Under The Gun: Inside the mind of Shaun Deeb

Shaun Deeb 2023
Mo Afdhal
Posted on: February 24, 2024 24:05 PST

New York's Shaun Deeb is one of the world's best tournament poker players, having recorded numerous victories both online and live. He's been a presence at the WSOP for almost 20 years, usually playing a full schedule and racking up multiple cashes, not to mention multiple bracelets - in 2018 he won two WSOP bracelets within a few weeks of each other, on his way to being named WSOP Player of the Year.

Deeb's online poker accomplishments include multiple wins in PokerStars' annual World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) and Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) series, with over a dozen 'COOP titles in games ranging from PLO to hold'em, HORSE, stud and draw.

Recently, Deeb made headlines when he won $800k in a body fat prop bet.

What’s one bit of essential prep you do before a big tournament or cash game session?

"I just eat."

What piece of strategy advice did you get when you first started playing that you wish you had ignored?

"The one piece of advice I wish I ignored is the concept of reverse implied odds.

"Back then I was over-folding so many hands; the range is ignoring the equity. Getting five to one, it’s just silly to fold any hand, so I definitely think I over applied that concept like most players back then. So, I kind of wish I didn’t have that because maybe I would’ve been even more successful."

What’s the dumbest thing you’ve seen or done at the poker table?

"The dumbest thing I’ve ever seen was Brian Tate – who has since taken over the Oats Overnight world – playing Stud 8 against a fish who had open jacks on his board. Brian had a scary board like A234 or something. The guy checked and, as he checked, put in the $1,200 to call the river bet from Brian. Brian put in the bet and then waited a minute and the guy was like, "I already called when I checked," so Brian goes "Oops, I can’t beat jacks" and then mucked.

What’s your most memorable hand?

"Weinman’s J-J hand from this summer was the greatest hand I’ve ever been able to witness. If it’s a hand I played, has to be the A-A vs A-6 against Heinzelmann [see below]."

What’s your single best piece of advice for poker players?

"My advice to poker players is: don’t take the game that seriously, treat it as a hobby or entertainment.

"If you want to be a pro, expect way worse variance than you ever experienced prior, and putting in volume is how you succeed. Also, that your opponents have probably studied a lot less and play a lot worse than you. Or you suck at game selection."

If you owned a poker room, who’s the first player you’d want to sign as an ambassador and why?

"I would sign Pads [Patrick Leonard]. I love everything he does – he’s friendly, chatty at the table, and can play/learn all forms of poker."

Feature image courtesy of the WSOP