Dan Shak

Although by the strict definition a “recreational” player, Dan Shak has made quite a serious impact in the live tournament circuit. His inkling for the numbers and risk taking has marked his entire life both on and off the felt. Born on May 7, 1959, he grew up to become a trader with New York Mercantile and Commodities exchange before eventually starting his own hedge fund in 2002 focusing on precious metals . When the business finally got on its own two feet, he was ready to pursue other challenges. He found poker. He got introduced to the thrills of the game through cash games to begin with, but like many others he was soon drawn to the tournaments as they offered a more competition-like environment. As he had his “real” job, which, in his own words, takes up 10-12 hours of his life every day, Shak was not in the game for the money as much as he was in it for the competition. This statement holds true as he is known to give away a great percentage of his overall poker winnings to different charities around the globe. His tournament successes started during 2005 WSOP, when he got to the final table of the $5k Omaha event and also got a deep run in the Main Event later during the series. During the 2007 WSOP he won the Ante Up for Africa event, proceeding to donate his entire score of nearly $250,000 to the charity. This would, he hoped, encourage other players to also get more involved with the charities and help improve lives of those less fortunate. Two of his biggest scores that both amounted to over $1 million came in 2010 and 2014 respectively. In 2010 he took the 1st place in the Aussie Millions $100k challenge, and nearly repeated the success during the PCA Super High Roller in 2014. With this most recent score, his tournament winnings have climbed to over $7,000,000. This amount, combined with 20 WSOP cashes and three final table appearances could certainly trick anyone into believing that he is more than a recreational player. Dan Shak’s success in the poker world did not go unnoticed. Soon after the “Ivey Poker” training site has been launched, he signed a deal with them, and he is listed there as the High Stakes Tournaments Specialist. Although some try to attribute his success to the fact that he usually plays the small field tournaments with big buyins, closer look at his poker results tells completely different story of someone who clearly knows what he is doing at the tables. He always manages to find some time to tend to his trading activities as well, be it during the breaks or even while playing the tournaments, and he always keeps his laptop nearby.
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