Online poker is likely the single biggest development in the game’s history. The ability to play through a digital platform revolutionizes the experience in many ways. It offers unmatched convenience, easy access to various game types, and the ability to use tracking software, all of which make poker accessible to everyone.  With poker being so accessible online, new talent can earn recognition easier than ever. Plenty of players have begun their careers online, getting famous for taking on established pros in high-stakes games. One such player is Shaun Deeb. 

Player Overview

Shaun Deeb is an American professional poker player from New York. He has had an exceptional career, with impressive results both online and live. He has eight World Championship of Online Poker titles, one away from having the most, and five Spring Championship of Online Poker titles.  He also earned the Player of the Year awards from both tournament series, SCOOP in 2012 and WCOOP in 2015. Deeb has earned over $7 million from playing online on various sites. Deeb’s results in live poker are also nothing to scoff at. He’s made over $11.5 million from live tournaments and has five World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets. In 2018, Deeb cashed 16 times at the WSOP, earning the Player of the Year award.  Outside of the WSOP, he’s recorded seven cashes on the World Poker Tour and final-tabled at the European Poker Tour. He’s also succeeded at other notable tournament series, but most of his tournament earnings – $8,826,685 – come from the WSOP.

Early Life

Shaun Frank Deeb was born in Troy, New York, on March 1, 1986. He entered the world of poker at 16, hosting private $20 rebuy tournaments at his house, with an average player count of 30. Despite going against generally more experienced players, Deeb won five out of the first 15 tournaments he organized. His knack for poker led him to try online poker when he turned 18.  After high school, Deeb went to college at Bentley University in Boston. However, he was less invested in his studies than in his poker hobby. He quickly found a group of people who shared his interest in the game. “I was pretty much never going to class,” Deeb recounted. “A bunch of my friends on my floor in the dorm were playing poker, and we had live home games a couple of nights a week. Most of us played online as well. It ended up that I was doing the best of all of them.” Within a year of online grinding, Deeb’s bankroll had grown to over $10,000. He had a huge streak of success in $10 online rebuy tournaments, which made him decide to play poker full-time. Thankfully, his family was supportive. “They trusted me to make decisions. As I became more successful, they would come to see me play or hear about my poker from friends. They always stood behind me.”

Early Career

For the first few years of his career, Deeb primarily focused on his online gameplay. He had a couple of cashes in small live tournaments and cashed four times in his 2007 WSOP debut, but didn’t do much beyond that. Online, Deeb was a menace. He became the first player to make the top of the PokerStars Tournament Leaderboard back-to-back in 2007 and 2008. He was also ranked as the number one online tournament player globally four separate times.  Deeb won the 2008 WCOOP Event #25: $320 Pot-Limit Omaha with Rebuys for $144,113. He became known for playing many tournaments simultaneously, going up to 20. Somehow, he managed to maintain his focus, and it’s estimated that Deeb played around 35,000 online tournaments in the first three years of his career. His largest online cash came in 2011, with a $312,610 win in a $1,000 buy-in weekly event.

“Retirement” and Transition to Live

Since he regularly played a huge volume of tournaments simultaneously, it might not be surprising that Deeb announced his retirement in 2009, three years after he began playing online. He cited burnout as the primary reason, stating, “I got sick of my grinding schedule of all day, seven days a week. It was very time-consuming, and there wasn’t much I was doing besides waking up and playing every day.” This retirement was short-lived, though it did help revitalize his love for the game. He now has a different philosophy, choosing to branch out into other poker variants to keep the game interesting. He also began focusing on cash games instead of just online tournaments Like many other online pros, Deeb was essentially forced to switch to live after the 2011 “Black Friday” fiasco in the US. Four of the largest online poker sites were shut down and had to cease operations in the US, forcing players like Deeb to switch to playing live.

Live Career

Deeb’s focus on live tournaments yielded results in 2013, where he finished fifth in the PCA for $289,880. His first WSOP bracelet came in 2015 when he won the $10,000 Pot Limit Hold’em Championship for $318,857. The following year, Deeb claimed a second bracelet in $1,500 Seven Card Stud for $111,101. He narrowly missed out on a third bracelet, taking second in the 2017 $10,000 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw Championship for $143,842. In 2018, Deeb struck gold at the WSOP, cashing in 16 different events, with four more at the WSOP Europe. He claimed two bracelets and two massive scores, one in $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha – High Roller for $1,402,683 and another in $10,000 No Limit Hold’em – 6 Handed Big Blind Ante for $814,179. On the strength of his performance Deeb won the WSOP Player of the Year. Later that year, Deeb took second in the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open for $534,989, one of the few big non-WSOP cashes of his career. He then won the same tournament the following year, receiving $778,300. Deeb’s most recent bracelet came in 2021, where he took down the $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller – 8 Handed events for $1,251,860.