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Poker and Life Outside the US

by Shannon Shorr |  Published: Oct 15, '12


Hello everyone! Once again it has been too long since my last update. I'm writing this blog entry from a hotel room in the breathtaking town of Lugano, Switzerland. Since my last update, I have spent 31 nights in the US, 36 nights in Costa Rica, and 18 nights in Europe. I'd like to go through and do the calculation for the last 15 months, as I've been spending increasingly less time in America.

After the World Series of Poker ended this summer in Las Vegas, I did about a month worth of unwinding back in Alabama. I then spent a weekend I won't soon forget with friends attending the wedding of our pal Eric Baldwin and his wife Mary in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. When I arrived back home on Sunday August 19 I got a call from my mom saying that my sister Heather, who was expecting a baby September 5, was on her way to the hospital. At 11:57 pm she gave birth to my first niece Alaina! It was a really cool experience and I look forward to watching Alaina grow up. I had a flight to Costa Rica booked for the 21st, so the timing was perfect!


From there, I headed to Costa Rica to play the World Championship of Online Poker with one of my best friends, Adam "simmsux" Geyer. Let me first say that Adam is the definition of a consumate professional. It was an honor to stay with him and watch how he operates: quietly, efficiently, and completely under the radar (by choice). With his incredibly successful WCOOP, he has cemented himself as an online poker tournament legend. On arrival, we almost immediately began an intense work schedule. Down the final 3 weeks of the stay, we averaged 70 hours per week of online poker. Talk about isolation! We did find some time for some amazing adventure. We played golf, went white water rafting, saw a volcano, went ziplining, went surfing, and saw a World Cup qualifying soccer match. I really enjoyed my stay in the country. Along with the adventure, the people and the food were fantastic.

My WCOOP series didn't go well, and I was less than thrilled with how I played at times. It's possible I'm being too hard on myself, and I'll give myself that it's difficult to maintain focus for the duration of that kind of work stint. I found myself tilting at times which is something that I can say with confidence almost never happens when I play live tournaments. Luckily, I won the Pokerstars 792 player $500 tournament last night, so I was able to more than recover my losses from the WCOOP.

I was pretty surprised with how much the online poker tournaments evolved in such a short time, and it took me a bit of time to adjust. Poker is certainly becoming less and less attractive as a means for making a living if you consider how all of our hourly rates have been undeniably affected over the last couple years. I am a firm believer that with the current state of the industry, it would be a very poor decision for any young, unestablished person to abandon school or work to try to make a living playing poker. The variance is just so incredibly remarkable. Myself and other players from my generation were so fortunate with the timing of our entry into the business: a time when the economy was good, people were uneducated about the game, and online poker was legal in the United States. From talking with other professional poker players recently, almost all agree that it would be a most daunting task to try to build from the ground up right now.

After Costa Rica, I went home long enough to see family and do laundry. I arrived in Cannes, France late last month in time for the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event. I had a short stay in that event, but I can only say great things about the town. It's so chill and definitely one of my favorite stops on the poker tournament circuit. I hung around for a couple days as my long time friend and (often) roommate Jon Little made day 3 of the event. Then, we took the short train ride to the town of San Remo, Italy which was conveniently hosting a nine day European Poker Tour series immediately after the WSOP-E. San Remo is another town that I really like despite many negative reviews from poker players. Admittedly there isn't a whole lot to do there, but I found myself spending hours just staring in awe at the natural beauty of the place from our apartment balcony. The 11 live tournaments I played in France and Italy were in a losing effort. 

I intended on flying back to Alabama after the series in San Remo, but on a whim decided to purchase a backpack, cancel my flight, and do some solo leisure traveling around Europe. I am completely intoxicated by travel, and now is as good a time as any. I spent the weekend in Milan and intend on spending this entire week in Switzerland. I'll likely go through Germany the following week. On Sundays I'll check into hotels to ensure stable internet so I can play online, but otherwise I will be staying in hostels and riding trains throughout. Milan was my first hostel experience and I loved it! Meeting new people is near the top of my passions right now, so there is no other way to travel in my opinion. I was initially worried about the isolation, but I have already met a ton of amazing new friends. I feel myself growing everyday and expect this to be a lifechanging experience. I have particularly enjoyed sharing travel stories and getting recommendations on places to go. I am due in Amsterdam for a tournament series beginning November 3 and am supposed to fly home 11/9. As far as I'm concerned though, I'll be traveling indefinitely. If you want to follow along on my trip, I'll be on twitter occasionally @ShannonShorr.

Thanks for reading.







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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