At just 27 years old, it's hard to think of Shannon Shorr as a member of an "old guard" of poker.
But as one of the first wave of online kids to get into poker post-Moneymaker, Shorr has been in the game for much longer than you might think.
With almost $5 million in live tournament earnings, he's also much more accomplished as a player than the average fan might suspect.
Making his first live cash for almost $200k at the 2006 Aussie Millions, Shorr has been a force in tournament poker since he started and his recent results, including a win in the PokerStars 500 in October, only serve to confirm it.
Our colleague at PokerListings Germany, Dirk Oetzmann, caught up with Shorr at the recent WPT event in Prague and talked about Shorr's newfound love for backpacking and his words of wisdom for young players hoping to follow in his footsteps.
PokerListings: You are a dedicated globetrotter. Tell us a little bit about that.
Shannon Shorr: It’s true. I’ve become hooked on travelling. I came over here for the WSOPE in Cannes and the EPT San Remo.
Been around longer than you think.
After that, I was supposed to go home, but then I decided spontaneously to go on a backpacking trip through Europe.
It was really just on a whim, but I really fell in love with it.
It is now top of my list of endorsements, and I do it as much as I can.
PL: So you didn’t use to travel?
SS: I traveled for poker, but not very much outside that.
I never really took the time to travel for travel’s sake, without schedule or plans.
PL: Why did you choose to travel as a backpacker, when you could also do it in a more comfortable way.
SS: True, but it’s not about the money, it’s about the experience.
Staying in hostels and meeting people is a completely different experience, and also I want to take myself out of my comfort zone.
PL: In your blog, you named Berlin as your favorite city in the world.
SS: Yes, I just absolutely fell in love with Berlin.
I went to Munich first, and then up to Berlin. People are very nice, a lot of them speak English, the nightlife is great, and the history of the city is fascinating.
PL: So you think Germany might be nicer than its reputation?
"This business has become so extremely tough"
SS: I wasn’t aware that Germany had a bad reputation.
PL: Because of the 20th century history, we seem to be not very likeable.
SS: I think you can consider this disproven.
PL: Thank you. You also said that nowadays you wouldn’t advise young players to become professionals.
SS: That’s right, I would absolutely not. This business has become so extremely tough these days.
There is very little value in it, even in these tournaments.
To start up from scratch and try to get into this business is something I would just strongly advise against.
PL: But you keep doing it.
SS: Yes, but it’s tough for me as well. I’m managing myself, I’m really nitting on my expenses to stay alive, but it’s just not anymore what it used to be.
People, players at my age, we were just very lucky because we got in during the big boom, the post-Moneymaker years, when the average player was a lot worse, and the US was still an open market.
Today it’s just a completely different thing.
PL: Does that mean you think it’s impossible for a young player to make a living on, say, online poker. Without all the expenses?
SS: No, I think it’s still possible. Maybe I’m a little biased, because I’ve seen how much the poker lifestyle has changed and is changing.
PL: Then what would you recommend?
"You have to do something that makes you happy"
SS: I’d say pick a different career, don’t drop out of school.
Do your thing, but don’t put all your hopes on poker. You can always play poker if you want to, but don’t rely on it as a business.
Keep sharpening your gameplay, keep honing your skills, try to grind a little bit, but don’t do it full time, if you ask me.
PL: Are you going to keep on playing in the long run?
SS: I feel like I’m on my way out, but then I’ve been saying that for a while.
PL: But you’ve been pretty successful online lately.
SS: Yah. I kinda love the freedom that comes with it, that’s why I like to stick around.
You have to do something that makes you happy, if you’re spending a whole lot of time on it.
PL: But it doesn’t necessarily have to be poker.
SS: Absolutely not.
PL: And your plans for the near future?
SS: I’m going to play the EPT here in Prague of course. After that … well, I have a flight back on the 17th, but I guess I can get away with not being back until maybe the 22nd.
So I might go in the road again and travel to East Europe, like Slovakia or Slovenia, that region.
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