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 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: HmmmÂ… 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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