Question and Answer: Poker Pro Shannon Shorr
27-Year-Old Coming Off Successful Summer
As his over $4.5 million in live tournament winnings indicate, Shannon Shorr is certainly a well-established poker pro. Shorr has been playing professionally since 2006, racking up consistent cashes in many prestigious tournaments. A fourth-place finish in the Aussie Millions jump started his career, and he has never looked back.
Last month, Shorr notched a third place in the $10,000 buy-in six-handed event at the World Series of Poker and finished fourth in the Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza, which netted him combined winnings of more than $500,000.
It was a good summer for him, after cashing in just two events at the 2011 WSOP.
Card Player asked the 27-year-old Alabama native a few questions about his early career, sentiments on the present and future of the online poker realm, and what it takes to be a professional in the industry.
Logan Hronis: When was the first time you ever considered playing poker for a living?
Shannon Shorr: I started playing professionally in early 2006, but I first considered it in April of 2005 or so. I actually think the decision was a little ill-advised, but I started making some money playing sit-and-gos. I remember doing the math, thinking I would make more money than I would with my degree. That’s when I really got into it. I started putting in the time and thought this could really be a career option.
LH: What was your first major tournament cash and how did it change your poker perspective?
SS: My first major cash would be January 2006 — the Aussie Millions. I came in fourth for like $200,000. Obviously, that opened a lot of doors, and gave me some flexibility. Unlike a lot of guys, I was having success at the beginning of my career on my own, as opposed to being backed. I guess I was really lucky with the timing of things.
LH: Everybody loves epic bluff stories. Do you have a most memorable bluff?
SS: There have been a couple fun ones. There was an event in 2008 where a guy was opening a bunch of pots. He opened, a guy called, and I found this spot. I had 8-3 offsuit, and I thought I was going to take it down like every time. The first guy folded, and the second guy called. The flop came 5-4-4. He checked, and I moved all in for a bunch. He tanked forever and folded two queens, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. That was for a lot of chips with maybe three tables left in the event. So, as far as somebody giving me credit, that’s some of the most anybody’s ever given me in a pot like that.
LH: In general, what is the most important skill in poker, in your opinion?
SS: I would say it’s discipline and bankroll management, combined. In the time I’ve been in this business, I’ve seen so many guys that don’t understand it’s not all about playing poker — that poker is only maybe half of it. You have to do things the right way: managing expenses, not playing in games above your head, keeping your ego in check. All that stuff is much more important, because if you go broke you don’t have earnings. So, just managing your lifestyle and staying healthy is something I’m just now getting into. Just living a complete life and not getting involved in all the distractions and alluring things, I think, is the most important part.
LH: What role do investors play in your career, and has this role changed since you started?
SS: I’ve played my whole career on my own, actually. I guess that’s pretty rare nowadays, but if I hadn’t had such a big score at the start, I’m sure I would have had to consider backers. I’ve been fortunate all along to have these scores, so when things got bad I’ve had a score to rebound. If it gets to the point where I think I need to be backed to continue playing poker, honestly, I don’t think I’ll do it. I’ll probably go another direction.
LH: You just took third in the $10,000 buy-in, six-handed tournament at the WSOP. Is there anything specific you take away from a tournament like that?
SS: I take away the importance of focus. That’s something I was really trying to look at the last year or so. I was on a pretty bad downswing going into that tournament. I entered it with complete focus. There’s a high-caliber group of players in that event, so I knew what it was going to take. I’m going to have to bring that focus every day in order to get it done in this business.
LH: How has the recent online poker controversy affected you, and do you feel it has been resolved adequately as it pertains to you personally?
SS: I guess I was affected; I have $82,000 on Full Tilt, and that money has been tied up for a while. I’m fortunate, obviously, because I’m mainly a live player by trade. I’ve played a lot of online tournaments, but at least I have the option to play live if I need to. So, by no means can I really complain. I haven’t been as affected as lot of guys whose livelihood is grinding online. I’m excited by the potential of [online poker] being regulated. Being able to sit at home and play online would be really awesome.
LH: Given any new developments you’ve heard about the new PokerStars merger, do you expect your lifestyle or playing habits to change at all? If so, how?
SS: I would begin playing more online. I sort of got to the point recently where I wasn’t sure how much time I wanted to spend playing, just because I’ve been doing it for seven years, all the time. As a lot of guys have said, it takes its toll on you a little bit, and there are certainly things in life that you don’t get from playing poker all the time. Now that it’s possibly turning around, I’m willing to be patient with it, because grinding live is not very enchanting. If it does come back, it gives me the freedom to play from home, not have to travel so much, and live a much more well-rounded lifestyle.
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