Late last month, Talal eg23Shoush (pictured) took down the 900 millionth tournament on PokerStars for $152,000 following a three-way chop. The gala drew nearly 19,000 entrants and Shoush, who has been a member of PocketFives since 2006, laid claim to his first six-figure score.
“I don’t think it has really sunk in yet,” Shoush said after the fact. “Even at the time it happened, my girlfriend was needling me about my reaction, saying I was way too robotic. I guess that’s just my personality. It will probably really hit me once I see it in my bank account.” He is up to nearly a half-million dollars in tracked scores.
What’s a person to do with $152,000 in cash? Save it? Spend like they’ve never spent before? Shoush said, “I’m sure a lot of regs in my local PLO game are hoping I jump in, but I’m going to try to stay away from that. I plan on helping out my family, paying off the rest of my school loans, leaving a little online, and maybe playing some live tournaments that weren’t really feasible before.”
Shoush regularly plays live No Limit Hold’em, but occasionally dabbles in PLO. Speaking on his PLO experience, he said, “I’m usually one of those players who just tries to limp re-raise with A-A-X-X and ends up getting punished post-flop for playing my hand face up.”
The winner of tournament #900 million on PokerStars calls Edmonton, Alberta, Canada home. He is the fourth-ranked player in his home city and said of poker there, “There is a huge contingent of poker players in Alberta. There are a lot of great players too. It’s sad that no one has a bracelet yet and I hope one of my friends can change that this summer. Until recently, Edmonton alone had six casinos offering poker, which is quite a lot for a city with under a million people.”
A year ago, Tom titantom32Braband and Andres andressoprano Pereyra (pictured) coached him. The two players combined have about $4.5 million in tracked scores, giving Shoush access to a wealth of knowledge. “I wanted to personally and publicly thank them for everything they’ve done for me,” he told us.
Shoush said of Braband and Pereyra, “Tom is as professional as it gets, not to mention one of the best short-stack players I’ve ever been able to watch. He never mentally checks out of a tournament and really showed me you can still maneuver in spots that I did not think were possible with certain stack sizes. He also has an amazing ability to slow the game down and not be on autopilot, which I think is a huge leak for many others and myself. Andres is an amazing hand reader and always stressed that poker is not about ego; it can be much simpler than I tend to make it.”
Despite the help from the two online studs, Shoush has transitioned more toward live poker, saying, “Since I’ve decided to go back to school, I have been concentrating more on live poker. To really be competitive online, I think you need to have both feet in the pool. The players are on another level. With this score, I hope to be able to play on a more consistent basis.”
Besides having the designation of winning the 900 millionth tournament on PokerStars, Shoush might also be the only player we know to win one MTT on three different platforms.
He narrated, “I was playing a live charity satellite to the WSOP at a local casino. I opened up my iPad because they had free WiFi and saw that the tournament was already going for over and hour, so I decided to take a flyer and jump in. After I busted the satellite, I was about four hours into the tournament and really wanted to go home, so I drove whatever back-roads I could and played on my phone and finally got back to my girlfriend’s, where I got on the PC and eventually won it on my girlfriend’s birthday. It was a crazy story I’ll never forget.”
He closed by saying, “I’d like to give a shout out to all my friends and family who were rooting me on. I appreciate it a lot. Thanks for interviewing me.”
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