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2007: The Year That Was Not (long)

by Shannon Shorr |  Published: Dec 30, '07

It's 330 in the morning on December 31st. I won't be playing anymore poker in 2007, so I'll end the year as a high five figure loser. This is a figure that I'm not too worried about, especially given the figure that I netted in 2006. I'm obviously not happy that my sophomore season as a professional poker player was worse than my first year, but I can handle it. Something people outside of poker don't understand is that a year is still very much the short term for a poker player. This is especially the case if you spend the year playing primarily live as opposed to online, as I did. I have been playing poker professionally for the last two years, and I have enjoyed it immensely. I've met a ton of great people, and I have been afforded the opportunity to do things that I would never have the chance to do had I not decided to play cards for a living. I've made the very tough decision to re enroll in school starting January 9th at The University of Alabama. Right now, I have the very optimistic plan of going to classes during the spring and fall of 2008 and 2009 and taking the summers off to play the WSOP each year in Las Vegas. I've rented an apartment in Tuscaloosa with my long time friend, Tim at The University Downs. I have classes starting at 8 a.m. Monday through Thursday, so my normal sleep schedule is going to be flipped big time. I look very forward to the challenge of getting back into classes and normal life. Almost entirely throughout my poker career I've recommended NOT playing poker for a living, and that's something I stand by. That said, I still don't anticipate using my Civil Engineering degree should I get it. I really just want to prove to myself I can get the degree. Young guys do yourselves a favor and stay the hell in school and get a real job after you graduate. I honestly get emails from guys asking if I think they should drop out of school because they made 7000 dollars last month. I laugh, and then I say no. You need a much bigger sample size than one month to determine whether this is something you can succeed at, and there really are so few of us who've been able to do it. My decision to go back to school will probably cost me, if you think about it, hundreds of thousands of dollars in EV. Life is more about money though, and I'll still have hundreds of thousands of dollars when I do graduate in 09, hopefully.

The year, pokerwise, for me was an uphill battle all year. There was no point in 2007 at which I was up on the year, sadly. I started out in January and did a bunch of live tournaments. I went PCA to Aussie to Tunica to Atlantic City and then to Biloxi for one event in early February. I managed to airball everything there, and dug myself an even bigger hole by playing high stakes Chinese poker without any knowledge of the game while in Australia. It was my biggest mistake to this point in my career as we were playing very big. I had a huge month playing 25 50 nlhe at Stars in February but continued to play some Chinese and had to pay off a bunch of debts with that online money. In March, I ran awful on Stars and lost a ton at 25 50 completely busting my then-underrolled Stars account. This sucked, as it took away a lot of my earning power. I should have just paid someone for online money, but I was too stubborn and too lazy. I was also very busy playing live tournaments. I did have a good time in February and March though as we partied a lot in LA and then did the same in San Jose while we were there for Bay 101. April was even worse than March. I played the series of tournaments at Bellagio and I think I managed to airball everything except for one small cash. I also played several, several thousands of dollars worth of satellites to the 25000 dollar main event. I'd won my seat when I won the Bellagio Cup in 2006, but I wanted to scoop some cash. I ran like death though and spewed about 20000. The month of May really got me excited for the WSOP. It started off at WSOPC Caesar's in Vegas. I played poorly most of day1, but I played fantastic and then set over setted John Racener late in the day and doubled through Layne Flack twice to take a very nice stack into day 2. I was playing very well IMO on day 2, made the nuts against Chad Brown inside the money, and then redrew a table with 27 left. I was probably 6th or 7th in chips at the time and really had my eye on the half-a-million first prize. Alas, it wasn't to be and this tournament was a microcosm of what my 2007 as a whole would look like. My friend Mikael Thuritz turned two pair on me in a big pot and I lost half my stack. I tilted the rest away and was eliminated in 21st. There was hope again though in late May in the WPT Mirage event. The stars were aligning for me throughout day 1 and I won almost every pot I played to take a top 5 stack into day 2. Day 2 went pretty poorly and I limped into the final 45 or so with a low stack and 27 paying. I managed to accumulate a little on day 3 and then made a semi tough call against Mikko Pispala (sp?) with TT on a board of 766 when he checkraised me all-in in a raised pot on the exact bubble IIRC. He showed 98 and missed his 5 to double me to a top 5 stack. We made it down to 18 going into day 4 and I believe I was 13th in chips going into that day. My good friend and roommate at the time, Jon Little, was also still in which was really fun. I ran my AK into Pispala's AA though and finished an unfortunate 13th. Jon went on to win first place and over a million dollars which was one of his 4 WPT final tables of the calendar year. June started off shitty. After a night and early morning of partying at Treasure Island's nightclub my roommates and I got a taxi home to our Vegas house. For some reason, I decided to jump off a 15 foot balcony in the house onto (it turns out) a deflated air bed and broke my back and heel. I was in a wheelchair and then on crutches for about 30 days total. I was lucky to be alive, really. I missed the first 3 days of the WSOP while I was in the hospital. I cashed shallow in the 2nd event I played, the 1000r. It was the first of my three cashes of the WSOP. I went on to make my first WSOP final table in the inaugural 5000 dollar heads up event. I was severely outplayed by Vanessa "fslexcduck" Selbst in the round of 8. I cashed once more at the WSOP in July in a 1500 dollar event going, I believe, a respectable 3 for 21 on the series. After busting out of the WSOP ME I was excited to be able to defend my title in the 10000 dollar Bellagio Cup event. In the second hour, however, I ran bottom of set of twos into top set of Jacks and never recovered. I was so focused and came very close to laying the hand down on the river but didn't :( August was awful. I was in LA for the majority of it and found myself really hating poker and the city of Los Angeles. I was couped up in a hotel at Commerce and was bleeding tons downstairs because I was on life tilt. After each bad session downstairs I came upstairs and bled online. It was a bad, bad month and very trying time for me. September was bad as well. I airballed WPT Biloxi, Aruba and then WPT Borgata. Borgata was the most memorable. I played almost perfect poker for 2.5 days but then lost a heartbreaking pot for the chiplead with AK vs AQ that I still have nightmares about. It crippled me and I busted about 20 players outside of the money. I believe if I win that pot I'm probably 12 to 1 to win the event and 1.7 million with 75 left. I did have a wonderful time with Stephanie in Aruba, so I'll try to hit that spot annually. In October I first headed to Barcelona. I love the city and had a really good time. I regret that I played too much online poker while I was there and didn't get to fully show Stephanie the city. I'll be back though. After Barcelona, I hustled back to play the US PokerBowl with my teammates. Jon Little and I made the final table of our conference but were unable to win it. At the end of October I decided to rent a condo again in Vegas. I was really down on poker and was spending countless hours in front of laptop. I wrote a blog post talking about how much I hated poker. I regret it. In late November in Vegas I chopped a Venetian 2500 dollar tournament heads up with my friend Keith Lehr. My friend Mike Katz won the 2000 dollar event at Bellagio. Later that week I finished 13th in a 2500, I think. I was heartbroken again to come so close. In the beginning of December though, I'd have my chance again. I finished 3rd in the 5000 dollar event for 100 thousand dollars. It was nice, but a second place finish would've made me an overall winner in 2007, so it was bittersweet. It was like the fucking poker gods knew what my bottom line was for the year and were teasing me as I kept getting closer. In the 15000 dollar Main event I'd have one more chance, but I finished 70 something and just doubled my buy-in. At the completion of these tournaments, I drove back to Birmingham with Stephanie. It was 1900 miles, many of them through a snow storm, with a 6 x 12 trailer hauled behind my Tahoe. As I wrote the other day, I spun my Tahoe after hitting a patch of ice and crashed into a guard rail on a bridge that was about 200 feet over a lake. Again, I, along with Stephanie, was lucky to be alive, really. Now, I'm back in Alabama hanging out waiting for school. I am considering going to PCA. I'd play day1a if I went on January 5th. School starts January 9th, so I still dunno.

I've learned a ton through this journey. I look forward to getting back to the live poker scene this summer. I will probably still play online tournaments on Sunday, but I really don't see online poker competing with the other things I wanna do this semester. I want to do new things.

In closing, my 2008 resolutions:

Lose 40 pounds.

Make a 3.0 GPA

Spend more time with family and friends.

Win a WSOP bracelet.

Continue to improve as a poker player but more importantly as a person.

Thanks so much to all of you who have followed me since day 1. My blog gets tens of thousands of hits daily now, and you guys are obviously to thank for that. My updates will be pretty irregular and probably won't contain much poker content for the next 6 months, but I urge you to please keep reading.

Cheers and Happy New Year.


Shannon Shorr is a professional poker player from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He finished fourth in the Card Player 2006 Player of the Year race. You can follow his progress at

Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of
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