Meeting shaniac: Short film triggers old memories

Editor's note: Earlier this week, PokerStars released a short film about Shane Schleger that triggered a few memories in Trent Wyatt, a longtime PokerStars employee. In 2005, Wyatt was still a part-time player with a dream. This is what happened.

March 25, 2005 started much like any other day off from my previous job. I woke up, had some breakfast, did some light exercising and then opened PokerStars. My days off were the only time I could commit to playing poker. Little did I know later in the day I would meet the infamous shaniac in an event that would change my life.

I had recently made a $500 deposit with the specific goal of playing WSOP satellites. Unfortunately, things were not going as I had hoped. This day I was staring at a balance of $15.50 which felt like my chance--my last shot--was all but gone. At this time in my life I was struggling to pay my living expenses and college loan. Losing $500 was hard to swallow. I had bought directly into two $160 Double Shootout events and did not make it through round 1. I spent he rest on $2 to $20 satellites with no luck.

I opened the Events tab and started browsing the WSOP satellites. The only events awarding seats to the Main Event were $160 DS events. It was a far cry from my measly balance, and unless I could find a smaller buy-in satellite, I would have no chance. Then I noticed a $5.50 + rebuys satellite to the $160 DS that just started. My first thought was I only have one buy-in, one rebuy and possibly an add-on if I didn't have to reload. I hesitated. Should I play this? Should I try to make a run at Sit and Go's? Should I try and run it up at a cash table? Honestly, I figured any chance with my bankroll was hopeless, and I would not reach my goal.

I grabbed a cup of coffee and then debated my best shot at reaching my goal to win a seat to the WSOP. This was the biggest goal I had set for myself in poker to this point, and I was failing. If I lost this $15, I really could not afford to reload and try again. Without even realizing it, I had apparently made my decision and had registered to the satellite.

Something took control of me. I did my first rebuy right away so I could start with double the chips. Now I only had enough for one last rebuy or hopefully an add-on if I could last without busting my first two bullets.

The very first hand of the event I was dealt the elusive pocket aces, and something just felt right about my decision to play this event. I doubled up that hand and ran good up to the end of the rebuy. At the end of the rebuy period I found myself in the top 10 of the chip counts. After doing the add-on my account balance was $0. It was this or nothing. The satellite awarded 33 seats to the $160 DS, and I was determined to get one of the seats.
And there it was: 33 players left and I was first in chips. I made it to the next event, and I could not have been more thrilled to accomplish the first leg of the day's goal. The DS was set to start as soon as 81 players registered. With the 33 that advanced from the satellite it did not take long to fill up and get started.

The first round was a breeze, I was getting slapped in the face with the deck, and everyone just kept paying me off. It took less than 150 hands to seal the deal and move to round 2. There was one table left playing, so I opened it to observe. It was the first time I had ever seen the screen name "shaniac." He was heads-up. I immediately noticed was how popular he was; the rail birds were in full force rooting shaniac on to victory.

Shane Schleger 2.jpg

Round 2 started and I was as nervous as I had been. Is this real? Am I really eight people away from winning a WSOP seat and reaching my goal? Once the first hand was dealt I calmed down a bit and got focused. The chat between shaniac and the rail birds was very entertaining, and to me it was very cool to see this popular guy interact with his fans. In addition to shaniac there was another player who had just become a Full Tilt Red Pro and six other really tough players. It was surreal and humbling for a guy from a small town to be in this situation playing for a WSOP seat against some very elite players.

I was feeling really good about my play up to this point, but the following hand nearly crushed my dreams and flushed them away I was tilting. This was a chance to eliminate the popular shaniac and be four-handed and second in chips. He sucked out the miracle and won the pot.

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to djerb T♣T♥
wilspeed: folds
WINNER'circl: folds
missvicky: folds
shaniac: raises 300 to 400
djerb: raises 300 to 700
shaniac: calls 35 and is all-in
*** FLOP *** 9♦7♥8♦
shaniac said, "J!"
*** TURN *** 9♦7♥8♦ 3♦
shaniac said, "diamond"
shaniac said, "something"
*** RIVER *** 9♦7♥8♦3♦ 7♦
*** SHOW DOWN ***
shaniac: shows T♦A♣ (a flush, Ten high)
djerb: shows T♣T♥ (two pair, Tens and Sevens)
shaniac said, "ty"
shaniac collected 870 from pot
djerb said, "nh"

A few hands later he doubled up again and now had some chips to work with. I knew this would be a tough match, and yet I went and doubled him up again. I was still tilting from the previous hand, and it prompted what was possibly a bad call on my part despite being ahead.

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to djerb 6♥6♦
missvicky: folds
shaniac: raises 200 to 300
djerb: calls 250
wilspeed: folds
*** FLOP *** 7♣3♥T♠
shaniac said, "I get more than that ~_~"
djerb: bets 400
N 82 50 24 (observer) said, "lol"
shaniac: raises 1440 to 1840 and is all-in
djerb: calls 1440
shaniac said, "****"
shaniac said, "gg"
N 82 50 24 (observer) said, "omg"
*** TURN *** 7♣3♥T♠ A♣
N 82 50 24 (observer) said, "nice"
*** RIVER *** 7♣3♥T♠A♣ 5♦
*** SHOW DOWN ***
djerb: shows 6♥6♦ (a pair of Sixes)
shaniac: shows Q♥A♥ (a pair of Aces)
N 82 50 24 (observer) said, "yessssssssssssssssssssssssssss"
shaniac said, "I am suckout king"
shaniac collected 4380 from pot

"I am suckout king," was just about right. Twice now I had him on the rail yet could not put the nail in the coffin. Now I was third in chips with shaniac in second. I really felt the pressure increasing and my dream slipping away.

Despite him sucking out on me twice, I was finding it very hard not to like this guy. The responses to his fans were great entertainment.

schnerbs (observer) said, "can i buy a piece of you?"
shaniac said, "my kidney is for rent"

Soon we were 3 handed and I was 2nd in chips with shaniac close behind and the chip leader not too far ahead. It was anyone's game, and only first paid the WSOP seat and $1,000 in cash. Being that shaniac had already won 2 seats he was looking for a deal.
shaniac said, "chop?"

However I was not, I wanted that seat to myself.

djerb said, "i don't have a seat yet"
shaniac said, "give u each 3K for it"

Now this was intriguing, $3k was a lot of money for me and would have been a nice return on my $15.50 investment. I could take that $3k and try at a few other DS events. While I was pondering the offer, another great comment from shaniac occurred.

ninewins (observer) said, "shaniac what good does another seat do you"
shaniac said, "26 virgins in heaven"

Then another offer to save from shaniac:

shaniac said, "you guys want to make a save?"
shaniac said, "so 2nd and 3rd each get $500?"

My response again was:

djerb said, "i want a seat"

I was not ready to give up my dreams and was willing to risk it all to get there. However I was a greenhorn in poker and did not understand what a "save" was and shaniac explained.

shaniac said, "winner sends 2nd and 3rd place $500"

Just as this comment was made everything changed in my favour:

Dealt to djerb A♦Q♦
shaniac said, "winner sends 2nd and 3rd place $500"
shaniac: raises 1400 to 1600
djerb: raises 1400 to 3000
wilspeed: folds
shaniac said, "or not"
shaniac said, "gg"
shaniac: calls 105 and is all-in
*** FLOP *** 9♦2♣A♠
schnerbs (observer) said, "suck time"
djerb said, "gg"
*** TURN *** 9♦2♣A♠ K♣
earlybird893 (observer) said, "j"
schnerbs (observer) said, "JJJJJJ"
shaniac said, "Jack?"
*** RIVER *** 9♦2♣A♠K♣ 7♠
shaniac said, "gg"
*** SHOW DOWN ***
djerb: shows A♦Q♦ (a pair of Aces)
shaniac: shows T♥Q♣ (high card Ace)
djerb said, "whew"
djerb collected 3610 from pot

What a sweat at the river, I felt certain he was going to hit the Jack on the river and suckout again. However, this was my time and now I was heads-up with a sizeable chip lead. My opponent managed to double up and bring the chip counts to near even. All the while shaniac was still observing the game and sending good thoughts my way.

shaniac (observer) said, "gl djerb"
djerb said, "ty"
shaniac (observer) said, "you deserve it"

His good thoughts and well wishes helped when two hands later I had my opponent all-in and drawing very thin.

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to djerb 9♦9♥
wilspeed: raises 400 to 600
djerb: raises 1200 to 1800
wilspeed: raises 2365 to 4165 and is all-in
djerb: calls 2365
*** FLOP *** 2♣3♣7♠
shaniac (observer) said, "gg"
earlybird893 (observer) said, "no 5"
*** TURN *** 2♣3♣7♠ 6♠
earlybird893 (observer) said, "no 4"
*** RIVER *** 2♣3♣7♠6♠ T♦
earlybird893 (observer) said, "no5"
*** SHOW DOWN ***
djerb: shows 9♦9♥ (a pair of Nines)
wilspeed: shows 5♥5♣ (a pair of Fives)
earlybird893 (observer) said, "gg djerb"
djerb collected 8330 from pot

Just like that, I had managed to achieve my goal and I was going to play in the WSOP Main Event. Shortly after the Main Event, I took a job with PokerStars and have been with them ever since. It was a great joy when I heard we were signing shaniac to Team Online. Here we were several years later, and our paths were crossing again this time as colleagues instead of competitors.

trent2.jpg

Trent Wyatt

Our lives have taken a very different paths, and I am humbled to be a part of PokerStars and proud to call shaniac a friend and colleague. If not for that day and the results I achieved, I am not sure I would have ended up with PokerStars and had the experiences the past eight years have brought. Then again, I might have ended up where shaniac is today!

Shaniac is a great ambassador for poker and we are proud to have him on our team. I now get to return the gesture to shaniac and say, "you deserve it"!

Trent Wyatt is a PokerStars IT Fraud Prevention Investigator