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Shannon Shorr - How Black Friday brought him peace and happiness

Shannon Shorr How Black Friday brought him peace and happiness

Frontpage photo credit: $10,000 Six-Max No Limit Hold'em live reporting WSOP 2012.

If you were to combine Shannon Shorr’s live and online tournament earnings he easily smashes the $6.5-million mark. There are not many poker players that can say that. Shorr has won an FTOPS, Sunday 500, Sunday Mulligan, $1k Monday, multiple $109 Rebuys, plenty of big live side events and his biggest victory came in August of 2006 when he took down the Bellagio Cup for just shy of one-million dollars. 

All of the above sounds very impressive but Shorr doesn’t boast about it. The 27-year old from Birmingham, Alabama has done a lot of self-improvement since Black Friday and sees himself as a much better person right now. In this in-depth conversation he explains how money is no longer the decider of his happiness.

In order to prepare for this interview I spent quite some time reading your blog. One quote that stood out to me was, “Other bloggers will relate to how hard it is to write about oneself without coming across as self-important. That's something I most certainly don't intend to do.” Why is it important to you how other people view you and to not come across as being self-important.
It’s important to me because, I think a few years ago I was slightly arrogant. I’m 27 now but specifically during my early twenties for some reason I thought that poker put me above other people, or put me on a pedestal just because I was good at a poker game. That didn’t make much sense. I learned a lot from that and just in daily experiences I get tired of people talking about themselves. It’s one of the reasons I used to blog pretty frequently and now I do it pretty rarely. Mostly all I can talk about is myself and I just feel like people don’t generally want to hear you talk about yourself. I’d say that’s the main reason why I put that line in there.

So would you say you don’t like the Shannon Shorr from a few years ago?
I wouldn’t say that, because I had the potential to be a great person back then. I just wasn’t there, I hadn’t quite seen enough. My eyes hadn’t really been opened. But its all part of growing up I think. I think everybody goes through that but I’m a lot happier with where I am now.

You were also pointing out that you still have some bad habits you are trying to correct. What are some of the bad habits that you feel you have and how are you working on those?
I think I still waste a little too much time. That’s something that I’ve gotten much better at. Poker and wasting time kind of go hand in hand. I’ve been working on being really productive with my time and trying to constantly improve myself, which isn’t easy. It’s so easy to just kick back, relax, do nothing and turn on terrible TV. 

So how are you trying to fill the time and how have you come to the realization that you could do more with your time?
That awareness I think came from traveling, blogging and just talking to people. Being around intelligent people, seeing the world, seeing what their goals are, just inspired me to get out there and do more. I’ve also been spending a lot of time with family. Reading self-improvement books and watching documentaries on good stuff, is something that I really enjoy. I used to waste a lot of time watching sports. I’ve tried to cut that down a little bit but I love it so much. I’ve been trying to fill my time with productivity.

When you were younger you said that you did a lot of complaining and bemoaning your luck. Now you’ve come to terms with that fact that you’re actually a lot luckier than you think you are, especially when you put in perspective to some other people. Do you think that that mindset had an effect on your results and also maybe the way people viewed you as a person?
Absolutely. I know that it’s helped my poker even though my results have been just okay in the past two years. I’ve pretty much been playing live tournaments so you can’t take any of the results too seriously. But I definitely feel a lot more in the zone playing now and I expect good things to happen. Whereas in the past I was like, how am I going to get knocked out of the tournament this time? I like taking that positive approach. Everybody knows people’s twitter personalities and blogging personalities and there are even hash tags about people who are just completely negative. I was probably that way for a little bit but I definitely don’t think I’m that way now. 

For the longest time you were very quiet at the poker table. Is composure at the poker table something you have to maintain? Or do you need to know the people around you before you start opening up to them at the table? 
It’s a little bit of both of those actually. I know that things that I do that are different than how a lot of people operate. I try to totally isolate myself during a tournament. I’m not about mingling in groups and talking on breaks and stuff. I like to have a sort of laser focus on the table while I’m playing and then go outside by myself and think about my game plan for the next 90 minutes. This may or may not be the right way to go; I’m not judging anybody. It’s just how I do it. I think people thought I was standoffish just because of the fact that I’m so serious at the table. I’m not really chatting it up that often, but nowadays much more so. But yea I am aware that’s probably how people interpret me so that’s something I’m working on too. 

Interview by Remko Rinkema
Remko Rinkema - Interviewer

Remko Rinkema has covered the biggest poker tournaments in the world since 2008, including many WSOP, EPT, Aussie Millions, APPT, MCOP and Unibet Open events. As an in-depth interview and story enthusiast he tries to do things a little differently. Besides the usual writings Rinkema grabs every chance to appear on podcasts, live streams and in the occasional video.

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