Beth Shak bets big when it comes to buying footwear.
The professional poker player, who just wrapped up the World Series tournament in Las Vegas this month, has developed a habit of purchasing a new pair of shoes almost every time she competes. “I started loving shoes at 16 and I haven’t stopped since,” she said, noting that she’s become known for her footwear fashions at tournaments. “I wore Uggs [once] and a man said, ‘Where are your heels?’ [My name is] synonymous with shoes.”
And since Shak started playing poker in 2004, she has racked up quite a collection, including more than 1,200 pairs, 700 of which are made by her favorite designer, Christian Louboutin.
“He has an eye for design and he knows what a woman wants,” she said of the red-sole king.
Now Shak is even trying her own hand at design. She sells women’s and men’s hoodies and T-shirts featuring card symbols such as spades and hearts on her website. And if she ever decides to fold her poker career, Shak said the footwear and apparel industry could be a good alternate option. “I see myself doing something in fashion,” she said.
Favorite brands: Christian Louboutin. “YSL is a close second because the shoes are comfortable. I love Lanvin, but I’ve never been a brand person. If I see something beautiful, I get it.”
Lucky pair for a poker game: “The pair Walter Steiger made for me because they are the only pair in the world. They are pink pumps with a little spade on them. I wore them to the World Series last year.”
Most expensive pair: “Alligator pumps by Christian Louboutin. They were upwards of $4,000.”
Favorite trend of the moment: “I really love the designers who are giving us platforms. When you are walking in the city and ready to kill yourself in uneven streets in 6-inch heels, platforms are way more comfortable.”
Organizational strategy: “I made [my closet] look like a boutique. In the middle of my island, I bought this display case and I put red encrusted Alexander McQueen [shoes] in there. My shoes are the focal point.”
Highest heel: “I don’t have a heel limit. I guess my limit is going to be when I’m too old and I can’t walk in [heels] anymore.”
Go-to pair for traveling: Christian Louboutin wedges. “I travel with them everywhere. I will even pack them in different colors.”
Best shopping in Las Vegas: “Vegas is really amazing. The shopping rivals New York, but in a different way. It’s more outlandish. I obviously go to the Louboutin store in the Palazzo.”
Choice for weekend footwear: “I wear little Lanvin ballet flats, and I go through Havaianas on a daily basis.”
Celebrity style you most admire: “I think Jennifer Lopez has transformed herself on ‘American Idol.’ She looked stunning.”
Trend you wish would go away: “I hate when the front of the shoes is [pointed]. After a short period of time, your feet are hurting.”
Favorite cities to shop: “The last couple of times I was in London I found a couple great pairs of shoes. I got an amazing pair of Pierre Hardy shoes made of velvet at a really cool little boutique. [They are] two-toned in purple colors.”
Biggest footwear regret: “I bought a pair of Louboutin thigh-high boots in suede for $3,500. I wore them once and decided they are the most impractical things. I can never wear them again.”
Favorite style for men: “I really like men in classic [looks] — loafers or laceups. I don’t like anything edgy or crazy.”
Next purchase: “Fuscia is really big this year, so I’m looking for something strappy for summer.”