There is no code that can be recognized when a scandal hits the poker business. When a cheater appears in Las Vegas, there is no bat sign flashing over the city’s skyline. When a judge makes a mistake, no alarm goes out.
It’s plausible that any such call would be routed to Shaun Deeb’s office. He seems to be able to predict when a storm of controversy is about to hit.
Successful Poker Play by Deeb
To begin, Deeb has accumulated an impressive record as a poker player. Deeb has won five bracelets at the World Series of Poker (WSOP), including two seven-figure scores in Pot-Limit Omaha High Rollers. He has also finished in the top ten in thirty WSOP bracelet events, both in Las Vegas and at the King’s Resort, Rozvadov for the WSOP Europe.
To paraphrase Shaun Deeb: “I’m going to break Hellmuth’s record.”
His most recent triumph, the PokerGo Tour Mixed Games $10,300 H.O.R.S.E., added to his nearly $11,000,000 in career earnings.
To paraphrase, “I believe that people should blindly listen to me because of my background and competence.”
When you first meet Deeb, you may not think of him as a poker vigilante like the caped crusader. But he thinks the length of his career, and maybe the success he’s had along the way, should get him at least a little bit of respect from his peers.
According to Deeb’s statement to PokerNews, he has been actively involved in the poker community for about two decades. “I’ve been exposed to a wide variety of scenarios, and as a result, I think I make a very decent decision maker when it comes to applying the laws and determining the proper course of action.
I feel that people should always take my advice due of my experience and background, thus I often speak out.
An Igniter of Debate?
Deeb has had public feuds with several famous poker players, including Daniel Negreanu and Bryn Kenney, despite his image as a family guy (he skipped the birth of his kid to play in the World Championship of Online Poker). Being somewhat of an expert in the field, Deeb has no qualms about expressing his views on the rules of tournaments and how they should be applied.
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But how can such predicaments arise, anyway? Can it be attributed to incompetence, a misunderstanding of the regulations, or simple negligence?
When it comes to fights with employees, “the most difficult ones I’ve had have been with individuals who believe they’re more experienced.”
“Reflecting on it, there have been numerous debates that may be classified as each of them. I can state that some of the most challenging debates I’ve had with staff members have been with individuals that consider themselves more experienced than they really are.
“They brazenly claim to have been at it for twenty years. And I was like, “Hey, being consistent doesn’t make it right.”
While Deeb is eager to fire up Twitter to share his thoughts, he claims that people often approach him instead. They, he claims, are well aware of his extensive knowledge of the poker business and often consult him for advice.
Someone once told me they appreciated my thoughts and asked me to list all the things wrong with their approach and explain how they might be improved. I don’t think I’ll be the only one in the business who pays attention to them, but I’d want to have a say in the matter.
Several times I find myself at odds with gamers who are asking, “Why isn’t XYZ happening?” and to which I respond, “Don’t you see how tough it would be to implement?” The industry’s decision-makers have a good sense of who the enthusiastic participants are, as well as those who are well-versed and can appreciate operators’ points of view.
Robbi Lew and Deeb
Deeb’s most recent controversy is one of 2022’s largest, if not the biggest. The “Call Heard Round the Poker World” incident would go on to generate other related scandals, in which Deeb would play a significant role.
Deeb’s presence and comments were heard not just on the initial hand, but also on the repercussions, allegations, and claimed wrongdoing of each and everyone involved in the mess, as he appeared on podcasts and accused Robbi Jade Lew personally.
Despite the fact that months have passed since the controversy and a subsequent inquiry found “no proof of misconduct,” Deeb maintains that he always knew something was up.
“Instantly upon laying eyes on that hand, I knew there was something off about it. And I got engaged straight immediately, and it snowballed from there.
“When I first started playing on live broadcasts, I was worried that people would think I was cheating since so many of my moves seem poor at first glance. The GTO crew reacts with horror: “Ah, this is dreadful.” My public persona, however, often works to the advantage of other factors. But I’ve always been terrified that at some time I’ll be watching something, and my sense would say ‘This ain’t right’.
This is how I earned my money in poker and in life: by following my gut impulses and going with them.
Getting ready for the World Series of Poker 2023
Without a doubt, Deeb will return to the 2023 WSOP after just missing out on a sixth bracelet in 2022 (he finished in the top five in five bracelet tournaments in 2021). The previous WSOP Player of the Year has said that he keeps in regular touch with WSOP Vice President Jack Effel, and that he, along with other notable players like as Daniel Negreanu, Brian Rast, and David “ODB” Baker, has input into changes to the WSOP calendar.
“Jack [Effel] is continually coming up with new and interesting things to test. Every year, I get to serve as a consultant with Negreanu, Rast, and ODB. […] Jack sometimes accepts our advice, but usually he doesn’t.”
When Deeb won her first bracelet in 2015, there were just 68 bracelets up for grabs in Sin City. How does the five-time champion respond to claims that winning a WSOP bracelet is less of an accomplishment now that there will be 90 bracelet events at the 2023 tournament?
In all, there are 90 tournaments to choose from, with buy-ins ranging from $300 to $250,000. There is no dilution of bracelet occurrences, despite the annual discussion of its possible existence. Each and every person is welcome.
“It’s not quite the same to win a $1,000 No-Limit [Hold’em] bracelet as it is to win $10,000 in a mixed event, but that’s only because the player pools are so different. All levels of poker players are welcome in the World Series of Poker.”
The Gladiators of Poker tournament at the 2023 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas will have the lowest entry fee in tournament history, at only $300. According to Deeb, he spoke to Effel in 2017 about the $365 buy-in Giant.
Making Efforts to Enhance Poker
How then does Deeb suggest we enhance the game of poker? Going round for round on the bubble is his top objective and something he has been working on for years.
“They believe they can get away with this nonsense, and it’s ridiculous!”
It’s a win-win: it fixes a number of problems and gives individuals more time to think things through before acting, which increases fairness. That’s why it wouldn’t surprise me if, in the next five years of poker, it’s one of the major reforms that I’ve campaigned for that really ends up occurring.
When it comes to topics that interest him, Deeb doesn’t hold back. An additional irritant to him? Gamers trying to avoid the massive blind.
This is just ridiculous, and yet people believe they can get away with it. Four individuals in this year’s World Series, and one person every year at the World Series [of Poker] Europe. Of course they are, seeing as how they leave the room to return to their table.
It’s a shame that some individuals want to take advantage of the slightest of advantages at the expense of the other players at the table. It’s as if they’re seeing an elderly man lose $20 and seizing the chance to pick it up, even though they know quite well that it doesn’t belong to them.
Deeb claims he doesn’t give a hoot about what other people think of his opinions on scandals, cheats, or how to enhance the tournament experience. He claims to be completely genuine.
No one could ever suspect that I’m an imposter. My goal is uniformity. And I believe that by doing so, others will realize how devoted I am to the field.