Shannon Shorr is Getting The Balance Right

Shannon Shorr talks about starting a family, his slow start to 2023, and being in the right mindset to handle it all.

Jeff Walsh
Apr 7, 2023
Shannon Shorr playing at the 2022 WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas.

It was a long day of grinding a short stack, one that would test anyone’s patience. But Las Vegas’ Shannon Shorr had been here before. Many times in fact. And on the last hand of the night, Shorr got it all-in against two opponents, looking for his flush draw to hit in with one card to come.

Bink. Shorr rivered a much-needed diamond and right before bagging for the night, he tripled up to a healthy stack heading into Day 2 of the $3,500 WPT Rolling Thunder main event.

“That was pretty cool, saves me a buy-in,” Shorr said with a smile in the aftermath.

A look at Shorr’s recent results it would seem that there’s been a lot of things going right for the longtime pro. A fast start to 2023 found him booking back-to-back five-figure scores at the PokerStars PCA in the Bahamas, and he recently followed that up with a runner-up finish in a $3,000 WSOP Circuit event in Las Vegas for another $53,561. Results that any player would envy.

But as many tournament players can attest to, sometimes looks (and results) can be deceiving.

“Actually, ’23 hasn’t been so great,” Shorr said. “It’s been a lot of buy-ins. That’s what goes unseen. It’s been a little slow, but thankfully, the last several years have gone really well. I don’t put too much stock in any few-month period of time. But yea, it’s always nicer when it’s going well than when it isn’t.”

Shorr has plenty of reasons not to sweat what may be a current downswing. A few years ago the Alabama native relocated to Las Vegas to refocus on poker, and tournaments in particular.

“I spent basically a decade traveling worldwide, and that was awesome and so much fun, but it was pretty exhausting. So my now wife, then fiance, and I decided we wanted to just be in one place a little bit more, and it worked out being in Vegas,” Shorr said. “And we knew we wanted to start a family so it’s actually working out. All the pieces are starting to align. It’s a good area we live in Vegas, seems like a good place to raise a family so I’m pretty excited.

“Thankfully, so much stuff is coming through Vegas these days so I can make a living without having to travel a bunch,” he continued.

While 2023 has yet to heat up for Shorr, 2022 was an absolute monster for him as a Vegas local. Among his many significant results, he went on a heater at the PokerGO U.S. Poker Open with four cashes for more than $500,000 in total. He also made the final table of the WSOP $50,000 High Roller for $436,412, the third-highest score of his career.

Shorr and his wife are enjoying raising their 16-month-old daughter and leading a more “domesticated life.” And that’s the harmony that Shorr is clearly working on finding. One that allows him to keep close to home while spending the time necessary at the tables to work through the variance that can follow you as a poker pro.

“It’s definitely tricky to find the right balance. I’m accepting of the fact that I’m not going to be able to put as many hours into poker, but that’s cool with me. Obviously raising a kid is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity…or hopefully a few times in a lifetime. And I’m just trying to be super present for that. That’s obviously the priority. I realize that I’m not going to be able to play as high of stakes for a bit…in the early years at least. It’s just hard for me to compete at that level a little bit.

“I still feel like I can play a lot of these things without putting as many hours in and I still do pretty well, but it’s hard to really play at the highest level anymore, or at least at this time.”

Another part of that balance is dealing with the highs and lows that come with tournament poker. Taking that competitive pain that comes with suffering a bad beat in a big spot and not returning home and walking through the front door with it back to your family.

“Trying my best to just have some balance because, man, playing poker for a living – and I’ve been doing it a long time – it’s a tough business,” he said. “It really messes with your emotions, so I’m trying to sort of level it out and keep the travel to a minimum and develop some new hobbies and stay active.”

Shorr quickly notes dealing with those feelings and the swings is something he keeps at the top of mind, and it’s not always easy. But in the end, Shorr has a plan.

“[The swings] are always there. It’s always painful. The last year hasn’t been going great. You think about it, especially when you have a young kid at home. But I’ve positioned myself in a way where I’m never really going to be at risk, and if I go on too big of a downswing I’ll just sell some pieces.

“I’m finding that just not being stressed is what happiness is all about, and this business provides a lot of stress. So yeah, I’m trying to just level things out and stay balanced and enjoy poker for what it is.”