Dan Shak is a 62-year-old hedge fund manager and semi-pro poker player. Backed by an almost unlimited bankroll built in gold futures trading, Shak stands as a mainstay on the high-stakes live tournament circuit.
Shak’s poker accomplishments are impressive enough to warrant “pro” status. He’s among the top 100 on the Hendon Mob live tournament database.
Here’s a look at the poker accomplishments and sometimes startling off-table activities of Dan Shak:
Dan Shak’s Tournament Results and Biggest Cashes
As of June 2021, Dan Shak’s career poker tournament earnings total $11,154,647. Shak’s five biggest tournament scores include:
- 2014 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $100,000 Super High Roller (2nd – $1,178,980)
- 2010 Aussie Millions A$ 100,000 Challenge (1st – $1,107,553)
- 2012 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure PokerStars $100,000 Super High Roller (2nd – $846,700)
- 2016 Super High Roller Bowl $300,000 No-Limit Hold’em (7th – $600,000)
- 2013 Partypoker Premier League Poker VI $125,000 No-Limit Hold’em (1st – $528,000)
Take a look at Shak’s entire history of tournament poker results at his Hendon Mob page.
Dan Shak’s Memorable Hands
The following hand takes place at the 2014 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $100,000 Super High Roller final table. The tournament is on the stone money bubble at the time, with nine players remaining and only eight spots available on the payout ladder:
With the blinds at 30,000/60,000, Antonio Esfandiari opens to 120,000 from early position with A♠ 3♠. Vanessa Selbst, in the small blind, calls with A♥ J♦. Shak, who holds T♣ 9♣, also calls from the big blind.
The flop comes T♦ 6♣ J♣, giving Selbst top pair and bringing a club flush draw along with middle pair for Shak. Selbst leads out, betting 165,000 into the 450,000 pot.
Shak raises to 400,000, and Esfandiari folds. Selbst calls, bringing the pot to 1,250,000. The turn comes 6♥, Selbst checks, and Shak goes all-in for his remaining 1,210,000. Selbst thinks it over for a few moments, then calls.
The gravity of this hand is amplified by the fact that Selbst is the chip leader at the time, and Shak began the hand with a healthy stack in his own right. Three players at the table are sitting on very small stacks, which makes Shak’s play in the spot not exactly ICM-approved.
Shak is a three-to-one equity underdog going into the river, but he finds the T♥ on fifth street to double through Selbst. Shak does a short victory lap away from the table, with Selbst in disbelief.
Shak goes on to finish second in the tournament, scoring $1,178,980 for his best career tournament cash. Selbst finished third for $760,640.
Don’t Sleep on Dan Shak
Two weeks of grinding high-stakes tournaments can leave even the strongest of players a bit fatigued. The penultimate tournament from the 2021 U.S. Poker Open, the $25,000 No-Limit Hold’em event, came down to David Peters, Ivan Zufic, and Shak.
With a $465,750 prize awaiting the winner, the following hand begins. With the blinds at 40,000/80,000, Zufic opens on the button with J♣ 3♣, and Peters three-bets to 620,000 with A♣ Q♠
The poker world awaits a response from Shak, who sits in the big blind with A♦ 6♣:
Don’t sleep on @daniel_shak 😂 #USPO pic.twitter.com/8LDWHngN1Y
— PokerGO (@PokerGO) June 14, 2021
We only get to see Shak throw in a time chip in this clip from the PokerGO Twitter account. Despite napping on the job in this $25k event, Shak did well for himself at the 2021 U.S. Poker Open. He cashed four times in the 12-tournament series, finishing fifth in the U.S. Poker Open leaderboard standings.
Hedge Fund Manager Turned Poker “Semi” Pro
Dan Shak’s Hendon Mob page certainly befits the title of poker pro. Shak lays claim to more than $11 million in career live tournament cashes, including a pair of seven-figure scores.
Shak’s recorded tournament results go back to 2004. His day job as a hedge fund manager in the gold futures market allowed him to enter the poker realm with a bankroll that was ready to take on even the highest-stakes tournaments.
While Shak has regularly appeared in high-stakes tournaments around the globe over the past two decades, the New York native still remains active in hedge fund trading. His poker accomplishments place him in the top 100 all-time tournament earnings leaders according to the Hendon Mob.
A win at the 2010 Aussie Millions A$ 100,000 Challenge marked the first seven-figure cash ($1,107,553) of Shak’s poker career. He topped that money mark four years later, with a second-place finish in the 2014 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $100,000 Super High Roller ($1,178,980). That runner-up showing marks Shak’s biggest career tournament cash.
Shak still marks a regular figure on the modern-day high roller tournament circuit. His most recent accomplishments include four cashes at the 2021 U.S. Poker Open.
Shak Sues For Shoes
Dan Shak and fellow poker player Beth Shak were married at one time but were divorced in 2009. One of the more bizarre divorce stories from the early 2010s saw Dan suing Beth for a 35 percent share of Beth’s $1 million shoe collection.
Details from the lawsuit include an admission from Beth Shak that her shoe collecting got out of hand as a result of emotional neglect from her husband. Dan Shak ended up dropping the lawsuit, without collecting any money or shoes from the suit.
The $350,000 Shak stood to gain was minuscule compared to his overall net worth. In 2011, Shak sold his position in $850 million worth of gold contracts, an amount equal to South Africa’s annual gold production.
Various publications estimate Shak’s net worth at anywhere from $10 million to $50 million.