After tabulating the ballots from the members of the Women in Poker Hall of Fame, the Board of Directors and selected media members, two women have earned induction later this year into that prestigious organization.
One was an obvious pick by the WiPHoF for induction with the 2014 class. Allyn Jaffrey Shulman, the 2012 World Series of Poker Seniors’ Champion, has earned well over $1.25 million in the entirety of her poker career. Following that breakthrough victory at the WSOP (against what was then the largest ever Seniors’ event), Shulman would win again in 2013 at the Venetian Deepstacks $5000 Championship Event. Over the entirety of her poker career (and through various disciplines of poker), Shulman has been able to rack up 61 cashes, which include nine other cashes at the WSOP along with her bracelet win.
Shulman has been active in the world of poker off of the baize also. One of the leading practitioners of gaming law in the United States, she has been instrumental in many court cases and governmental hearings that focus on casino gaming. She has also been among the many who promote the cause of women in the game of poker, a guideline for selection into the WiPHoF.
The second lady who will join Shulman as a 2014 inductee will be industry professional Deborah Giardina. After starting her career in the gaming industry as a dealer in 1990, Giardina would rapidly rise through the ranks. Six months after beginning her career, Giardina was an assistant manager at the casino she worked at in Colorado and then moved upward from there.
Giardina first moved to Mississippi and eventually became the Cardroom Manager for the Grand Casino Gulfport before tackling her next challenge. She was critical in the opening of the Grand Casino Coushatta in Kinder, LA and, in 1999, headed for the poker room manager position at Canterbury Park in Minnesota. Five years later, Giardina broke new ground by becoming the Director of Poker Operations at the Wynn Las Vegas. Still striving to bring the game to new audiences, Giardina is currently the Vice President of Poker Operations at bestbet Jacksonville in Florida, which has rapidly become one of the premier East Coast poker destinations.
There is reason to celebrate the induction of Shulman and Giardina, but the other five nominees would have been just as worthy of induction as these two ladies are. 2005 WSOP Ladies’ Champion Jennifer Tilly, Stud expert Esther Rossi, women’s poker proponent Ruth Hall and industry professionals Donna Blevins and Debbie Burkhead would have been outstanding choices for selection but, this year, they came up a bit short. In 2016 (the next year that, according to the Chairman of the WiPHoF Board of Directors Lupe Soto, there will be new inductees), they should all be reconsidered for the honor of induction.
The two inductees for 2014 join a Hall that is replete with some of the finest women that have graced the game of poker. Linda Johnson, Marsha Waggoner, Cyndy Violette, Susie Isaacs, Barbara Enright, Jennifer Harman and Kathy Liebert (among others) are female players who have earned the distinction as a member of the WiPHoF. Industry professionals such as Kathy Raymond, Phyllis Caro and June Field have also been honored over the history of the organization.
Shulman and Giardina will be feted on June 25th with a day filled with activities. Beginning at 11AM at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, the Women in Poker Hall of Fame luncheon will be held, featuring an array of entertainment and a silent auction. Proceeds from that auction will benefit two charities, WhenCharityWorks.org and PokerGives.org.
Following the luncheon, the celebration of the induction of Shulman and Giardina into the WiPHoF will continue. A $125 buy-in No Limit Hold’em tournament will take place at the Golden Nugget’s Grand Ballroom beginning at 5PM. For people that would like to attend both events from out of the Las Vegas area, there are special hotel room rates available by calling 1-800-634-3454 and mentioning GRAND14 as a tournament group code.