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Summer Recap

by Shannon Shorr |  Published: Jul 28, '08

As I start this blog, it's about 1:35 a.m. Tuesday morning. Quickly, I've played a lil Omaha 8 the last couple of nights, but obviously the freeroll is over because the WSOP is over. My inbox has been flooded, so I won't take the time to respond to those emails.

I apologize for not blogging for the last 8 days. I've been hangin' out with the coolest gals ever Lacey Jones and Esther "Etay" Taylor the last week and in general doing nothing productive. It's been a fun week since I last posted. Did some bowling a couple times, saw Dark Knight and Stepbrothers, made a trip to Stoney's, degen'd a lil bit, went to the USA vs Canada basketball game, watched the sick, sick, sick Margarito fight on PPV, etc. I like to think I deserved a week off :)

I have a flight back to Birmingham in about 6 hours. All the roomies have departed besides basebaldy who bought a house here, so I'll be the last one to head out. The last four months have been just perfect. I arrived out here on March 27, and the time has just flown by. I've had this feeling of "leaving" Las Vegas one night each of the last 3 summers, and all three times I get kinda sad thinking about all the fun that my roommates and I had. I would go to war with all 5 of the guys. I could easily compile a list of 50 kick ass stories that we all shared from the summer.

The trip started out pretty nicely for me. I'd been doing well online leading up to April, and I think it gave me an extra bit of confidence. I final tabled two of the early preliminary events at the Five Star series but sadly finished with two seventh places for relatively insignificant money. A little later in the series I made a nice third final table of the series in a 5000 dollar event. I ended up getting three handed with Bruno Fitoussi and Michael Binger before busting in third for something like 95000 dollars, which helped turn the series around. A few days later I had a chance to really make some noise in the last prelim (5000 dollar) at Bellagio but finished just short of the 18 paying spots and another final table. I satellited into the subsequent 25000 dollar WPT Championship event for somewhere in the neighborhood of 9000 dollars, I think. Things went really poorly all day 1, and I limped through before busting pretty early on in day 2.

We played a little more poker in April. I think I played two preliminary events and then the 5000 dollar WSOPC main event at Caesar's but busted out of all of them.

The month of May was more or less a vacation for my roommates and me. I flew home in early May to attend this really cool Crawfish Boil festival in Birmingham that I always enjoy. Did the Cinco de Mayo thing, relaxed for a couple days, and then flew to London with Mike and Adam to vacation. We spent a few days there and then headed over to Amsterdam for a few days that I don't really remember.

We made it back to Vegas and I was lucky to have my sister in town for a week on business. Had a really good time with her before the roomies and I all left on a 4 day houseboat trip. We did this houseboat trip last year and it's just a blast! I hope we can make it an annual thing.

We arrived back at the house in Vegas the day before the 2008 WSOP began. I remember thinking that I could not believe how it had already been a year since the previous WSOP (and my infamous balcony leap). I played the first 5 events and kind of got unlucky in a few of them to start out 0 for 5. Although I don't put stock in a ridiculously small sample size of five 5 tournaments, I was already getting worried about starting out like 0 for 12 like I did in the 2006 WSOP. It can easily happen, but its painful when it happens on such a big stage.

Alas, things would change for the much, much better. In my sixth tournament, event #7, I made a magical run through some 1600 entrants to finish in 2nd place to a gentleman named Matt Keikoan. It was some of the most fun I'd ever, ever had playing poker. It hurt so bad to come so close to a bracelet and miss, but my time will come.

I think I airballed my next 5 tournaments before heading out to Minneapolis to attend my friend Dave Anderson's wedding. Had a really sick time there and met some cool people, but at the same time I was excited to get back to Vegas a few days later to take more shots at bracelets. I'd have another chance soon after my return. I made a run in the 2500 dollar shorthanded NLHE event, finishing 32nd or something. This was a tournament that I will never, ever forget. I was involved in 7 "coinflips" over the course of the tournament and won all 7 of them. Sadly, like four of these were early on and were relatively insignificant aside from once or twice keeping me in the tournament.

I went on a decent little heater to end the preliminary events. For the first time in my career I cashed in a non-NLHE event. It came in the form of a 1500 dollar PLO H/L event. I had a well media-documented suckout on the bubble against Layne Flack where he showed me middle set and the nut flush draw against my had-to-call Kx6s4s2x on Ks9x2s that propelled me to second in chips to end day 1. I really, really enjoyed that tournament. I was a little below average and actually could've very easily contended for the bracelet, but I lost a virtual coinflip for all the chips to bust in 25th place. On day 2 I had the chance to play with Erik Seidel, which I really enjoyed. Erik is one of the guys I admire most in the industry, and he's someone whom I've tried to model my career after.

My final cash came in the prestigious 5000 dollar shorthanded event. I'm not much one for talking strategy, but I really was happy with how I played these shorthanded events. I just sort of sat back and trapped all tournament long without playing too, too fast. I know a lot of the young guys go out there and want to raise every hand, which is fine, but this was a style that worked nicely for me in the 6man tournies. I battled my ass off in this one and was able to hang on long enough to finish like 30th place for around 20 thousand dollars.

We took a few days off and then played the WSOP Main Event. I cashed in the 2006 ME but have since struggled, busting on day 1 each of the last two years. This year I kind of just struggled to get anything going all day. I did start to rally in the final level and got to my highpoint of 27000 but then got in an insane 3 way AI with 10 minutes left in the night with K9dd vs 76dd vs 4c4s on 9s5d4d and missed my few outs.

There was still quite a bit of poker to be played after the series. Our new daily destination was Bellagio for the few prelims leading up to the 15000 dollar WPT Bellagio Cup. Things went pretty remarkably for me at what is kind of my home casino. Things worked themselves out and I picked up my first career outright win against this Frenchman to capture the 3000 dollar event for one quarter of a million dollars. A few days later I had a chance to win back to back tournaments as I found myself at the final table of a 5000 dollar tournament. It wasn't too be though as I finished 3rd for 125000 more dollars. The bustout hand stung for a while. Three handed there was a really nitty British gentleman who was on the felt a lil bit with 400000 chips and blinds 15/30000. I had about 1.3 million and Jimmy Fricke had 1.8 or something. It was folded to me in the SB, and I decided to complete AKo. I had been completing everytime when the nit folded the button, and I felt Jimmy must've felt it was time for a raise out of the BB. To my delight Jimmy raised it 100000 more to 130000. I thought and raised to 430000 and then Jimmy thought and moved me in. I quickly called, he showed KQss, the door was a Q, and I never caught up.

Jimmy played the hand fine, and it is what it is.

I remember a bunch of people being kind of shocked when I didn't really react or bitch about the hand. The truth is I couldn't complain or bemoan my luck. I'd gotten really, really lucky in the tournament before when I spiked a two outter 8 handed for all my chips. I get so, so tired of hearing people complain about beats and seemingly forget about when they spike. There are like a dozen guys on the tournament circuit that I will purposely avoid on the breaks because I know all I'm going to hear from them is bad beat stories. No one runs worse than anyone else in the longterm, and it's just dumb to sweat the day to day or hand to hand grind. I kind of realized this maybe 9 months ago, and it's so fucking liberating. I can just play poker, make good decisions, and live with the results. I remember as recently as late last year going back to my hotel room and throwing shit and whining to my then-girlfriend Stephanie. It was a rough time then, but still I can now look back on that and realize how childish it was.

I played a few more tournaments in the form of the Bellagio WPT, The Venetian 5000, and The Orleans 2000 but bricked all three to end the summer.

In three weeks I will be returning to The University of Alabama to take a semester of undergrad business management classes in hopes of getting closer to finishing my degree. It will be the hardest thing I've ever done, especially coming off a summer like this where I turned as much profit as I likely would over the course of the majority of my lifetime simply using the business degree. As I said last January when I was returning though, it's not about the money. A friend told me tonight, "Shannon, you might be the first poker player to ever drop out of school, make it and then go back to school." I thought this was funny and true. For me now, it's about getting the experience, diversifying my life, and meeting new people. This game of poker has played such a huge part of my life over the last 30 months or so, and I'm ready for it to take kind of a back seat to some other interests and activities I hope to pursue. You won't find me grinding cash online, playing nightly tournaments, or anything like that for the next few months. I probably will play a few of the FTOPS and WCOOP events. I've won a seat to the Aruba tournament, so I'll almost certainly go there, and depending on how I get my last few classes scheduled I may be able to sneak away to a couple WPTs like Borgata without missing much class.

One more thing I'd like to touch on is Las Vegas as a whole. Vegas is a city I hate to love and love to hate. Everything is so damn fake here it seems. There's almost zero chance of meeting women unless you're fortunate enough to do so somewhere like a dance floor at a nightclub. Everything, too, is about the pursuit of money. I'm looking forward to getting back to Alabama, meeting some real people, and being able to just hang out with friends and stuff.

All of this said though, I still cannot get enough of Vegas. When I'm back in Alabama I often find myself missing it. I guess it's a double edge sword. I love the action, the lights, the 24/7 lifestyle, everything about it. We talked about buying a condo out here, but I think we're gonna wait. It makes sense as I see myself being out here atleast a few months per year every year.

In closing, thanks for everyone who's been a special part of this wild ride. I've met so many interesting people, have so many stories, and have been afforded unbelievable opportunities thanks to this game.

The only thing that I really hate is that I won't be able to compete for the Player of the Year title this year. After 2006, I thought it would take a long, long time to get this close again. As it stands now, I am in seventh place but really within one big score of taking over the lead, so if I can do something in one of the few tournies I'll play the rest of the calendar year it could happen. You won't find me rooting, atleast publicly :) against the other guys in the race as I did in 2006, lol. I look back on that and think it was really immature of me.

Hopefully school will be a nice experience for me.

I'll have some updates this week when I get back to Bama. If you read all of this I really, really appreciate it. I also hope to return all of your emails in the next week or so. Wow this was long and took 2 hours.


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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