Ed Scimia of CardsChat.com recently had an exclusive interview with female poker pro Jennifer Shahade at the Palms Hotel and Casino’s PokerStars Playhouse, located in Las Vegas. PokerStars is upgrading its software in Las Vegas besides streaming live videos on Twitch and offering several opportunities for poker players to interact with members of Team PokerStars.

Scimia and Shahade discussed the relationship between the games of poker and chess and ended the interview with a game of chess.

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Shahade is popular not only as a poker player, but also as a chess player. Before becoming PokerStars’ mind sports ambassador, she had won the US Women’s Chess Championship twice, once in 2002 and again in 2004. Shahade continues to hold the Woman Grandmaster title and provides commentaries at elite chess tourneys although she has stopped playing competitive chess. She has also authored Chess Bitch: Women in the Ultimate Intellectual Sport.

She told Scimia that she is having a good time at the WSOP although “it has been a little bit rushed” as she had to rush to St. Louis to provide the commentary for the Grand Chess Tour’s first event. She said that she loves being at the WSOP and wishes to “play all of the tournaments, play cash games, and hang out with my friends, because all of my favorite people are here.”

Relating the story of how she became PokerStars’ mind sports ambassador, she said that PokerStars had once “decided to become more heavily involved in chess.” Although PokerStars had been associated with the US Chess League for the past many years, the online poker room desired to host a chess tournament at the international level on the Isle of Man. Shahade said that she “helped out with the organization for that.” PokerStars decided that she fitted perfectly in the role of mind sports ambassador as she was associated with both chess and poker.

Regarding her interest in Open Face Chinese Poker, she said: “It’s fun to use your brain in a new way. I think that’s what’s really cool here.”

She further said that poker could learn from the fact that chess “has a lot of prestige attached to it.” Speaking of the need to retain the “perception of skill” in poker games despite the fact that it could be intimidating, she said that it “keeps the game more prestigious and makes people want to get better at the game and play more.”

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