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Off the Felt: Shane "Shaniac" Schleger

Shane Schleger

PokerStars recently announced the addition of 15 new members to Team PokerStars Online. We sat down with newly minted member, Shane "Shaniac" Schleger to discuss how he got his start in poker, his thoughts on winning the $109 Rebuy this past Sunday, and more.

How did you get your start playing poker?

First at Sandia Casino in New Mexico around 2000, where my oldest childhood friend from NYC was living. $1/$5 stud was the game, and I lost a lot that summer. Then, more seriously, I found poker in the spring of 2002 when I met some people in New York who played poker locally. That's when I started playing hold 'em tournaments.

What is it about online play that you enjoy more?

A lot of aspects, but mostly the ability to work from home amidst my creature comforts and entertainment options. The variety and volume of games is also a major positive, and I think it basically allows for more flexible scheduling overall.

How many events were you playing when you took down the $109 Rebuy on PokerStars this past Sunday and what were your thoughts while you were playing it? Was it a difficult road to the win or did you have a feeling you were going to take it down?

I want to say four or five, deep in two or three, which is actually more than usual for that hour. That can be a trying time of the day, because often you're busted out of all the early stuff and in the early stages of the late stuff.

I was actually also deep in the huge $10 Rebuy (fewer than 100 players left ) and maybe one other tournament that I'm forgetting about. And it actually all almost fell apart at the same time, nearly a major meltdown really. My stack in the $10 Rebuy got busted after a couple standard hands and, then, on the final table bubble of the $100 Rebuy, I got picked off on a huge bluff for a big chunk of my stack. I had been coasting along, controlling the table well, but after that bluff I made an awful re-push nine-handed and almost busted ninth, but sucked out with ace-four4 versus ace-ten on the hand to stay alive.

After that, I got back in my mind, but it's a decent illustration of the fine line between failure and triumph in tournament poker.

You post a lot about music on your blog. Name your top all-time artist, song, album, and one hit wonder?

I think this question is rigged. Bob Dylan, Bringing It All Back Home, and Like A Rolling Stone will always win, but there are a lot of worthy competitors.

I wanna say Gnarls Barkley is the greatest one hit-wonder, just because I love Crazy so much and hate Cee-Lo's new gimmick song with equal passion. But really Cee-Lo gets a lifetime pass for his verse on Git Up, Git Out so I'm not coming up with the true best answer.

On a related note, WFMU, a freeform radio station in Jersey City, NJ, has had a major positive influence on my ability to discover new music since I was in high school, and, as a result, stay sane during downswings since becoming a poker player. I recommend the station to everyone -

What's your tournament schedule looking like the rest of the year? Are you going to be tackling the live circuit or playing mostly online?

I'm going to play a modified live schedule this year, I might even play a shorter World Series of Poker schedule than usual. Last year, I tried to hit the live trail hard while also putting in a lot of hours online, but it seems like overload in retrospect. This year, I probably won't go east of Vegas for poker besides the North American Poker Tour Mohegan Sun event in April. So my schedule is consists of Commerce, Bike, Bay 101, Mohegan, 10-15 events at the WSOP (as opposed to my usual 20+), and then we'll see. And if I don't leave the country once this year, I won't mind one bit. Definitely happy to focus on online grinding and not boarding airplanes in 2011.

You seem to have one of the most open, honest and popular poker blogs. What drives you to translate your life and thoughts to the public so freely?

It's just the style of writing I developed when I was in high school, writing a column on music and extra-curricular life for our school paper. In a way it's just what comes most naturally to me — being able to state things plainly, and it's also therapeutic. It's gratifying if I think I am relating an idea to a person on the other side of the page, so that's what compels me I guess. All selfish reasons!

And lastly, what are your thoughts on becoming part of Team Online Pro?

It feels like the most amazing opportunity in my life for a wide variety of reasons. I'll be detailing my thoughts on it on my blog — hopefully for a while to come.

Want to take on Shaniac at the tables? Sign up for a PokerStars account today!

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