Shannon Shorr: Beating poker one tourney at a time

Shannon Shorr

If you've got your ear to the ground in the poker world, you may be hearing one name pop up more often and more loudly as the year goes on - Shannon Shorr. The 21-year-old entered his first World Series of Poker (WSOP) this year without as much luck as he'd hoped, but he's making plenty of waves in other parts of the world, earning more than $1.3 million in tournament winnings so far.

Shorr took time to answer a few questions for before the Empire State Hold'em Championship $5,000 buy-in Main Event that took place at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in New York last weekend, and before he begins a busy tournament schedule that includes the World Poker Tour (WPT) Legends of Poker event in Los Angeles this weekend, the WPT Borgata Open, the European Poker Tour (EPT) London event, and the EPT Baden, Austria, event.

How did you get your start playing poker?

Playing $5 house games with my friends at college after the [Chris Moneymaker] boom.

Being so young, most people would assume most of your experience is online, but your record shows you've also played a few tournaments around the world. Do you consider yourself mostly an online or live-game player?

Yes, whenever I'm at a live tournament table, all the kids ask me, "Where do you play online?" I tell them I play some on, but that I am really a tournament poker player by trade.

What was your first tournament, and how did you do?

It was the Aussie Millions in Melbourne, Australia in January 2006. I won my seat online. I finished fourth for $205,000. It was there that I learned I could really, really play flops well. I had a good feeling I would excel in live tournaments.

I actually didn't have a lot of money when I went to Australia. I was maybe worth $60 to $70 thousand at the time. The final table in Australia really propelled me in that it allowed me to play other live tournaments and excel in those.

What was your first appearance at the World Series of Poker like?

I played in 22 events at the 2006 WSOP. I did fairly poorly, I cashed in three of the 22 events. (He cashed in the $2,000 No-Limit Hold'em event, placing 72nd for $5,748; in the $1,000 Not-Limit Hold'em event, placing 46th for $5,500; and in the Main Event, placing 577th for $20,617.)

Did you get to play against anyone you've always wanted to play?

I played with a number of "TV pros," but I wouldn't say I wanted to play with them.

Besides the cash, what will you take away from your WSOP experience?

I got to spend six weeks living with some great poker players. We spent a bunch of time together and really came together as a group.

Jeff Madsen made a big name for himself at the WSOP this year as the youngest player to win a bracelet and youngest two-time winner. Do you feel any rivalry with him since you're both so young and actually have earned close to the same amount of winnings so far this year?

First off, I played with Jeff, and he is a fantastic guy. Ironically, we have the exact same date of birth too (June 7, 1985). He is absolutely superb on the felt.

I don't think it's really a rivalry, but I can't wait to see how far each of us go. I anticipate seeing him quite a bit in the future.

How do you prepare for big tournaments?

I don't. I try to go into the tournaments open-minded and ready to play different ways depending on what my starting table looks like.

If you hadn't decided to become a full-time pro this year, what would you be doing instead?

I would still be a student, and I'd probably be a construction project manager after school. I was working toward a civil engineering degree.

Why did you decide to turn pro this year instead of waiting until you finished your degree?

Poker is just too good right now to return to school. I've made more in eight months playing poker then I'd make in 10 to 12 years with my engineering degree. Also, I'm in the hunt for the Player of the Year race, so that would be nice to win.

What does your family think of your career choice?

My mom went on the Million V cruise with me, and my dad went to the World Series of Poker Circuit Lake Tahoe with me. A lot of poker players are jealous of me. I have an extremely supportive family that some of them don't have.

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For more details on Shannon Shorr, please see his profile.

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