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Best of John G. Brokopp

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Don't Mess with This Texan at the Poker Table

27 August 2008

Whether it's the links, trading floor, or yes, even the poker table, 23-year-old Shane Sigsbee is a force with which to be reckoned.

The 1-handicap golfer was a member of the University of Notre Dame's golf team when it ranked among the Top 50 collegiate squads in the country during his sophomore through senior years.

After graduating in May of 2007, he began putting his finance major skills to the test on the floor of the Chicago Board Option Exchange (CBOE) where he's a trader.

The versatile young risk manager, who grew up in McKinney, Texas, a small town north of Dallas, is also an enthusiastic poker player whose victory late last month in the Heartland Poker Tour tournament at Majestic Star Casinos in Gary, Indiana just may be the start of a promising professional career.

Sigsbee, who lives in Downtown Chicago, earned $206,273 for winning the Texas Hold'em No-Limit event. He outplayed a field of 480 players, then required only 42 hands of action at the final table to claim the championship.

"When we entered into heads-up play, I had 4.5 million in chips and my opponent (Jason DeWitt) had 3.3 million," Shane said. "During the first 10 minutes, I tried to take control of the match and I had it all the way up to 5.4 million to 2.4 million. Then a hand came up where I threw out a big bet on the river, bluffing, and he called to take down a 2.4 million pot. That pretty much brought us even. Two hands later I won the match."

The day after his tournament victory it was off to the links to play in the 36-hole U.S. Amateur golf qualifier in Indiana, but three days of intense poker play took a toll.

"I struggled in the golf tournament," said Sigsbee, whose supportive dad worked as his caddy. "I was really tired, and my mind was in a bunch of different places. It was a long 72 hours, that's for sure."

Sigsbee learned poker playing dorm games in college. When he discovered www.cardrunners.com, he developed an interest in the game that would take him into a new realm.

"Cardrunners is a group of eight pros who post videos and talk you through what their decisions are, why they're making those decisions, and what they're thinking," Sigsbee said. "I started watching them and it helped my game a great deal."

Sigsbee had played in only a few live tournaments, including the last two Heartland tournaments, prior to his big score. Now he has the incentive to take his professional career to the next level.

"I will definitely be playing in some of the World Series of Poker events in Las Vegas next year," he revealed. "My boss at the company I work for right now finished second in one of the World Series events this year for just under half a million."

Sigsbee claims that different things about the game attract different people to poker, but it's definitely the mathematics and the theory behind the game that attracts him.

He acknowledges that luck plays a role in poker success, but it is the correlation among all of his pursuits that holds his interest.

"I think first of all is the competitiveness," he said. "You can never break through on a trading floor without a competitive desire about yourself. The same goes with any sport, definitely poker."

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp