to fund her own poker career. “Unlike many others in the industry, I have been backing my own poker career,” she says. “I am not the type to put my home or my children’s future on the line to play. I am lucky to have a large home and children who have bright futures ahead of them. I need to make sure those needs are met before I play. The option for me to go broke just isn’t there”
Because of Beth’s commitments to her family, she is not able to play nearly as much as she would like but is in hot pursuit of her long-time, ultimate goal - a WSOP bracelet. “I have set out to get a bracelet,” she adds, “and I will get one. It might just take me a little more time.”
There is more to Beth Shak than just being the average poker player. The 40-something mom of three loves clothes, fashion and has a fondness that she shares with many women for shoes. Recently she was cited as having a wardrobe of 1,200 pairs of shoes that are primarily vintage and designer shoes - a feat that most of us can only dream about.
Beth’s love of shoes started as a young girl. When she was 13. her mother would not allow her to wear high heels so Beth resigned herself to wearing sneakers and other shoes appropriate for her age. But once she was old enough, Beth found a love of fashion and shoes.
“I loved shoes even when I was a kid. I never set out to own this many; it has just happened over the years. ”
Beth is appearing in the documentary “God Save My Shoes” which delves into the relationship between women and their ‘sole-mates.” God Save My Shoes is set to premier in Paris in the upcoming months.
Aside from shoes, fashion. and poker Beth has started her own clothing line which can be found on her website www.bethshak.com . She has a patent for new hospital gowns that maintain a modest and efficient design. Now that the patent process is complete, Beth plans on working on producing these gowns in the future.
Under the media spotlight, Beth has appeared at multiple events at the Playboy Mansion, on MTV Cribs, and in YRB Magazine’s “Rock It” fashion spread, as well as on the popular television show Millionaire Matchmaker. Though she was not able to find her match on television, Beth has a new beau, a non-poker playing Navy police officer.
“I really like that he does not play poker,” says Beth. “It is nice to be able to talk about other things that happen in our day. He supports my poker career, but he has no desire to be part of that world. I like that I can have a life that is separate from poker.”
Aside from presenting a solid image for women in poker, Beth lends much of her time to charity and philanthropic endeavors. She has recently partnered with the Wish upon a Hero Foundation to auction off her one-of-a-kind custom designed Walter Steiger pink stilettos. The money raised will help grant “wishes” for the families of military and public service personnel. Beth also partners with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Penn Veterinary Medicine.