Professional Poker Player Does The Unthinkable At The USPO

Professional Poker Player Does The Unthinkable At The USPO

Professional poker player Shannon Shorr has been a crusher on the felt for nearly two decades. Heads-up at the U.S. Poker Open, Shorr was put in an incredibly tough spot holding trips on the river. Truly thinking outside the box, what Shorr did to ultimately make his decision left viewers baffled.

The Game: $10,000 Buy-In USPO NLH Tournament
Effective Stack: 45 Big Blinds (50,000/100,000)
Where: PokerGO Studios, Las Vegas, Nevada

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Expanding Your Preflop Range Heads-Up

On the button heads-up, Shorr looked down at Q♣-3 before limping into the hand. His opponent, Ren Lin, peered down at Q-5 before checking his big blind.

Assessing both players’ decisions preflop, both were uniform and standard considering the fact it was heads-up. While a hand like Q♣-3 may seem like one Shorr would want to avoid playing, when playing heads-up you want to consider limping almost every single hand.

While Q-5 may have looked pretty to Lin, he was smart to avoid raising as he held a hand that could flop extremely well. When holding a marginal hand that has the potential to flop well, you do not want to raise, as when you are re-raised you are forced to fold a hand without realizing its equity.

Lin Hits Two Pair On The Flop

The Pot: 300,000
The Board: Q-5♣-4
Effective Stack: 45 Big Blinds

Ren Lin: Q-5
Shannon Shorr:

Flop Analysis

First to act after flopping two pair, Lin checked to Shorr. Holding top pair with a weak kicker, Shorr checked it back.

While Lin could have bet out of position, checking was the best decision considering the fact it was a limped pot. 

Shorr was wise to check it back to Lin. Top pair with a terrible kicker is a great hand to check back the flop with, as the hands that will call you off on the flop, turn, and river usually have you beat. Additionally, checking allowed Shorr to protect the other marginal hands in his range he would also check with.   

Both players maneuvered the flop well, but what would happen on the turn?

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A Turn Lead Out Of Position

The Pot: 300,000
The Board: Q-5♣-4-8♠
Effective Stack: 45 Big Blinds

Ren Lin: Q-5
Shannon Shorr:

Turn Analysis

Wanting to add some value to the pot with his two pair, Lin led out with a 200,000 bet. Not going anywhere with top pair, Shorr made the call.

Lin had a very easy decision on the turn. Holding two pair after the flop went check-check, he could feel confident he was ahead with Q-5. While Lin did bet, he should have done so for a larger size like 300,000. With a straight draw and flush draw on the board, Lin could have easily attracted a call if Shorr happened to have a draw or a worse pair.

Despite being well behind, Shorr could not get away from the hand and made the correct call. Holding top pair in what was a somewhat small pot, Shorr’s call was a no-brainer, as in some hands he will be ahead with top pair-weak kicker.

Shannon Shorr Faces A Tough River Decision

The Pot: 700,000
The Board: Q-5♣-4-8♠-Q♠
Effective Stack: 43 Big Blinds

Ren Lin: Q-5
Shannon Shorr:

River Analysis

Showing extreme poise after hitting a full house on the river, Lin stealthily checked to Shorr.

Whenever you block the obvious calling hands your opponent may have, your best options are to bet tiny or check. Lin masterfully played his full house by checking, holding a queen and a five, he blocked Shorr from having two cards that would be in his calling range. If Shorr had a queen or a busted draw he could bluff with, Lin set up a beautiful spot to check-raise

Holding a third queen, a cooler was looming for Shorr as he certainly had to bet. After pondering for a few seconds, Shorr fired out a 850,000 overbet.

On the river, Shorr’s range was either a really strong hand (like trips), a marginal hand like a paired five, or a busted draw. Holding a marginal hand, Shorr would want to make a medium bet to pursue value, but with a queen or busted draw, executing a large overbet was the optimal play. 

As Jeff Platt put it, Shorr’s overbet was certainly music to Lin’s ears. Ready to spring his trap, Lin moved all-in with his remaining 4,300,000 chips. With a huge stack of poker chips now in the middle of the table, Shorr was left with a brutal decision, but was he able to get away from Lin’s full house?


Shorr pondered his options and went into the tank, but lacking any time banks, he had to quickly come to a decision. Much to everyone’s surprise, Shorr pulled out a coin, flipped it, and upon seeing how it landed, decided to fold.

Despite falling victim to a nasty spot, Shorr executed one of the smoothest folds ever with the help of his lucky coin. When playing at the high stakes, players will put you in nasty spots as they are capable of making sporadic bluffs. While Shorr shouldn’t fold this river every single time, the willingness of his opponent to go all-in in response to an overbet likely tipped him off that he was beat.

With his impressive coin flip fold, Shannon Shorr showed off abilities that have made him a mainstay on the high stakes tournament circuit. Folding to fight another day, Shorr would overcome the setback and eventually defeat Lin, taking down the USPO tournament and securing the $213,900 top prize.

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