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Interview: Shane "Shaniac" Schleger

Shane "Shaniac" Schleger is a poker professional who has recently exploded onto the poker scene with much success in the tournament world. He has appeared on ESPN because of his 5th place finish in a 2005 $1,000 rebuy event. This past February he won over $200,000 in the $300 rebuy event at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles. He is 28 years old and currently resides in Santa Monica, California. shane shaniac schleger Shane "Shaniac" Schleger PokerTips.org: Where did you grow up and when were you first introduced to poker? Shaniac: I grew up in Manhattan, and was first introduced to poker when I was 22 at Indian card rooms in New Mexico, but then I really got into it a few years later when I met some NYC players. online poker 468x60 pt.o: What year did you really start taking poker seriously? Shaniac: Well, full time I've been playing for about 1.5 years, but I'd say I started getting into it when this club in NYC called 'The Playstation' opened. That was in April of 2002. pt.o: How did you get the nickname "Shaniac"? Shaniac: Unrelated to poker, an old boss of mine when I was a bike messenger used to call me 'Shaniac'. It's not like it really 'stuck' or anything, but when I opened my PokerStars account in 2003 I thought it would make a suitable poker name. pt.o: What do you prefer- online or live? Why? Shaniac: I like online for the day to day grind, but there's nothing more exciting than being deep in a live event. pt.o: What do you believe is your best accomplishment in the poker world? Shaniac: Well it would have to be winning $220,000 in the $300 rebuy event at the Commerce Casino in L.A. this past February. But before that, being on ESPN for finishing 5th in the $1,000 rebuy event at the 2005 World Series of Poker was pretty awesome. pt.o: If you could be as good as _____ for one week at tournament poker, who would it be? Shaniac: Hmmm… well, I guess Phil Ivey would be an obvious answer. Being David Pham, Allen Cunningham, or Barry Greenstein for a week would also work just fine. pt.o: What do credit as the best help in becoming a world class tournament player? Shaniac: I'm far from a world class tournament player, but through mostly practice and dedication I've become competent. I've always had a naturally aggressive tendency, which I think is a decent foundation for multi-table tournament play. pt.o: How much variance do you experience with online MTTs? Do you have losing months? Shaniac: I've had some losing months online for sure, and the variance associated with big buy-in events is absolutely brutal. pt.o: Do you play cash games? Which type? Shaniac: Rarely do I play cash games, but I do enjoy short-handed limit holdem and some of the mixed games; I really should focus my energy on becoming a cash game expert, but I guess I'm too lazy to abandon what comes naturally for me. pt.o: Why do you feel tournament poker naturally appeals to you? Shaniac: Partially because it's where I first succeeded in poker. I found myself able to go deep (and win a fair amount) in the $40+$30 rebuy tournaments at Playstation while I still couldn't beat a 10/20 limit hold'em game. I think at first, I viewed poker mostly as a gambling endeavor, and that style worked well in those crapshoot-y rebuy events. Eventually, I had to tone it down and actually learn to play poker, but a loose aggressive style comes naturally to me. Another reason tournaments appeal to me is that they have a clear beginning and end. The goal, the finish line, is clearly defined. It requires less discipline in an odd way and of course appeals to the action junkie in me. I like the survival aspect of it, whereas most cash game pros find it loathsome. pt.o: What's on your mp3 player during a tournament? Shaniac: The usual stuff; some combination of hip hop, reggae, and Bob Dylan. pt.o: What do you like to do away from the game of poker? Shaniac: Play tennis, go to movies, go to restaurants, and shop. Nothing too out of the ordinary. pt.o: What would you estimate as the median expectations we will see out of you over the next five years in the poker world? Shaniac: Who knows? For now, I'm happy just to be paying the bills and getting better as a poker player. pt.o: What is your favorite casino? Shaniac: Bellagio in Las Vegas, no question. pt.o: What is your favorite online poker room? Shaniac: PokerStars pt.o: What are some tips you can give our readers for MTTs? Any special tips you can give for online MTTs? Shaniac: Nothing comes to mind as universally awesome advice, so I'd say it all comes down to practice, study, and finding a style that's your own. Gaining enough knowledge and experience to be a confident player is the most you can hope to do.

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