Playing a 763-entry, €10,000 main event, along with a €25,000 and a €50,000 high roller that drew 67 and 45 entries, respectively, and finishing exactly third in all three poker tournaments is a highly improbable outcome.
But that’s exactly how Shaun Deeb‘s World Series of Poker Europe trip in Rozvadov, Czech Republic went. Despite three big runs, and seven cashes overall in the series, Deeb enjoyed the rare distinction of a bittersweet seven-figure run.
“Obviously, monetarily, it was a great Series,” Deeb said. “And then trophy wise, it was a poor Series. I went there trying to win bracelets, knowing there were soft fields in some events, short fields in [the high rollers]. Knowing there’s a bunch of PLO tournaments, short deck, some weird events and a mix game event with a lot of amateurs. I’m definitely expecting to win a bracelet when I go there — that’s the whole reason I go there.
“So that’s disappointing, but also, I would never imagine going there and cashing for over $1.1 million either, which I did. So it’s kind of like bittersweet. It’s a nice way to make a lot of money for my family. But my number one goal in poker is bracelets, so when I don’t match that expectation it makes it a little bit harder.”
Deeb cashed in seven of the nine events that he played, an achievement in its own right. But he was also quick to point out one particular element of the series – re-entries – that catered to players traveling long distances.
“There are a lot of re-entry events on the schedule, so you got to kind of take that with a grain of salt, when you’re really being honest about your results. One of the events I was in for seven bullets, another one, two or three. It’s not too hard to cash a very high frequency there. [There were some smaller events, but], I mean, for three bullets on average, most events were really a lot higher buy in.”
The ability to play aggressively across these events, with a chance to fire again if things went sideways, was a massive benefit to someone with Deeb’s style of play – especially when he accumulated chips.
“I’m very good at bubbles and inflection points. That’s how I made my career for the last 10-15 years is strictly from that stage of the tournament,” said Deeb. “Around at that stage, usually with a big stack, is where I know a lot of my profitability comes from.”
Unfortunately for Deeb, the results at WSOP Europe didn’t apply to the WSOP Player of the Year race, as it had in the past. Moving forward, he’d love to see a two-stage contest akin to the PGA Tour or stock car racing that would increase the tension and excitement through the fall series.
“I kind of relate to like NASCAR, where they do a yearlong series and then a playoff push,” said Deeb. “I think that when all the POY contenders go to Europe, like the battle we had in 2019 [along with Daniel Negreanu and eventual winner Robert Campbell] was awesome. And we all had a great experience. We all loved it, even with the ridiculous finish.”