Hey everyone! I last wrote in September from Barcelona, and this entry comes from my condo in Birmingham, Alabama. I still have strong attachments to this city where I was born as my mom, dad, sisters and baby niece all live here. It is a perfect spot for breaks between trips as it gives me a chance to see everyone, catch my breath, and get back on my diet and fitness grind. I'm at my happiest when spending time with family, and this week has been no different. Earlier this week I returned from an ineffaceable 82 day trip in Europe. I once again return to the US extremely inspired and happy. A lot of my time over the last couple of years has been spent on a journey of personal development. I feel strongly that being in Europe facilitates that. It can be attributed to the fact that I'm able to stay very active, meet people from different backgrounds, and have some incredibly different experiences from those I have here in USA. I can feel a sort of personal growth of which, admittedly, I am proud!
After Barcelona I spent the majority of the next two months traveling and playing poker tournaments with one of my best friends in poker, Byron Kaverman. I feel very fortunate to have met Byron as we share a lot of the same thoughts and views about life and how we wish to proceed through it. Additionally, we had a hell of a good time hanging out and checking out what the different European cities had to offer. There were several afternoons where we awoke and high-fived commenting something to the tune of "Woah, great night". I also traveled and roomed at times with two other very good friends, Jonathan Little and David Peters which is always an awesome experience.
(Photo from Stockholm, Sweden with Byron Kaverman)
Chronologically, my trip looked like this:
- Enghien-les-Bains, France
Of the aforementioned, it's a very close call between Barcelona and Amsterdam as to which is my favorite. Barcelona is extremely livable in that the weather, food, beaches, boardwalk, architecture and nightlife are awesome. I find the overall ambience of Amsterdam to be the best of all European cities I've visited. I say that despite having spent most of my time there in cold, rainy Novembers. The Dutch people are incredibly friendly, tolerant and openminded. I've been fortunate to make some very good friends in the city which really helps.
I spent almost a month in Stockholm and would be doing it a disservice if I didn't mention how much I loved it. I found the Swedish city progressive, clean, health-conscience and convenient. London is really growing on me. If you can't find something you like it London, you're doing it wrong. It is unmatched culturally, the food is out of this world, and there is something incredibly cool about the anonymity that comes with residing in that city.
My time in Copenhagen, Madrid and Brussels has been brief, so I'm not qualified to comment on those cities. The only other major city I didn't mention was Paris. I've tried to get into Paris but haven't quite fallen for it yet. Despite being a very experienced traveler, I find Paris at times difficult to maneuver as a monolingual (read: dumb) American.
I will spend the Thanksgiving holiday with family here in Alabama before emplaning on one final trip in 2013. On Friday I fly to Montreal where I'll spend one week for a World Poker Tour (WPT) event. I'll then cross the Atlantic once more for my third annual trip to Prague, Czech Republic where I'll be competing for two weeks in events hosted by both the WPT and the European Poker Tour (EPT).
It has been a somewhat successful year for me professionally, so I had half a mind to take a very extended holiday through 2013. That won't be the case though, as I have found myself near the top of the leaderboard in a couple of Global Poker Index (GPI) categories as a result of a successful fall in Europe.
The GPI is the foremost system when it comes to ranking tournament poker players worldwide. As of today, I am at an all-time personal best of World #5. I am currently ranked 6th in the GPI Player of the Year race. If I can create some magic in Montreal and Prague, I have a shot of catching the Canadian leader, Daniel Negreanu. My trip was highlighted by a final table appearance in the €10450 World Series of Poker Europe Main Event in Enghien-les-Bains where I finished 8th out of 375 entrants. I had subsequently final tabled another WSOPE event days prior, the €5300 Mixed-Max event as I finished 5th in the 140 player field. I made another major final table at the end of the trip as I finished 8th of 410 entrants in the €1590 re-entry event at the Master Classics in Amsterdam.
It's important that I explain that the GPI systems rank only results, not necessarily tournament poker skill. By no means am I the fifth best tournament player in the world. At least, that isn't distinguishable simply by staring at the list of ranked players' names. In fact, there is so much variance in tournament poker that it is impossible to measure. It would be foolish and unprofessional to blame one's personal downswings on the variance in tournament poker and then hail oneself the greatest when he or she is at the top of the leaderboards.
(Photo with the other World Series of Poker Europe Main Event final tablists. Eventual winner in bottom right, 19 year old Spaniard Adrian Mateos Diaz.)
As I've said before, I am for the most part not motivated by my actual tournament poker results nor where I sit on the tournament leaderboards. I am much more concerned with my level of focus while competing, my preparation, and the decisions I make. However, I feel it is in my best professional interest to sort of go after these titles. I really love playing tournament poker right now, so it is a nice excuse to play some more. I think that the live tournament poker arena is in a really cool place. It is extremely competitive and ever-evolving. The leading personalities, for the most part, are young, inspired, healthy, friendly, well-rounded and great role models. I feel honored to be around them. While I haven't made many plans for my 2014 aside from attending the Pokerstars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) in Bahamas in January, I expect I will continue to spend a lot of time playing live tournament poker. A friend told me something recently that resonated: "To give up something you love would be a travesty."
Happy Holidays everyone. Thanks for reading. I can be reached to talk about anything by email firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm trying to cut down on time spent on social media, but at times I'll document my journey on my twitter account: @shannonshorr.