Suddenly Sara: Shark Cage Sensation Chafak Hunts Finnish Championship

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Sara Chafak (Photo: Lina Olofsson)

If you've followed PokerStars’ new TV show Shark Cage at all, you're very well aware of Sara Chafak's current buzz in the poker world.

Already a hot topic in certain poker circles Miss Finland 2012 dazzled the skeptical poker audience - and pro Ronnie Bardah - with her risk-taking skills on a recent episode.

Chafak’s bluff, which you can watch here, is already reaching legendary proportions as one of the best poker moments of the year.

On the heels of that buzz-building moment Chafak is on her way to Prague for one of the new additions to the poker festival schedule this year - the Finnish Poker Championships.

Can Chafak spin her "wild girl" image into a national championship among some of the best players the world has to offer?

PokerListings Finland's Tuomo Järvelä caught up with Chafak as she prepared to walk into the lion's den of Finnish aces and prove she has what it takes to grind with the best of them.

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Sara Chafak gets serious (Photo: Lina Olofsson)

PokerListings: You're about to take off to Prague to play in the Finnish Poker Championship. What are your initial feelings? Are you taking the win back home with you?

Sara Chafak: I feel awesome! A little bit nervous but I’m going with a positive mindset.

You can never be too sure about winning as it depends on so many things. As a poker player you can’t win every tournament but hey, that’s the fun of it. (smiles)

PL: You’ve been playing quite a lot of poker lately. At the celebrity poker series in Finland you took the win. On Shark Cage you were one player from getting to the final. Are you the future female Daniel Negreanu?

SC: You never know! At the moment I’m just doing it for the fun of it, but poker is so amazingly cool!

PL: When was the first time ever you played poker?

SC: I was like 19 when my boyfriend introduced me to poker.

PL: And did you hit the jackpot the first time?

SC: Oh yes – funny that you asked, I won the first tournament I ever played – and quite a few after that in a row. (smiles)

PL: Poker is quite a "manly" game but women have come into the spotlight more and more with a lot of big names emerging. How do you feel personally being a woman at tournaments?

SC: Well yeah, the poker world is very male-dominant, but it doesn’t affect my game.

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"I actually feel very privileged to be representing women at the sport."

I actually feel very privileged to be representing women at the sport amongst so many men.

PL: So how do men react to you when you sit down? Do they get distracted given that you are a model and not all poker players are exactly copies of James Bond?

SC: Oh yes, some men do get distracted, but most of them seem to be concentrating on playing.

It’s actually fun to see how some guy’s ego goes over their game when they try to push me out. And they’ll notice that it was a very bad idea. (Laughs)

PL: With your day job as a model you need to stay in shape, obviously. Have you got any tips for keeping your energy up over the long days of tournament poker?

SC: Poker games are very exhausting – mentally and physically – so the right kind of preparation is very important for playing well.

My best tip is a good night’s sleep and lots of water so you’ll be able to concentrate well and uphold your zen.

PL: Any special rituals before playing?

SC: Good food and tons of it! (laugh)

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