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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Superstars

Where Are They Now – Jeff Shulman

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Where are They Now is a series of an in depth look at all poker players - not just the pros - as they travel through one long game. Some of the players profiled are deceased but not forgotten.

In the history of poker there have been some pretty controversial characters.  In fact, in the beginning of poker, all the people who played the game have been looked down on, and in turn, controversial for participating in a “cheater’s game.”  Over the last few years the game of poker has undergone a complete 180 on how the game is viewed by “outsiders.”  If you go into nearly any restaurant that has televisions there is a pretty decent chance that you will look up and see poker on the television.  People who you would expect to never watch a poker event not only watch it now, but they are also playing it.  With the new found positive attention poker has found in recent years, it’s harder to be a controversial character.  That doesn’t mean they don’t exist.  In fact, today’s profiled player may have caused more controversy than any player in a number of years when he announced that if he wins this year’s World Series of Poker, he would “throw the bracelet in the trash can.”  Despite these comments from Jeff Shulman that sent shockwaves through the poker community, it’s clear that he wants what’s best for the poker world.

Jeff Shulman was born on February 18, 1975 in Seattle, Washington.  When your father is a two time World Series of Poker Bracelet winner it’s clear to see that poker was a part of Jeff’s life from a very early age.  In fact, his first memory of playing poker was when he attended a summer camp before his third grade school year.  Much of Jeff’s young adult life mimics that of his father’s.  Jeff graduated from the University of Washington, like his father.  He again followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a real estate investor.  However, while his father stayed in real estate for 25 years before pursuing a poker career (after getting bored with golf during retirement), Jeff was only in the business for a few years before turning to poker.  Ironically enough it was again his father who caused Jeff’s career change.

In 1999 Barry Shulman bought a struggling magazine called CardPlayer Magazine, becoming CEO and Publisher.  While making acquisitions by buying out a few smaller magazines, Barry thought he could use some help and asked his son if he would join the magazine.  In 2000 Jeff became president of CardPlayer Magazine, and under the father and son duo the magazine has become the top-selling poker magazine and an industry standard.  After becoming president of the magazine Jeff began playing a lot more poker, particularly on the tournament circuit.

Despite never spending a lot of time playing tournaments with a preference for cash games, Shulman excelled almost from the start.   In his very first cash at the World Series of Poker, he wasted no time going for the biggest prize of them all, a Main Event Bracelet.  Shulman entered the final table as the chip leader, but after losing a few big pots to eventual champion Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, Shulman had to settle for a seventh place finish and $146,700.  Regardless of what may be deemed as a disappointing finish, it set the table for a successful tournament career thus far.

Shulman had nearly a dozen final table finishes over the next few years, but it wasn’t until 2003 that he won his first tournament.  Shulman outlasted all participants in the $1,000 No Limit Hold’em event at the 2003 L.A. Poker Classic in April of 2003.  Three months after his win, he cashed in three WSOP events, including an 8th place finish in the $1,500 Pot Limit Event, and cashing in the Main Event, finishing 31st.  Since then Shulman has been unable secure a bracelet, but has cashed in nine WSOP events.  Shulman has also cashed in 10 World Poker Tour Events.  Shulman has a chance to win that elusive WSOP bracelet as a member of the 2009 “November Nine,” but questions have come up lately if he even wants that bracelet.  Regardless, even if he finishes ninth, he will win at least $1,263,602, which will nearly double his impressive $1,300,000 in tournament winnings in less than ten years playing. 

When the number of competitors was down to 27 at this year’s Main Event, Shulman was interviewed, and when asked about what he would do with the bracelet if he wins, he said he would throw it in the trash can.  This of course caused many poker players to be awestricken wondering how anyone would be able to throw away the most prized possession in the game. 

Many news websites speculated that Shulman said that because of the relationship between Harrah’s Casino, who runs the WSOP, and CardPlayer Magazine.  In recent years the two companies have had a falling out, mainly because Harrah’s gave CardPlayer’s main competition, Bluff Magazine, the exclusive rights to the media aspects of the WSOP.  Shulman has said in numerous interviews that this isn’t true, and instead he is upset with the way Harrah’s runs the WSOP, suggesting that Harrah’s doesn’t have the players’ best interests in mind, and doesn’t put enough thought into how the tournament is run. 

Shulman has also recanted his statements regarding throwing the bracelet in the trash can, instead saying he’ll either donate it to charity, make it the prize of a poker freeroll, or give it to television personality Stephen Colbert.  He is also still taking ideas from emails to the CardPlayer magazine website.

Shulman also caused some controversy when he announced that he will be using Phil Hellmuth Jr. as a tutor leading up to the Main Event.  Last year when they announced the final table would be played in November, many people didn’t like it because it not only afforded people the time to get tutored before the Main Event, but also it changes any momentum players may have had, including reads, and other patterns.  The first year came and went without any reports of players getting tutored before the final table, but this year Shulman has openly spoke about getting help from Hellmuth, one of the top No Limit Tournament players in the history of the game.  It is unclear if Shulman is giving Hellmuth any percentage of the money he stands to win.  Shulman will enter the final table 4th in chips nearly 40 million behind chip leader Darvin Moon.

Shulman may have to also deal with sleep deprivation during the Final Table, as he and his wife Christy just had their second child in October, naming her Lucy.  Lucy’s older brother, Elliott, was born in 2007.

*Read Billy Monroe’s Blog*

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