At one inconspicuous table in the corner of the Brasilia Room sit two players renowned for their analytical skills away from the poker tables. Nate Silver is a statistician and political blogger, most famous for his website FiveThirtyEight.com. Silver’s mathematical approach to politics helped him to correctly predict the winner of all 51 states in last fall’s Presidential election, as well as 31 out of 33 senate races. This success has made his blog one of the country’s most sought-after sources for political prognostication.
Across from Silver sits Jennifer Shahade, a noted chess expert. Shahade has twice won the US Women’s Chess Championship, and has earned the title of Woman Grand Master in 2005. She is also the author of a few books on chess, including Chess Bitch: Women in the Ultimate Intellectual Sport.
Silver started the day low in chips with only 20,000, but we recently saw him increase his stack size by over 25%. Action folded to Silver in the small blind, and he raised to 1,200, and Duane Blanchard called from the big blind. Silver continued for 1,550 on the flop after the dealer spread . Blanchard called, and the dealer turned the . Both players checked. The river was the , and Silver bet 4,000. Blanchard thought for a minute, then tossed forward a call. Silver showed for top pair. Blanchard folded, and Silver took the pot. His stack was up to 26,000 after the hand.
We'll keep an eye on Silver and Shahade as these two analytical minds try to navigate this massive field. Veteran poker pros Julien Brecard and Tony Ma are at the table as well, so this should be a fascinating table to watch.