Not many people in life can honestly say they’ve had a dream come true. For Scott Shelley that happened at the 2010 World Series of Poker Europe in London.
Shelley was already a poker nut and had a job working in customer service for PKR. He won his seat to a WSOPE £1,000 side event in a staff sit-and-go and remarkably went on to win the bracelet, defeating JP Kelly heads-up.
But what’s happened since? PokerPlayer spoke to the PKR Pro to find out…
Hi Scott, What’s life like now? What games are you playing and how is it all going at the moment?
Scott Shelley: Since returning from Vegas [this summer] I’ve continued to grind cash games online at PKR as I had been in the months leading up to the trip. Vegas  was probably my least successful trip out of the four times I have been so it’s made me more motivated to get back on the grind and get my head down. I’ve popped out for the odd live MTT such as the UKIPT London and PKR Live and I’m looking forward to some other tournaments before the end of the year.
Have you always been a cash game player or was that something you started grinding more after you went full-time?
Hell no! I’ve been grinding cash way more since turning full-time but before that I had barely put any hours in playing online cash games. My passion in poker will always be tournaments, you can’t beat the feeling of taking down a tournament and nothing in cash game poker comes close. But I realise that you need to be able to mix it up and play cash games as it’s hard to rely on a steady income playing solely tournaments.
Editor Ross Jarvis has been raving about PKR Live, what did I miss?!
As usual it was a blast. It’s always great catching up with some of the players you meet on a day-to-day basis online and also for me it’s great catching up with my former colleagues at the PKR office. I always look forward to these events as it’s as much a socialising event as a poker tournament.
And we know you finished 12th, happy? Disappointed?
Yes the poker went really well with having that deep run. I was disappointed to get that far and not even make the final table, but I am happy with how I played as I was always going for the win, rather then scrapping it to the final table. The hand in which I busted was a standard flip – AJ<99 Button vs Small Blind – and should it of gone the other way I feel I would have had a huge chance at taking it down.
Your story is pretty inspiring, what was it like going from an office job at PKR to bracelet winner… just like that?
Nothing less then a dream come true to be honest. I have been a poker geek since getting into the game and the big dream was to win a bracelet – the fashion I did it in just made it the perfect story. There certainly wasn’t going to be anymore arguing in the office about who was number 1!
PKR gave you a deal soon after, how did that feel?
I had been at the company for a few years and was very loyal to them so for me it was the perfect option, especially partnering it with a place in the marketing team.
You turned professional not long after though, why did you decide to leave your job and play full-time?
I just felt that after a year or so it was time to make the step and play full-time. It has its ups and downs but I’m quite a realistic person so I wasn’t expecting it to be a smooth ride the whole way.
You must have made some good mates since winning that bracelet… Who are your best friends in poker and how have they helped you?
It’s hard to find anyone in UK poker who I don’t get along with, it’s like a huge community and you see its full colours every year in Vegas. It’s without a doubt that the Brits get the best rails in Vegas and its due to the community we have.
My closest friend in the poker community is Laurence Houghton, a veteran online MTT player who has pretty much won everything when it comes to online MTT’s. We have played sessions together and always discuss hands with each other. Kevin Allen is also someone who I have a lot of time for, not only does he give you a realistic view on everything poker wise, he can also do that with things away from the table. It keeps your head right and I have a lot of respect for the way he juggles being a great Dad along with being one of, if not the most liked person on tour.
I have other close friends who all play heads-up hyper turbos for a living who I also discuss hands with, one recently making the final table of the WCOOP main event!
You mention Vegas quite a bit, any funny stories… *cough Mirage fountains cough*…
Haha! It was a pretty silly idea in the end, I remember Laurence [Houghton] in stitches when I got back to the apartment with no shoes and soaking wet at what was probably about 4/5am. At least I got my ‘Vegas moment’ out of the way!
With such a big breakout win and not so much since, do you feel the pressure to take down another big tournament?
I’d be silly If I didn’t, it’s human nature. Apart from some great results online, I have lacked the big score since the bracelet win. I feel like I got my share of deep runs when I put the volume in but the last year or so I’ve focused more on cash games and it’s meant my volume in MTT’s has lacked. I’m not giving up anytime soon and feel I’m capable of another huge score.
What is the reality like? Do you think the next score is coming soon?
It can be frustrating when a certain hand or flip doesn’t go your way but it’s got to be expected with the variance that comes with playing MTT’s. The hunger for that victory is increasing so I’m hoping that speeds the process up. Nothing can compare to the feeling of outlasting the rest of the field in a MTT, especially when its a major tournament. Knowing what that feel likes helps the hunger growing.
And finally, how do you think the game has changed since your bracelet win in 2009 and where do you think it will go in the next five years?
The game has got tougher and tougher. Unfortunately for me my score came at a time when the game was already starting to get harder, so I never got the chance to put in big volume when the games were really good. It’s still beatable but it just it takes a bit of brain power these days.
It’s hard to say where the game will go in the next 5 years. Hopefully the issues preventing online play in the USA get resolved and then the biggest market in the game can get back at it.
Photo courtesy of Ian Payne
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