Shaun Deeb is an American poker pro from Troy, New York, who boasts four World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets, 17 WSOP money finishes, and five World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) titles.
Despite his performance on the felt, he is particularly well-known for his love of—and success with—the infamous slowroll.
Who is Shaun Deeb?
Deeb began playing poker when he was in high school. At the age of 16 he was hosting as many as 30 guests in $20 rebuy tournaments. He won five of the 15 tournaments he held and realized his natural poker skill. Two years later, Deeb found similar success online.
After high school, Deeb attended Boston’s Bentley University, but—like many poker pros—quit to pursue poker.
In 2008 and 2009, Shaun Deeb finished 5th in Card Player’s Online Poker Player of the Year. Then, at the age of 24—and burned out from the rigors of grinding—Deeb retired from poker. This retirement lasted all of two months.
Since resuming his career, Deeb has expanded his poker repertoire and plays considerably more—and a wider variety of—live casino games than before. He also admits to being much more focused and emotional at the table.
Live tournament success
Prior to the 2009 WSOP, Deeb sought backing from Cliff Josephy and Eric Haber to provide him some stability for big buy-in events and high-stakes cash games. After Deeb’s 2010 WCOOP win—his second WCOOP title—Deeb thought it best to end the relationship.
Deeb won his first WSOP bracelet—and a very respectable $318,857—in 2015 at the $10,000 Pot Limit Hold’Em Championship event. Then, in 2016, Deeb snagged his second bracelet in the $1,500 Seven-Card Stud event along with the $111,011 prize. While he had an amazing ten cashes in the 2017 WSOP—including two final tables—Deeb did not earn a bracelet that year.
However, in 2018—a truly banner year—Shaun Deeb cashed a whopping 15 times, made three final tables, and won two highly coveted bracelets: in the $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha 8-Handed High Roller Event and the Big Blind Antes $10,000 NLHE 6-Handed Championship, along with $1.4 million and $814,179, respectively. He also had his highest in-the-money (ITM) finish in the Main Event this year at 105th and pocketed just over $57,000. This impressive showing thrust Shaun Deeb into the WSOP Player of the Year standings.
Other notable wins came in European Poker Tour (EPT) and Asian Poker Tour (APT) events.
To date, Shaun Deeb’s total live cash winnings are just north of $6 million, and he currently sits at 95th on the All Time Money List.
Deeb is an avid online multi-table tournament (MTT) player who tackles as many as 20 tournaments simultaneously.
Prior to Black Friday, Deeb played under the names “tedsfishfry” (named for his family’s Albany business of the same name) on Full Tilt Poker and Ultimate Bet, and “shaundeeb” on PokerStars and Absolute Poker.
His largest online cash prize came in January 2011 at a $1,000 Monday Full Tilt tournament where he bested a field of 615 for the $312,610 prize. Deeb also won five World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) titles—in 2008, 2010, 2015, 2016, and 2018—and a Full Tilt Online Poker Series championship.
Anatomy of a slowroll
Perhaps one of Deeb’s most renowned characteristics is his obvious love of the slowroll. A self-admitted “shit talker” who comes from a family of the same, Deeb is no stranger to controversy. For example, at the 2012 WSOP, Deeb finished 2nd in a satelitte event to the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop, thus earning him an alternate seat. However, Deeb was accused of dumping chips to Gus Hansen to ensure the $1 million in cash if he didn’t get a seat. As would be expected, Deeb didn’t get the seat but did get the cash.
So, what, exactly, is a slowroll? Basically, a slowroll is when one player delays showing his/her strong—oftentimes very strong—hand to force opponents to show their hands first. Some times this provides the opponent with some false hope of winning the hand. Regardless, whether intentional or not, slowrolling is widely considered to be poor etiquette.
Shaun Deeb explains
In an interview on Upswing’s own Doug Polk’s podcast, Deeb stated that he doesn’t look at slowrolling as a negative but, instead, as a way to get better reads on his opponents and to make people laugh. The latter doesn’t always happen, however.
Deeb said he can’t remember why, exactly, he started slowrolling. He states he originally fell in love with slowrolls online during his early drug-heavy years. It was just something his friends and he did, and so what if he was a “young online douchebag.” Polk even joked that Deeb is an honorable and good guy in person even though he is a “dick at the table” when he slowrolls. Thus, a reputation is born.
Deeb added that slowrolling his opponents is, indirectly, a way to get back at his family who oftentimes picked on him. He also doesn’t seem to care that his antics may make other players irate because most players like to watch a good slowroll—provided it’s someone else, of course. Quite simply, Shaun Deeb slowrolls because it’s fun. And based on the volume of YouTube slowroll videos, others agree.(Take a look at this clip, perhaps, the best slowroll video ever.)
However, not everyone finds humor with Deeb’s antics. Watch this oft-discussed Mike Matusow reaction to being slowrolled by Deeb in this Poker Night in America cash game hand.
Shaun Deeb today
Deeb doesn’t seem to mind the criticism as he continues to utilize the slowroll and even admits that it may damage his value at the table. He predicts that even more players—especially the up-and-coming younger ones—may adopt the practice. Just don’t tell Mike Matusow.
When away from the table, Deeb and his wife, Ashley have been busy with their adorable kids. Deeb also helps out with the family business at times.
Shaun Deeb—despite his controversial slowroll antics—is, perhaps, the least known best poker player around today and he continues to improve. His tournament results speak for themselves. You can follow Deeb on Twitter.
What are your thoughts on slowrolling?
Until next time.
Read more from Upswing Poker:
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Natalie Faulk is a Las Vegas-based freelance writer/blogger and the author of several books. She is an avid low-stakes (for now) poker player and huge Vegas Golden Knights fan.