Allyn Jaffrey-Shulman Wins First WSOP Gold Bracelet

Card Player Magazine Attorney and Writer Wins 2012 Seniors World Championship

Jaffrey-Shulman Breaks Female Non-Winning Streak at 249

Seniors World Championship Smashes Previous Attendance Record – 4,128 Players

Former November Niner Dennis Phillips Finishes as Runner Up

23 of 30 Gold Bracelets Won By Americans – To Date
2012 WSOP Midway Point Nears:  30 Gold Bracelets Won – 31 More at Stake!

Allyn Jaffrey-Shulman won the 2012 Seniors World Championship, which concluded in thrilling fashion today at the 2012 World Series of Poker, taking place at the Rio in Las Vegas.  The well-known Card Player Magazine attorney and writer collected $603,713 in prize money.

This year’s Seniors Event – open to players age 50 and over -- drew a whopping 4,128 entrants, making it the largest such event in poker history.  The turnout eclipsed last year’s number by more than 400 players.  In fact, this tournament was the largest single starting day field in poker history.

Jaffrey-Shulman topped a stellar final table that included some notable players -- including two-time gold bracelet winner Hoyt Corkins.  Dennis Phillips, best known for his third-place in the 2008 Main Event Championship, was the runner up this time to Jaffrey-Shulman.

The victory by a female in an event open to both genders breaks a long-running streak of 249 straight male winners of gold bracelet events.  Vanessa Selbst was the last female winner of a gold bracelet (aside from the annual Ladies World Championship).  Selbst's victory took place in 2008.

Jaffrey-Shulman is originally from Brooklyn, NY.  However, she spent much of her life in Los Angeles, where she worked as a criminal defense attorney for 25 years.  She now resides in Las Vegas.  Since joining the staff of Card Player Magazine, Shulman has not only served as legal counsel, she also works tirelessly as an advocate for the legalization of online poker in the United States.  Jaffrey-Shulman writes extensively about this important issue to the poker community and is one of the cause's most vocal and articulate voices.
This was Jaffrey-Shulman’s first WSOP gold bracelet victory following several previous deep runs, cashes, and final table appearances.  Her husband, Barry Shulman, and step-son, Jeff Shulman, both made final tables over the course of the past week – a WSOP first.

Jaffrey Shulman became the second female to win this event, following Claire Miller’s win in 2006.


Largest Seniors World Championship in history – at 4,128 entrants

Largest starting single-day of any poker tournament in history.

Biggest field in poker history -- with a female champion.

Streak of 249 consecutive open (to both genders) gold bracelet events without a female winner broken.

First time three family members have made WSOP final table appearances in the same year.

Name:  Allyn Jaffrey-Shulman

Age:  “Never ask a lady her age” (her reply)

Birthplace:  Brooklyn, NY

Former Career:  Criminal Defense Attorney in Los Angeles (25 years)

Current Residence:  Las Vegas, NV

Profession:  Attorney, Writer, Consultant

Number of Years Attending WSOP:  10

Number of WSOP Cashes:  6

Number of WSOP final table appearances:  2

Number of WSOP gold bracelet victories (with this tournament):  1

Best Previous WSOP finish:  6th (2005 – Omaha High-Low Split)

Total Career WSOP Earnings:  $688,479


Question:  Let’s start out with the streak which is 249 consecutive males winning gold bracelets and now you’ve broken the streak.  Do you think that’s important and, if so -- why?
Allyn:  I do think it’s important and I don’t think women have been given their due.  I’m happy for myself, but I’m happy for all women that I won this, showing that any woman can win a poker tournament.  I’d like to see more of them out there playing, feeling comfortable with going at it with the boys and winning.

Question:  You’ve done really everything in this business in terms of your legal representation fighting for online legalization, the writing you’ve done for Card Player, going back to the days in Los Angeles and then certainly now a gold bracelet victory.  Of all the things you’ve done in this game, is this the most fulfilling?
Allyn:  It’s an interesting question.  I don’t think it’s hit me yet.  I felt an odd calmness like I was going to win the tournament.  I did some things my best friend recently passed away and she had given me the necklace that I was wearing, so sometimes just to calm myself I would just hold the necklace and think of my friend, Stephanie, and just try to stay very calm and focused and not let a loss do anything to me, because in the game of poker, you win, you lose, there are good beats, there are bad beats, and so I just tried to have my best friend help me and my father also just helped me keep a calmness and a focus.

Question:  You’ve been traveling the world.  In fact some of us read the travel blog you and (husband) Barry write and it’s a really fascinating thing about world cultures and all that you’ve seen.  Talk about that.  When you go away from poker, you really go away far.  Talk to us about that and coming back to the game and the perspective you’ve gained from that.
Allyn:  Barry and I -- we usually travel for the first four or five months of the year.  We usually do a world cruise and we play almost no poker at all.  It’s a nice break from poker, but we always talk about poker.  We talk about poker, we read books, we analyze, and I think it’s invaluable to have people talking about poker, discussing poker, how to play hands, how to get away from a hand.  A winning player has to be able to fold aces.  You have to be able to recognize that there’s enough of a chance that you might be beat, that you should fold your hands.  Now sometimes people say that Phil Hellmuth, they say, ‘Oh, he’s not such a good player.’  I frankly think that he’s the best poker player in the world.  And I think he’s proven it and I’ve learned from his game.  One of the things that I’ve noticed is when he doesn’t know if has the best of it, he’s happy to fold it and he doesn’t care what people think about his play and he has the bracelets to prove that what he’s doing really works.  

Question:  Even without your victory, women have a fantastic start here at the World Series.  Why do you think that is?
Allyn:  We’re great!  It’s 2012.  As years go by, women become more and more comfortable in all fields.  Like for example, when I was a beginning lawyer, there were quite a lot of male lawyers and not a lot of female lawyers.  So slowly, in different fields, women are breaking into those fields and pretty soon it will be all even.  

Question:  Well you have bragging rights now over Barry and Jeff, because they made final tables as well, but couldn’t close out the win.  
Allyn:  I do have bragging rights, but I’m not going to use them!


The Seniors Poker Championship has been successful due in part to the efforts of “Oklahoma” Johnny Hale, who is known as the “Elder Statesman of Poker.”  Hale has organized many senior’s poker events over the years.  Prior to the start of this year’s Seniors Championship, Hale addressed the large crowd. He conducted the annual “Roll Call,” which provides for a moment of silence and reflection on behalf of many deceased poker greats, such as Benny Binion, Johnny Moss, “Amarillo Slim” Preston and others.  Hale is also the caretaker of the Seniors Poker Hall of Fame. During a break on the first day of play, all living members of the Seniors Poker Hall of Fame were photographed as a group on the main stage inside the Pavilion.

This year’s tournament awarded the famous “Golden Eagle” trophy, which is engraved with the winner’s name(s).  The trophy is a keepsake that is passed forward from champion to champion, similar to the tradition of the Stanley Cup in the National Hockey League.

To be eligible for entry into the Seniors No-Limit Hold’em Championship, the entrant must be age 50 or older -- which means the player had to have been born prior to June 17, 1962.

A tournament similar to the Seniors World Poker Championship was first played in 1993. It was spread at various locations in California and Nevada during the first eight years of its existence.  Then, in 2001 an exclusive event for seniors was added to the WSOP schedule.  Jay Heimowitz won the first official WSOP Seniors championship gold bracelet.

A woman has won the Seniors Championship just once previously (before Jaffrey-Shulman’s win this year).  That took place in 2006 when Clare Miller was the winner.

The oldest winner was Paul McKinney, who was 80-years-old when he won the Seniors Championship in 2005.  McKinney, from West Virginia made a famous quip following his victory. He shared his secret for success by saying, "I like moonshine whisky, big cigars and young women."

The Seniors event is a No-Limit Hold’em tournament. This has been the game since inception at the WSOP in 2001. The buy-in has always been $1,000.


This was classified as WSOP schedule Event #29, since it’s the twenty-ninth gold bracelet of 61 to be awarded this summer in Las Vegas.  The tournament was played over four consecutive days and nights, starting on Friday at noon and concluded on Monday afternoon.

The total duration of the final table was 9.5 hours, spread over two days.  Because of the huge field size, play was suspended during Day Three and an unscheduled Day Four was added, which included the final four playing down to the winner.

Dennis Phillips, who finished third in the 2008 WSOP Main Event Championship, was the runner up.  He had the chip leads at various stages late in the tournament.  But he was not able to overcome his final victorious adversary.

This was the largest Seniors World Championship in history.  The turnout of 4,128 players crushed the previous record set last year, which was 3,752 players.

The official WSOP gold bracelet ceremony takes place on the day following the winner’s victory (or some hours later when the tournament end very late).  The ceremony takes place inside Brasilia.  The ceremony begins at the conclusion of the first break of the noon tournament.  The ceremony usually starts around 2:20 pm.  The national anthem of the winner’s nation is played.  The entire presentation is open to public and media.  Video and photography is permitted by both public and members of the media.


Through the conclusion of Event #30, the nationality of gold bracelet winners has been:
United States (23):  Chip Saechao, Brent Hanks, Leif Force, Cory Zeidman, Andy Bloch, Herbert Tapscott, John Monnettte, Brian Hastings, David Arsht, Brandon Schaefer, Adam Friedman, Matt Matros, Andy Frankenberger, Phil Hellmuth, Cliff Goldkind, Ben Scholl, Randy Ohel, Joe Cassidy, Brian Meinders, Gabe Scott, Ylon Schwartz
Canada (3):  Ashkan Razavi, Simon Charette, Timothy Adams, Larry Wright, Allyn Jaffrey-Shulman
France (1):  Aubin Cazals
Bulgaria (1):  Nick Jivkov
The Netherlands (1):  Vincent van der Fluit
Belgium (1):  Michael Gathy

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been:
United States (23):  Brent Hanks, Leif Force, Cory Zeidman, Andy Bloch, Herbert Tapscott, John Monnette, Brian Hastings, David “Doc” Arsht, Brandon Schaefer, Adam Friedman, Matt Matros, Andy Frankenberger, Phil Hellmuth, Cliff Goldkind, Ben Scholl, Randy Ohel, Joe Cassidy, Brian Meinders, Gabe Scott, Ylon Schwartz, Larry Wright, Allyn Jaffrey-Shulman
Canada (2):  Simon Charette, Timothy Adams
Thailand (1):  Chip Saechao
Bulgaria (1): Nick Jivkov
France (1):  Aubin Cazals
Iran (1):  Ashkan Razavi
The Netherlands (1):  Vincent van der Fluit
Belgium (1):  Michael Gathy

Through the conclusion of this event, the home state of the 23 American winners has been:
Nevada (5):  Brent Hanks, Andy Bloch, Randy Ohel, Joe Cassidy, Allyn Jaffrey-Shulman
California (3):  Chip Saechao, John Monnette, Phil Hellmuth
Pennsylvania (3):  Brian Hastings, David “Doc” Arsht, Ben Scholl
Florida (2):  Leif Force, Cory Zeidman
New York (2):  Matt Matros, Andy Frankenberger
Texas (2):  Ylon Schwartz, Larry Wright
Illinois (1):  Nick Jivkov
Alabama (1):  Herbert Tapscott
Ohio (1):  Adam Friedman
Washington (1): Brandon Schaefer
Maryland (1):  Cliff Goldkind
New Jersey (1):  Brian Meinders
Oklahoma (1):  Gabe Scott
Texas (2):  Ylon Schwartz, Larry Wright

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the breakdown of professional poker players to semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets is as follows:
Professional Players (20):  Brent Hanks, Leif Force, Andy Bloch, Aubin Cazals, John Monnette, Ashkan Razavi, Vincent van der Fluit, Brian Hastings, Brandon Schaefer, Adam Friedman, Matt Matros, Andy Frankenberger, Phil Hellmuth, Randy Ohel, Michael Gathy, Joe Cassidy, Gabe Scott, Ylon Schwartz, Timothy Adams, Larry Wright
Semi-Pros (4):  Cory Zeidman, Nick Jivkov, Brian Meinders, Allyn Jaffrey-Shulman     
Amateurs (6):  Chip Saechao, Herbert Tapscott, David “Doc” Arsht, Cliff Goldkind, Ben Scholl, Simon Charette

With this outcome, the streak of consecutive male gold bracelet winners (or put another way – no female winner) has been broken at 249 consecutive events.  

Note:  Various categories and statistics will be updated with each gold bracelet event as they are completed.

-- by Nolan Dalla

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