Three more prominent female poker professionals, Xuan Liu, Jennifer Shahade, and Melanie Weisner, have joined the advisory board of Pokerpower, the fast-growing group that seeks to empower women in life through the use of poker as a skills-learning and decision-making enterprise. The three well-known pros will also serve as brand ambassadors, adding to Pokerpower’s rapidly expanding lineup.
It’s another strong growth point for Pokerpower, which was founded in 2019 by Jenny Just. The group was created as “a launchpad for girls and women to succeed in school, business and life,” and it’s grown rapidly to take its place among the top tier of organizations representing women in various ways within the poker world. Eventually, Pokerpower hopes to bring a million women into the game, teaching them how to use the lessons and skills poker offers to improve their life in countless ways.
Liu, Shahade and Weisner join Amanda Botfield, Liz Huey, Kyna England, Cynthia Orr, and many other prominent players in furthering PokerPower’s life-improvement approach to the game. PokerPower also describes itself as an inclusive group, open to anyone who identifies as female.
Shahade promotes benefits of poker’s decision-making lessons
For Shahade, the PokerStars-sponsored pro and two-time former U.S. women’s junior chess champion, it’s a natural fit. Shahade has long promoted the use of games such as poker as a learning tool for all people in life.
“I encourage women and gender minorities to make decisions in games,” she wrote on her @JenShahade Twitter account in October. “It’s also a metaphor for more important things: I believe in our ability to make decisions about our bodies.”
How poker factors into those beliefs explains why Shahade is enthusiastic about her new affiliation with PokerPower. “I love the potential of poker to make me a better version of myself,” Shahade says. “Poker can help anyone make better decisions.” Shahade went more than two years without playing any live poker before she appeared in and cashed in the 2021 WSOP Ladies Championship.
Weisner, Liu add visibility to PokerPower mission
The same beliefs anchor Weisner’s and Liu’s support for Pokerpower and their planned efforts on behalf of the organization. Weisner, a veteran live-tourney pro, just wrapped up a long World Series of Poker where she played in numerous events. Her seven series cashes included three trips to the final two tables, including a 17th-place showing in the $1,500 NLHE “Closer,” one of the final WSOP events to be held at the Rio.
“Poker isn’t just a game of cards,” Weisner noted. “It’s about strong decision-making and the methodology of calculating precise, high-value decisions in a sea of imprecise information that models the business world in a fascinating way.”
Liu, a well-known Canadian national, poker pro and commentator offered similar thoughts. “Poker can arm women with essential life skills like learning the beauty of risk, negotiating like a pro, and taking control,” says Liu. “These are all lessons they can take from the game room to the boardroom for the rest of their lives.”
Liu cashed in three WSOP events herself and also noted on Twitter how the WSOP’s pandemic-induced move to the fall for 2021 may have disproportionately affected younger female pros, who might have had more family and school concerns. “High five to all the hard-working female grinders at this year’s @WSOP,” she Tweeted. “Some turnouts were especially low because it was during the school year. We all wear many hats and it deserves to be recognized. Celebrate our wins with us.”
Weisner’s seven 2021 WSOP cashes were missed by Liu’s search, oddly enough, through no fault of either player. The WSOP’s results database is known to contain thousands of such data-entry errors, and Weisner’s player record likely contains an error, or no data at all, in the gender field of her larger system record.
Featured image source: Haley Hintze