Shaun Deeb Steps Up Live Game at WSOP

Shaun Deeb
Shaun Deeb won an astonishing four SCOOP titles on PokerStars shortly before the WSOP began.

Online MTT legend Shaun Deeb has traditionally struggled at live poker tournaments like the World Series of Poker but according to the young pro he’s made big improvements in his live poker game.

“I’ve had results live but I’ve also had way more buy-ins than results. I always used to just laugh it off but for years I did play bad live,” said Deeb of his reputation for crushing online but having a tough time live.

“I can recognize the things I was doing badly and now I’m playing a lot better and I’m feeling a lot more comfortable,” said Deeb.

“There were times in the past when I was playing live where I would see spots and pull back and not run that big bluff because I felt like it was just too obvious because of how I was acting, and now I’m better at not giving things away.

“So I feel like I’m starting to be able to do the things live that make me successful online,” he said.

Deeb had an unbelievable spring on PokerStars.com, winning a stunning four SCOOP titles while playing online poker from Mexico with a group of pros that included fellow elite online players Aaron Been and Randall Flowers.

And it’s that success that he’s trying to replicate at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.

WSOP Bracelet a Long-Time Aspiration for Deeb

“I grew up watching the World Series on TV and talking with my friends about what it would be like to play WSOP events,” said Deeb.

Shaun Deeb
Shaun Deeb at the 2012 WSOP.

“And I’m the one guy from those early games that actually made it out here and made poker my living so I feel like if I win a bracelet it’s kind of for all those guys that wanted to get here but never made it,” he added.

Shaun Deeb unquestionably has the respect and esteem of his fellow poker players but according to the 26-year-old, there are other perks that come with winning a gold bracelet.

“How many times do I meet someone who doesn’t know anything about poker and they ask if I’ve won a WSOP bracelet?” asked Deeb.

“It’s the first question everyone asks, so winning a bracelet would definitely make those conversations a lot easier,” he said.

“You can basically tell people like that that you won a bracelet and even if it was for $50,000 they’d think you made more money than if you were a Tom Dwan crushing every high-stakes nosebleed cash game,” he joked.

Shaun Deeb has cashed 19 times at the WSOP, including two final tables. In 2011 he finished fourth in the $2,500 Six-Max 10-Game event, and this year he notched a sixth-place finish in the $10k Pot-Limit Hold’em Championship.

Shaun Deeb
Deeb at his second WSOP final table.

Deeb on Tournament Heaters

Already this summer a few players have gone on heaters similar to what Deeb experienced in the 2012 SCOOP.

The most spectacular examples so far have been Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth and John Monnette.

But according to Deeb the explanation for these results is mostly variance.

“I could name 50 people who could make a run like we’ve seen from John Monnette or Phil Ivey,” said Deeb.

Phil Ivey has already made four final tables at the 2012 WSOP, and Monnette has notched first, second and third-place finishes so far this summer.

“A lot of people have a similar chance of making a final table so if someone makes one quickly, and they go on to make another one, everyone makes a much bigger deal out of it, even though their chances of making that second one were essentially the same,” said Deeb.

And Deeb believes the same concept is true of his SCOOP success.

“The SCOOPs were all small-field, big buy-in events and I ran really good to win. I don’t feel like I was playing that much better than my opponents,” Deeb said of his SCOOP run.

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