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Poker Player PROfile: Shannon Shorr Talks About His Quest For A Major Tournament Title

The Alabama-Native Was Named One of the Top 10 Players of the Last Decade


Shannon ShorrWith over $5.4 million in live tournament earnings to date and long regarded as one of the best players to fall short of a World Series of Poker bracelet, Alabama-native Shannon Shorr was recently honored for being among the top ten players of the past decade.

Making a major mark on the live scene in 2006 when he finished fourth for $199,129 in the Aussie Millions main event, Shorr has repeatedly proven himself as a player of substance in the interim years. Two years after the Aussie Millions, Shorr was heads-up for a WSOP bracelet in event no. 7, a $2,000 no-limit hold’em touranment, but fell just short to Matt Keikoan.

Fast forward to 2014 and Shorr has three live tournament cashes on the year worth upwards of $206,000, with the bulk of it coming from his runner up finish to James Calderaro in February at the World Poker Tour Lucky Hearts Poker Open in Florida for $190,039.

Card Player caught up with Shorr to talk about his quest for a major tournament victory.

Diana Cox: With three cashes this year, have you only played in a few tournaments or have there been more?

Shannon Shorr: Actually I have been playing a lot of tournaments around the U.S. including the World Poker Tour. I had a good score down in Florida early on in the year, but since then it’s been all losses. That is how it goes sometimes, but it has been a decent year so far.

DC: You finished second to James Calderaro in the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open in Florida back in February. Has your game changed at all since that day? Was there anything you felt you needed to change?

SS: That was disappointing because the knock on me in my tournament career is that I’ve never had a major win. So to come that close again and sort of miss was disappointing. I feel like I got a little unlucky heads-up in terms of him sort of out-decking me but I don’t really make excuses and I’m always working on my game. I’m ready to have a good WSOP hopefully.

DC: You have over $1.4 million in WSOP earnings alone and six final tables. You were heads-up in 2008 for what would have been your first bracelet against Matt Keikoan. Can you compare the player you were during that match to the player you were when you were heads-up in February and now to today at the 2014 WSOP?

Shorr playing day 1 of the WSOP $25,000 mixed-max NLHSS: I’d like to think that I’ve improved as a player. Like I said, I’m always working on my game and the game has changed so much in the six years since 2008. I vividly remember being in that room playing heads-up and coming so close. Again, it hurts. Everybody sees second for that much money ($349,141) and thinks it’s awesome – which it is – but to win is what we all really want. I would say I’ve improved. I hope.

DC: You said that the one criticism of your career is that a major career title has eluded you, but you were recently named one of the top ten players of the last decade and you are typically named on the best players without a bracelet lists. How does it feel, despite lacking the win, to get that sort of recognition and respect from your peers?

SS: Honestly, that means a lot to me. I’m doing this for myself and to try and make a living, but that is just kind of extra. I don’t put too much stock in it, but it’s nice. I’m a human being and I like getting respect. It’s pretty cool.

DC: You played the first open event of the Series, the $25,00 mixed max no-limit hold’em tournament and then came back for the $1,000 pot-limit Omaha event. All things considered, how is it going so far? How do you feel about this summer after those two events?

SS: That’s an interesting question. Honestly, when I rolled out of bed this morning I was like ‘wow, I lost $25,000 yesterday and now I’m going to play a $1,000 PLO,’ but you just have to separate yourself from that and just stay in the moment and play in each tournament. In the $25,000 I drew a really tough table with three of the world’s best players – Phil Galfond, Brian Rast and Joe Cada – all to my left. I drew a miserable seat and things just didn’t work out. That is how it goes so often in tournaments. I maybe didn’t play my absolute best, but I’m on to the next one.

DC: You mentioned six months ago that you have not played any high stakes cash games in about five years. Is there any chance we will see you at the cash games tables this summer?

SS: No. Honestly, I’m probably so far behind the cash game curve nowadays and I pretty much just play tournaments. I’m not a huge fan of the culture of the live cash games. I prefer hanging out with friends when I’m here, playing the tournaments, eating, going out.

DC: Along with your career, you have been documenting your journey of self-improvement in your blog. Are you still on that journey?

SS: I’m always on that journey. That is what means the most to me and all of this is sort of secondary. I do this because I love it, but I’m always meditating, working out and trying to feel good. Hopefully, I’ll be coming back and cracking one of these tournaments.

DC: Do you think you would be where you are if you had not started that journey? And have you found what it is that makes you happy?

SS: I do. I’ve had some times in my life where I wasn’t in the best place, but once I sort of got on that journey and found out what really makes me happy, I guess I started to get the most out of everything I’ve been doing. I like being healthy and seeing my family and friends. Just group unity, one love, that type of thing.