Editor‚Äôs Note: The following
So you‚Äôre sitting in your cube on a Tuesday morning surfing some poker sites. You just turned in your ‚ÄúTPS Report‚Äù and wrapped up your first useless conference call of the day. You check out Cardplayer.com and the Player of the Year standings. It‚Äôs filled with poker‚Äôs biggest names‚Ä¶Michael “the Grinder” Mizrachi‚Ä¶Phil Hellmuth‚Ä¶Nam Le…
A woman is ranked in the top 5?! This can’t be!
No my friends, Shannon Shorr is a dude, a poker blogger, and one of the best tournament players in the world today. He just won the Bellagio Cup II, a $10,000 buy-in event where he took home over $960k.
And believe it or not, his name has actually helped him score chicks. ‚ÄúThey think the name is cute,‚Äù Shorr says. Hey, whatever it takes. But it probably doesn‚Äôt hurt that he has a million in the bank now too.
I consider Shannon Shorr a friend of mine, and did before he climbed to #3 (now #4) on Cardplayer‚Äôs rankings. Shannon is just a regular guy who loves poker, tells it like it is, and doesn‚Äôt take himself too seriously.
So then, who is Shannon Shorr?
When he’s not crushing poker tournaments, Shoor is just your average 21 year-old from Alabama. He likes Coke over Pepsi, Bud Light over Coors Light (but prefers Corona over both), and listens to the Deftones, Tool, and Taproot. Of course, he loves Alabama Football, and while he thinks they‚Äôll beat Auburn this year (and what true ‚ÄòBama fan doesn‚Äôt tell themselves that each and every year?), he thinks that this year will be a step back from the 2005 campaign.
Shannon started playing poker online in April 2004 while a student at the University of Alabama and played ‚Äú20-25 hours a week for the first 18 months of his online career.‚Äù Now if you‚Äôre a high school junior or senior reading this and you‚Äôre thinking, ‚ÄúWow, that sounds cool!‚Äù‚Ä¶think again.
Shorr says that he wishes he hadn‚Äôt spent as much time as he did playing the stakes he was playing. He says, ‚ÄúA lot of kids spend a lot of time playing the recreational stakes like I did, and it‚Äôs kinda sad.‚Äù Because basically, you end up having no social life.
His point is a great one. Go to any WPT/WSOP tourney and walk around during the off days. See how many people are having fun and how many people are hanging out in the lobby playing poker on their laptops. Of the laptop crew, while they might have $200K bankrolls, they don‚Äôt even have the game to buy a chick a drink. They can order a hooker, but I sure hope they order an experienced one, because most of these guys don‚Äôt have a clue.
From Melbourne to Barcelona (his favorites) to Vienna, Austria and Las Vegas, Shannon has faced some of the world‚Äôs best runners this year, saying his toughest opponents have been, “Layne Flack, Nenad Medic, and Ollie Sundin.” (Author‚Äôs note: While I‚Äôve never played against Layne Flack, Nendad will call you down if he smells an ounce of a bluff, as he did to me, and Ollie Sundin did more with a short stack than anyone I have ever seen in the Aussie Millions).
Obviously, Shorr thinks the best part about playing the circuit is seeing the world. You get to witness things like someone jumping in a 15 foot deep tank filled with sharks for $5k. And while you’re at all of these amazing places around the world, you get to play poker. Tough life.
There’s gotta be some drawbacks though, right? Shorr says those drawbacks are ‚Äú‚Ä¶definitely the assholes that you run into at the tables. There is certainly no shortage of guys who think they are the world’s best. At my perfect table, there would be little table talk. The thing I despise most in this business is the celebratory shit that you see mostly on TV. It’s amazing. A guy will hit a two-outer with one card to come and run around the fucking room like he just outplayed a guy. It’s very aggravating. The players I respect most in our line of work are guys like Alex Jacob and Carl Olson. You never see them show any emotion at the table. Neither do I, and that’s the way it should be.‚Äù
So what makes Shorr so successful? Daniel Negreanu said in a recent article that a tournament is 40% luck early on and the luck factor decreases exponentially as the tournament progresses. Shorr agrees, ‚ÄúWithout question in shallow chip tournaments you basically HAVE to win your first hand, so you’re either going to have to win a coinflip or get "lucky" and pick up pair over pair. Lots more skill comes in to play late as far as reading when players are on a steal preflop that you can re-pop or whether it is a legitimate preflop raise.‚Äù
What makes Shannon stand out most though is simple. Folks, this guy is fearless. He is not afraid to put all of his chips in the middle, KNOWING that he is behind, putting the pressure on his opponent to call his move. Can you do that?
The flip side of that is that Shannon is very candid about his play. Most people will only tell you when they win or when they ‚Äúlost a little.‚Äù But when Shannon has his ass handed to him, he’ll tell you all about it on his blog.
In today‚Äôs poker world, it‚Äôs a little late to make a big name for yourself. If you‚Äôre busting onto the scene now, you’re a little late on the bus (unless you come up with some great new gimmick or win