A WSOP Main Event Ride With Shaun Conning

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A WSOP Main Event Ride With Shaun Conning Audio
“We’re gone in 179th, absolute cooler v Annette {Obrestad}. We peel QJhh in big, flop KQJ. She obviously has AT and we brick…pretty gutted 1.3m pot. Thanks for all the messages, take a while to get over that one.

A WSOP Main Event Ride With Shaun Conning“Right where’s the nearest bar…”

Shaun Conning is a semi-professional poker player from the UK and that’s his final Facebook message after five of the best days he has experienced in his poker life. I call Conning a semi-professional because he is not 100% consumed by it. He enjoys the game immensely, enjoys the people even more; but for Conning poker is more of a sidearm than a twelve-bore shotgun.

A former HR Director for Compass, Conning understands what life looks like outside of the poker circus. Disillusioned with the corporate life, Conning left vowing to never again return to a life where authenticity was frowned upon. Since that decision Conning has had his ups and his downs. He had to deal with the grief of losing his father, before finding a great run of cards when playing online.

“I went on an absolute heater.” Said Conning.

That was in 2011, but 2012 was a much tougher year. So much so that Conning decided to take up a six-month contract working for the Sports Media Company PERFORM, something he enjoyed immensely.

Conning put together a $30k World Series of Poker (WSOP) package and sold 40-45% of it on the Blondepoker forum. Something he told me was fairly easy to do for two reasons; and none of them had anything to do with his poker ability.

“I got my package up early and people know that I am a little older and reliable when it comes to paying out.”

His main event run means from a poker playing perspective, he has had a profitable summer. Now where are those bills for the restaurants, parties, hotels and flights!

I caught up with Conning after his elimination at the hands of Annette Obrestad. Here is his recap of the WSOP Main Event.

Day One

“It’s the first time that I’ve played the main, which is so stupid for someone who has been playing for 10-years,” said Conning, “It’s all about seat draw. Everyone told me that, and I learned it in a good way. My first table was brilliant. Not just the people who were on my table but where they were sat as well. For example I had the three weakest players, who were quite aggro, on my right. So in terms of the table draw it was amazing, I ended the day with over 100k when I would have been happy with starting stack.”

So what’s the plan on Day One?

“You aren’t thinking of anything other than just surviving, but once I assessed the table I knew it was a great opportunity to accumulate chips, whereas some of the other boys just wanted to get through the day. I spoke to JP Kelly, for example, and he said he hadn’t three-bet one hand all day. JP’s twenty-times the player I will ever be, but I was three-betting for fun because I felt it was the best strategy based on my table.”

Day Two

“I found Day Two really tough. I had Jon ‘PearlJammer’ Turner two to my left and he completely outplayed me. I just got involved in far too many pots against him and I spun down to 50k. Fortunately, my friends are all great players and they put me right in the final break. I managed to finished the day just shy of 100k. But it was a totally different experience to Day One.”

Day Three

“I only had about three-hours sleep because my room mate got drunk and fell into the room quite late. I didn’t have time to check the seat draw and during breakfast my friend checked it and just laughed at me. I had Daniel ‘Jungleman’ Cates on my left and Dan O’Brien on my right. I sat down and Ash Mason gave me some advice before I left…advice I proceeded to completely ignore. I eliminated O’Brien within three hands and then took out Jungleman, which was pretty cool. I raised the button with [Tc] [8c] and called a three-bet from Jungleman in the small blind. Talking to the guys afterwards they said I was probably punching above my weight by peeling against a player of his ability with a mediocre hand. He’s three-betting a lot wider which makes it so much tougher to play the flop against the guy, and I’m very self aware about my own ability. But we got lucky and I busted him to finish with 437k.”

Day Four

“The day started really well when I got lucky with aces. It was the first orbit when Tom Alner raised in mid-position off a 500k stack, a short stack jams for 85k and then there is a cold caller playing off a 300k stack. I wake up with aces and decide to jam, Alner folds pocket jacks and we take the short stack out. The reason I got lucky was the flop was jack high so had the action gone any other way I could well have lost my stack to Alner. But the hand went my way and I ended up playing with Marvin Rettenmaier after a table change. I peaked at 930k but had to settle for 512k. I was a little downbeat ending the night but felt much better when I woke up.”

So what next for the charming, happy-go-lucky fortysomething who has found himself traipsing around Europe with smart intelligent kids twenty years his junior?

“I think I’m pretty clear now that although I love playing poker I am very self aware about my capability. I get bored easily because my background is working with people. Sitting in a flat all day, playing online poker is no good for me, and to be honest I’m not good enough to do it either.”

Shaun Conning finished in 179th place out of 6,352 players for a cash of $42,990.


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