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When I Was A Donk – Shawn Cunix

by Julio Rodriguez |  Published: Mar 01, 2017


Shawn CunixIn this series, Card Player asks top pros to rewind back to their humble beginnings and provide insights regarding the mistakes, leaks, and deficiencies that they had to overcome in order to improve their games.

By day, Shawn Cunix is the owner of a luxury car dealership, and by night, he’s a successful poker pro with three World Poker Tour final tables on his resume. The Columbis, Ohio native has more than $2.25 million in live tournament cashes, including a third-place score in the 2014 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open for $748,313.

Cunix also owns a WPT title, having won the 2012 Jacksonville stop at bestbet for $400,600. Cunix also has wins at the Five-Star World Poker Classic, Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown and Hollywood Poker Open.

Here, Cunix talks about a bluff gone wrong.

This was several years ago and I still think about it all the time. It was actually a hand in a World Poker Tour event at Bellagio with Kevin Eyster, who won the event in 2015.

It was really early on in the tournament so everyone was still deep. I don’t remember all of the details, but to sum it up, we got to the river and I had a busted draw. I ended up making a pretty bold play and moved all in.

Now, this was a huge portion of his stack at the time, but he called me with… third pair. I don’t mind busting out of the tournament or even re-entering for another $10,000, but to get called by third pair, that really upset me.

I wasn’t mad at him, of course, it was a great read on his part. I just never in a million years believed I could get called in that spot by anything other than a top-five hand, so when he turned over third pair, I was furious at myself because I knew I must have given something away.

I was also very embarrassed, because it was like he read my soul. It’s a vulnerable feeling to be read so clearly like that. I even asked him afterwards, only joking a little, if I had some sort of tell. The truth is that I was still a little new to big poker tournaments at that time, and he could probably see some nerves.