Betting Spy

Shannon Elizabeth Makes the Grade

Shannon Elizabeth is in the Money at the WSOP

First Career

Shannon made her mark in show business with memorable performances in American Pie I and II, Scary Movie and numerous TV appearances; poker is her newest world to conquer, and she loves playing the game best when it's for charity. Celebrity Poker Showdown was her first tournament and the star barely knew the basics. She was the second to hit the losers' lounge, but next time she came back strong, going heads-up with Neil Patrick Harris. Shannon says she has become friends with many of the pros who have been so generous with their expertise.

Bodog backed her in the WSOP and sponsored several fund-raisers for the nonprofit organization she founded to rescue homeless pets, called Animal Avengers. In May 2005, she came in sixth at the Calvin Klein-GQ 2nd Annual Celebrity Poker Tournament, a respectable showing for the newcomer. In December 2005, Shannon Triumphed over bad beats and a passel of pros when she won the first "Nicky Hilton New Year's Eve Tournament" at Caesars Palace. Esfandiari, Phil Laak, Mike Matusow, David Williams and Chip Reese were all in the tournament.

Fierce Competitor

Shannon considers herself very competitive in everything she does. Texas born and bred, she learned to play poker from her grandparents because it was a fun thing they could do together. Growing up she briefly dreamed of being a criminal lawyer, nearly became a tennis pro but in her senior year, got a modeling agent in New York. After graduation she worked in Tokyo, Milan and Hong Kong.

It was Broadway that ignited her passion for acting and it was soon evident that Shannon had real talent.

One thing show business and poker have in common is the initial reaction to a beautiful, sexy woman.

"In Hollywood, you get tired of being treated as a sex object or a bimbo. Some people assume you're dumb because you're pretty. Now I'm a lot more confident about what I can do."

At the poker table, Shannon believes you can be aggressive and remain feminine, but is not averse to using her sexuality to distract.

"One has nothing to do with the other. It's more important to know who you're playing and 'play him.' If a guy is really underestimating you, you can still be aggressive. If he's underestimating you at the right time and you have it, it can work for you to play the dumb blonde.

"What I'm learning is how to create your own luck. I had a pro sitting behind me. I had 6-5 and threw it away. He said: 'Sometimes you can play those really aggressive when you're the last one to act and everyone's folded.'

"Also, know who else is in the hand. If somebody's a tight player and he's going in, he's got high cards. If he's a conservative player and he's in, you might be able to raise and he'll throw the hand away. So, when the flop comes, if it's low cards, you're guessing they missed theirs and if you have low cards, then you're good. You just have to know when to act."

Play the Game

Shannon's advice to new players is to read everything, all the charts and statistics, but most important of all, play the game.

"Until you're in a hand and it's actually happening, it's hard to know what you would do. Even if a book says something, there are variables, chip counts, players, and position. It could be a great hand in first position but if somebody raises, I might fold. If I'm in a late position and everybody's folded, then I can play my hand, raise it up or limp in and see what I catch.'

Watch out for Shannon if you're in the World Series and she sits down at your table. She's more than just a pretty face. She's pretty tough.

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