Chess Master Checkmates Competition for Richest Open-Face Poker Title

Jennifer Shahade

A chess master had all the right moves when it came to the richest Open-Face Chinese Poker tournament in history. On December 9, 2014, American grand chess master Jennifer Shahade pocketed the €100,000 first-prize for winning the Open-Face Chinese Poker World Championship High Roller event at King’s Casino in Prague. Shahade trumped a field of 23 top professional gamblers to take home the prize money and a winner’s championship belt.
Shahade, a two-time American women’s chess champion, was able to outlast her opponents and claim the title after 13 hours of competition. According to Shahade, the €10,000 buy-in was the largest she had ever paid for a tournament. In addition, it was also the first time that she played Pineapple in a live tournament. She started out slowly but was able to get stronger as the event stretched on.

Several successful poker players entered the event including poker superstar Jason Mercier. Shahade and Mercier engaged in several spirited duels throughout the course of the tournament, with Shahade eventually gaining the upper hand. Chess tournament Jennifer ShahadeMercier was one of the pre-tournament favourites thanks to past Open-Faced Chinese Poker successes including winning the 2013 European Poker Tour Grand Final OFC event.

Open-Faced Chinese Poker involves players getting 13 cards from a communal deck and attempting to make the best two five-card and one three-card poker hands possible. Cards are arranged one card at a time, so players must decide if the card should belong with the higher or lower five-card hand or as part of the three-card hand. The best five-card hand must be better than the other five-card hand, which in turn must be higher than the three card hand.