Sunday may have been Father’s Day, but it was a woman, Allyn Jaffrey Shulman, who was making headlines at the final table of the $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold’em Championship.  Wife of 2009 WSOP Europe Main Event winner Barry Shulman and step-mother of 2009 WSOP Main Event final tablist Jeff Shulman, Allyn became the third member of her family to make a final table this week—a historic feat in a historic event.  The family made history, but Allyn made some history in her own right, becoming the first woman to win a bracelet in a tournament besides the Ladies Event since 2008. The victory is a landmark for the Shulmans and for women, not to mention the second largest payday of this WSOP at $603,713.

The Shulmans have gotten progressively closer to the gold this past week. First, Barry took eighth in last weekend’s $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event. He busted, then headed just one room over to watch Jeff play his way to a third place finish in the $5,000 Limit Hold’em Championship for $92,562.  That day was impressive, but not the first time a father and a son found success at the WSOP.  In fact, it wasn’t even the first time the Shulman’s saw their poker successes overlap. Back in ’09, it was during Jeff’s November Nine final table hiatus that his father won his WSOPE title.

Then Allyn bested them both, defeating 2008 November Niner Dennis Phillips heads-up. Her performance at the final table was a sight to see. Allyn and Phillips began the final table as eighth and ninth in the counts, but the pair rallied, picked their spots, and positioned themselves as the last two standing in the record-setting event.  Allyn prevailed in the end, making history and breaking the four-year and 200+ event drought of female bracelet winners.

This wasn’t just any final table either.  Allyn became the eighth woman to make a final table at this year’s WSOP and she did so in the largest poker tournament of the year thus far. Shulman was one of 4,128 players in this year’s Seniors Event, a number that shattered the record for largest single starting day field in poker tournament history.  Her solo performance in noteworthy in its own right, as she joins Patricia Baker and Amanda Musumeci as the third woman to get down to heads-up action this summer.  She also joins Musumeci and Vanessa Selbst as the third woman to earn a six-figure score at this year’s WSOP. 

To look at Allyn’s performance in a vacuum doesn’t do her story justice though.  Just by virtue of making the final table, Allyn helped the Shulman’s do something no family in poker has ever done—make three WSOP final tables in the same year.  Her victory brings the family 2012 WSOP bounty to $753,987 and puts the Shulman name alongside the likes of Brunson, Le, and Mizrachi in the pantheon of great poker families.

Allyn’s best game is Omaha Hi-Low according to her husband, but a couple of years ago, she decided to take up Hold’em. She got some tips from her husband and stepson, but Barry claims most of her No-Limit success is her own doing.  “She is a pretty studious type of person. She likes to study things and get good at them,” Barry explains.

Even though the Shulmans have one of the more impressive ROIs of the summer so far, the brood actually has a broad range of interests outside of poker, which is by and large an activity confined to the Rio each summer.

“Believe it or not, we don’t really play that much poker,” Barry explained on the WSOP livestream.  “Allyn and I go around the world almost every year for the first three or four months. We just love travelling.”

Even though they are wanderers, the Shulman family reconvenes in Vegas every summer for the WSOP. Like many poker enthusiasts who aren’t full-time players, the Shulmans always find time for poker’s biggest stage and the trio is arguably one of the most compelling plotlines of this year’s Series so far.  Their story has a little something to satisfy everyone. You have a heroine continuing the strong performance of women in large field events and breaking the dry spell of female bracelet winners. You have known names making final tables, with November Niners from both 2008 and 2009 playing key roles in this saga.  You have massive paydays in record-setting tournaments. And you have a tight-knit poker family showing us how much more fun it is to win together than alone just one day after a holiday where family matters most.

Photo by Jay WhoJedi Newnum