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My Life in 1116 Words

What’s up guys? It’s been over a year since I last posted. Wow time flies! It’s kinda cool to have just reread my last entry having returned from a festival called Burning Man. That experience was one of the times of my life. You can find that entry here

It’s been a wild and crazy year no doubt! Let me first give a shout to my gf Justine who has been with me each step of the way. She’s been by my side during a pretty annoying poker downswing. We’ve also been together for some pretty redic fun leisure travel. Last winter we skied in Breckenridge and then scoped out Denver.

Next, we embarked on a 58-day backpacking trip through South America that took us through 6 countries and provided countless experiences for which I don’t even have words. Justine has crafted a couple compilation videos of the first two countries we visited: Ecuador and Peru. You can find our youtube page here. She’s working on the videos for the other four: Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Brazil.

Some highlights from that continent:

 

  • Galapagos Islands 6 day cruise
  • 4 day Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu
  • 3 day stay in the Amazon of Peru
  • Partying at Carnaval in Ororu, Bolivia
  • World’s most dangerous road biking
  • 3 day Salar de Uyuni salt flat tour
  • Face forward rappelling 17-stories in La Paz
  • Hiking the famous ‘W’ in Patagonia
  • 7 day stay in Palermo Soho in Buenos Aires
  • Seeing Iguazu Falls from both sides

 

I could write a blog entry for each of those experiences and a dozen others. If you wanna hear more details about any of them just holla at me. I’d always heard such great things about South America and it lived up to the hype. My countries visited count is now up to 32, and I hope to add many more in coming years. Ideally the next stop would be Southeast Asia as I’ve only seen Thailand in that region.

I spent almost my entire twenties (I’m 31) single, so a ton of my travel was done solo. It was extremely special to experience all of the recent travel with Justine. It would be silly to parade as if we are a perfect couple that never argues or disagrees on anything. We've had our challenges and we’ve worked through them each time. I cannot say enough about communication and vulnerability and its importance in a relationship. I give mad props to Justine for her willingness. We’ve been having so much fun getting healthy, working out, and learning about all sorts of topics together. I think one of the benefits of traveling and dating a lot of people in my twenties was meeting so many different people from so many walks of life. It allowed me sort of find a mold of all of the qualities that I like in a person. It allowed me to find Justine.

As it pertains to my personal journey, it has been a bit volatile since I last posted. I’ve had some dark times that almost all stem from the rough stretch I’ve endured in my career as a tournament poker professional. I won’t bother complaining here as you most certainly don’t wanna hear it. There has been an often-present anxiety due to things not going well financially. It has also been a hit to my ego.  

I think I’ve finally worked through it and at peace with it. I’ve been playing poker tournaments for near 11 years now and have experienced the swings of the business first hand. It’s really important to take a step back and gain perspective and “zoom out” as a friend told me this summer. I experienced some depression as a result of things not going well at poker table. An interesting thing happened. I would get upset about tournaments not going well. I would then get really wrapped up in my head and hard on myself FOR getting upset about tournaments not going well.

Through travel and life experiences I’ve developed a keen sense of awareness and have (most of the time) been able to stay pretty balanced. I know that I am not defined by my poker results, so when I allow my emotions to get wrapped up in the results the depression was doubling. I think that awareness can be both a blessing and a curse. I’ve had an interesting relationship with awareness. I’ll always be working toward complete security in myself and have enjoyed the journey in direction of totally not caring what others think of me. I talk a little bit more about all this in a <15 minute audio interview at the top of the page here:

Unless you’re a true, true poker world insider you won’t understand the variance of playing poker tournaments for a living. Simply, things haven’t really gone my way. I’m extremely determined to right the ship though and continue to work extremely hard on my poker game. I’m still in a good place financially and plan on playing some lower buy-in, high value tournaments here and there while I continue the never-ending journey toward life balance. There are some tournaments in the Northeast on my radar this month. I’m gonna see some of Justine’s friends and family as well then road-trip back to my place in Birmingham, Alabama.

I’ve really enjoyed spending increasingly more time in my hometown of Birmingham. I’m extremely excited about the future of this place as I’m seeing it grow so quickly in front of my eyes. It’s so chill and the people are super friendly. It is reportedly one of the hot new food cities to which I can attest is true. I love hitting all the new spots as they pop up. Justine and I just joined a health club locally and have been doing weights, yoga, meditation, swimming, running, cycling and boot camp classes. The fall in my hometown is always a blast because college football is so huge here.

Though, the best part about Birmingham is that my family is here. It’s been so nice to get more time with my mom, dad, sisters Heather and Carly and two young nieces Alaina and Madeline. They all bring me such joy, and I’m (usually) worry free when I’m in my moment with them. I had such a great upbringing and my family life literally could not be more perfect. I know that’s something not everyone can say, so it provides me a ton of inspiration.

I hope all of you are well and enjoyed reading this. Feel free to share if you’d like. I do the social media thing on Twitter and Instagram @shannonshorr if you care to follow along a little more closely. I can also be reached by email: shannonshorr at gmail.com.

 

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Burning Man: Life in Black Rock City

Hello all! Two weeks ago I emerged from the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada. I spent seven nights camping in an RV with friends while taking part in the unforgettable festival that was Burning Man. It was one of the top few adventures of my life. I’ll do my best to try to make you guys feel as if you were there with the words that follow.  The weeklong festival felt like such an alternate universe. I cannot recommend it more highly. It is mandatory that you begin planning your BM trip. One thing for certain, the world would be a much better place if we could all attend BM.

I was playing poker this summer when an individual whom to that point I’d known just casually invited me to join Camp Epic at Burning Man. I am so incredibly grateful that he extended the invitation. The members of Epic started attending BM several years ago with only a handful of members. The camp has grown each year and totaled over 120 of us in 27+ RVs for this year’s festival.

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WSOP 2015 + Where I Am

Hello all! I just checked my blog and noticed I haven’t written in 2015. Oops, time really flies. This entry comes from a house I’m renting with my boys Mike Katz, Jesse Yaginuma, and Adam Geyer in Las Vegas. This marks the tenth consecutive summer I’ve spent in the desert playing the World Series of Poker (WSOP). I usually report here for around seven weeks and play 65+ hour weeks of tournament poker. We are just getting underway.

The summer is always magical in the sense that I get to spend it competing in something that I love to do. The World Series of Poker is an experience. People come from all over the world and from all walks of life to play in tournaments and cash games. There is action around the clock. In addition I get to hang out with an amazing group of friends during my downtime. I have countless memories from summers in Vegas with friends: watching NBA Finals, going to the movies, dinners, nightclubs, being poolside, gym trips, bowling, and just hanging around the house laughing until early hours of the morning.

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Prague, Magnetic Fest, Justine, Upcoming Plans

Hello everyone! Thanks for checking in. This blog entry is being typed from an apartment I'm renting in Prague, Czech Republic. Each of the past four Decembers I've set up shop with friends for 2-3 weeks in this magical Eastern European city to play European Poker Tour and World Poker Tour events. It will have been a 19 night stay when I leave here on Monday morning.

In addition to the high value poker tournaments I've competed in, there is also a perfectly timed music festival called 'Magnetic Fest' that I've attended with friends here each of the last three years when our work concludes. The event was last night, and it was spectacular. There is nothing quite like getting lost dancing to music, reflecting on life, and thinking where I want to go, and what I want to do. I always experience some self-transcendence in times like these. All I can say is get out and attend a festival and watch yourself grow. I had the opportunity to hang with some really amazing people during my time here in Prague.

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I find the Czech community so fascinating. Eye contact is all but forbidden when walking the streets of Prague. The majority of locals wear all black or grey clothing and do their very best to blend in. Everyone is free to do his or her own thing without being judged. There is something that I love so much about that. Personally, I have spent way too much of my twenties worried about what other people think. There are times when I am crippled in my development because I'm so in my head about how I'm perceived. The more meditating I do results in me coming to true grips with who I am and my deepest feelings about things. I am a very harsh critic of myself, and as a result I've had some down times over the last few months when I don't get the desired result out of my time. The more consciousness I bring to my daily activities means I'm more aware of my shortcomings. I play high stakes poker tournaments as my main source of income, and as much as I tell myself my self-worth is not derived from the results in these tournaments, I am still at times affected. It is not easy to at times shovel off six-figures in buy-ins consecutively on one's own dime. It makes it that much more kick ass though if you can keep your composure. The tournament binks feel THAT good. 

A major point of development for me will be when I can totally accept that I'm a human being and will make mistakes. We all do right? All one should do is learn from his or her experiences and move on. He or she should not dwell on them. I like to think I'm overall a pretty good person. I am now aware that it is unrealistic to think that we humans can always be naturally high. There will be down times. The key to increasing my happiness I've found (but often not exemplified) is spending those down hours productively and healthily.

I last posted in August when my buddies Jesse, Paul and I summitted the world's largest freestanding mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. That was one of the highlights of my life. You can check that post here: http://shannonshorr.com/index.php/blog/38-mount-kilimanjaro-the-battle-and-experience.

Since, I have had some very out-of-this-world times. My friends and I partied for the amazing Michael Katz and Kara Motz wedding in Idaho. I had the best son and mom trip with a jam-packed 11 days in London playing tournaments and seeing all the major sites and sampling all the pubs' beer. Additionally I got to spend a little time in Birmingham catching up with my dad, mom, sisters, two angels of nieces and hometown friends. I attended the Iron Bowl and watched my football team Alabama Crimson Tide defeat our rival Auburn Tigers. I played some major poker tournaments and hung out with friends in Jacksonville, Florida and Montreal, Canada. While in Jacksonville I had the incredible opportunity to play golf at TPC Sawgrass thanks to the kind folks at BestBet poker room. Through most of these experiences I was in a very awesome state of mind. There are so many days through which I felt like I was walking around meditating. Those euphoric moments are the ones for which I strive most. The moments when no thoughts fill my head. The moments where I only experience sensations. Peak experiences, as they are. I have for the most part done a decent job keeping up a healthy mind and body, which I think is essential if I expect these moments to be consistent.

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Throughout the latter half of 2014 I've spent a lot of time with my girlfriend Justine. She is an inspiration to me, and I love her. Justine is on a totally different level in the sense that she truly gets life. Kindness makes the world go round. Anyone who has met her would agree with that statement. She brings happiness to me every day that I get to spend with her. I'm really glad that we both swiped right on Tinder when I was doing some work in New Jersey. Awesome, right?

Prior to meeting Justine I'd been behind the idea and practice of polyamory for several years. I felt restricted by the idea of monogamy in the sense that I felt it wouldn't allow me to connect deeply with other females. If I was in a committed relationship I felt I would be shut off from the ability to grow through interactions with half of the world's inhabitants. Additionally my nonstop traveling lifestyle while in my twenties has lended to me having a very free spirit when it comes to things like sex. Digging deeper and looking back though it was never really about the sex. It was much more about the idea that the sex could take place with a chosen girl, that she was attainable. It is possible to connect on a deep level and not have sex in the same way it's possible to do anything to which you set your mind. I am in no way saying that either practice is better. Each person must choose for himself or herself. One thing I have found is that every relationship, no matter what kind, is made easier with honesty. If someone cannot accept you for who you are than they do not deserve your time. Be you.

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I'll spend Christmas with family and New Year's Eve in Key West with Justine. From there we'll have the rare opportunity to travel overall north from the US to the Bahamas for the annual Pokerstars Caribbean Adventure event at Atlantis Resort, back to the Keys for a few days, and then later to Jersey for a World Poker Tour event. I'll finish off the month at my lifelong friend Ryan's bachelor party as I visit Asheville, North Carolina for the first time. It should be a pretty insane month. I hope to do some writing again soon. As I type this I feel liberated and on a step in the right direction in my quest to become more self-assertive. 

As always I'm available to discuss any topic whatsoever. I can be emailed This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and followed on twitter @shannonshorr. Thank you for reading and listening. I hope you all have a great holiday season and happy new year!

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Mount Kilimanjaro: The Battle and Experience

Hey friends! At 6:34 a.m. local time Friday I summited the world's largest free-standing mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro with my buddies Jesse and Paul Yaginuma! I consider it one of my biggest personal achievements and got so much out of the journey. The idea was proposed by Jesse and Paul over a year ago. I initially laughed it off thinking it was an unattainable goal. I'm really, really, really glad I looked further into it. A big thank you to the Yaginumas for being such cool fucking guys with ambition and a strong desire to live their lives to the fullest. This reiterates to me just how essential it is that we all keep an openmind about everything. Opening one's mind isn't a process that happens overnight. It's a matter of being exposed to different people, things and places. I'll take this platform, however small it is, to try to express that through this documentation of my Kilimanjaro experience:

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