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Queen trumps kings at World Series of Poker event

A decade ago, Allyn Jaffrey-Shulman wouldn’t sit at a Las Vegas poker table without her handy “cheat sheet” that listed the game’s best hands.

“It told me that a flush beat a straight, which I needed since I was always trying to figure everything out mathematically,” she said.

It’s an understatement to say that she no longer needs assistance.

Jaffrey-Shulman became the first female poker player in four years to win a mixed-gender World Series of Poker event June 15 at the Rio, topping a field of 4,128 entries to capture the $1,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em Seniors Championship for players age 50 and older.

She earned $603,713 and her first individual event championship bracelet in 10 years of play in the World Series of Poker.

Jaffrey-Shulman also earned family bragging rights, at least for 2012.

The Shulmans – husband Barry and stepson Jeff – are giving the Mizrachi family a run for the ranking as poker’s first family.

The four Mizrachi brothers finished in the money during the 2010 World Series of Poker’s Main Event.

The Shulmans made history this year as being the first husband-wife-son trio to each make a final table appearance in the same World Series of Poker.

The Shulmans own Card Player Media, which publishes Card Player magazine and produces CardPlayer.com. Barry Shulman and Jeff Shulman are publishers of the magazine.

Allyn Jaffrey-Shulman, a veteran criminal defense attorney in Orange County, Calif., is the company’s general counsel.

“We’re always talking poker, talking about different hands and how we might play them,” Jaffrey-Shulman said. “That has to help.”

Jaffrey-Shulman’s victory was her sixth career in-the-money finish in her World Series of Poker career, far behind her stepson and husband.

Jeff Shulman has 23 career World Series of Poker cashes, totaling almost $2.4 million. Twice he has made the final table of the $10,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em World Championship, finishing fifth in 2009 and earning more than $1.95 million. This year he placed third in a $5,000 buy-in Limit Hold’em event.

Barry Shulman owns two World Series of Poker championship bracelets and 19 career cashes worth more than $1.6 million. He won the World Series of Poker Europe in 2009. This year, Barry Shulman has cashed twice, including eighth place in a $1,500 buy-in No Limit Hold’em event.

But it’s Allyn Jaffrey-Shulman who is carrying the family name.

A week after winning the bracelet she was back at the Rio to play another event, with the bracelet adorning her right wrist. She had a few links removed so it would fit.

“I think it was made for a man’s wrist in mind,” she said.

Jaffrey-Shulman spent almost three decades as a successful attorney, handling appellate work. During that time, she learned to play poker, often visiting the Commerce Casino in the Los Angeles area to gain experience.

Her first husband helped teach her the game, crafting the cheat sheet she would use at casinos. They also had an agreement. He would stay home one night a week with their children so she could pursue the game.

“That’s when I really started to play poker, and I became a fairly good player,” she said.

Jaffrey-Shulman found similarities between the courtroom and the poker room early in her career. When she started out in law, there were few female attorneys. Same with poker. Male players outnumber the women by a huge margin.

She held her own in the courtroom and hasn’t been intimidated in the poker room.

“A lot of the male players don’t give me the proper respect,” Jaffrey-Shulman said. “I use that to my advantage.”

Jaffrey-Shulman was a widow when she met Barry Shulman. She remained in Southern California during the first two years of their marriage, however, so her children could finish high school.

As the attorney for Card Player, Jaffrey-Shulman has used her skills in constitutional and statutory analysis to help in the effort to legalize Internet poker on a federal level. She has authored articles on Internet poker, advised the Poker Players Alliance and testified before Congress on Internet issues.

But she is never far from the poker room.

While winning the seniors event, Jaffrey-Shulman said she had little idea it had been 249 open events since a women captured a bracelet.

She was concentrating on her opponents, including 2008 Main Event third-place finisher Dennis Phillips, who finished as the runner-up in seeking his first World Series of Poker bracelet.

Jaffrey-Shulman said she was satisfied with just winning, not just breaking the female drought.

“The satisfaction came from winning,” she said. “But I hope this does inspire ladies that they can mix it up with the boys.”

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871.
Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.

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