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Tournament Grinder Shaun Deeb: POKER > COVID-19


We've already written about the surge in online poker during the coronavirus bullshit as people whose normal work and recreation schedules were disrupted sought out entertaining ways to pass the time. We hardly expected that those actually afflicted with COVID-19 would also take to the virtual tables; yet, this is just what happened – at least in the case of poker pro Shaun Frank Deeb.

Shaun Deeb Coronavirus

Deeb's WCOOP Adventure

Informational Button - Blue

As an online poker tournament specialist, Shaun Deeb is certainly comfortable playing in games with high buyins and competing over the course of series with hundreds of events. Thus, when PokerStars' 2020 World Championship of Online Poker was announced with more than $80 million in guaranteed prizes, running from Aug. 30 through Sept. 23, Deeb knew that he wanted to participate. He was no doubt partially motivated by the fact that with eight first-place finishes in previous WCOOP tournaments, he was just one short of the record held by Russia's Denis Strebkov who has nine.

Shaun DeebShaun Deeb Has More Than $7 Million in Online Tournament Earnings

There was just one problem: Shaun Deeb hails from New York, a jurisdiction from which PokerStars does not allow users to log in and play for real money. This was only a minor impediment to Shaun, however, because he elected to temporarily relocate to Mexico for the duration of the series. Ever since Black Friday in 2011, many U.S.-based poker professionals have had to make similar journeys, either one-way or round-trip, to enjoy internet poker at the largest sites around.

Shocking Announcement

As the series was winding down, Deeb made a tweet revealing hitherto unsuspected medical information:

Shaun Deeb Coronavirus Tweet

He said, during the early morning on Sept. 21, that he had COVID-19 and had known about it for approximately a week and a half. This means he had been playing while ill since around Sept. 11.

If these assumptions as for the dates he was infected are correct (we concede that this is a moderately big “if”), then during the time he was afflicted, Shaun Deeb cashed in 31 tournaments at PokerStars. Since the beginning of the series on Aug. 31, he had made the money in 59 MTTs.

Unable to Avoid Hospitalization

Despite his stated desire to keep clear of Mexican hospitals, Deeb did in fact have to be hospitalized shortly after tweeting about his COVID status. But there was a problem:

Message From PokerStars to Shaun Deeb

That's right – Shaun Deeb's biggest concern was not the progress he was making fighting the coronavirus, the length of time he would need to remain in the hospital, or even what drugs he would have to take. No, this dedicated grinder was most upset by the fact that PokerStars' geolocation tech was misidentifying his whereabouts and refusing to let him play!

We're not in the healthcare business ourselves, but we here at ProfessionalRakeback feel confident in our diagnosis of Shaun Deeb as completely and irredeemably sick.

Shaun must have had access to some technological black magic because he then posted an update:

Shaun Deeb Playing PokerStars From Hospital

For what it's worth, Deeb cashed in all three of the Phase 2 tourneys he played that day, scoring a profit of $556.80. Alas, he failed to win an event throughout the entire series, so he was unable to tie or break the current record for WCOOP victories. Maybe next year, Shaun.

Deeb's Coronavirus Bout Over?

Red Question Mark

Although he appeared to be in dire shape on Sept. 21, Deeb stated that he was feeling much better by Wednesday, Sept. 23. He revealed that he had experienced no chills the previous night and just light sweating. He shared that he had had no fever for close to 48 hours.

Heartened by the improvement in his health, Shaun Deeb on Sept. 24 had a perhaps premature question for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo:

Shaun Deeb Tweet About Returning Home

You Can Play in Online Series Too

Gold Currency Notes

You can enjoy some of the same online MTT fun as Shaun Deeb. This is the case even if you have no inclination to travel outside the United States to play on PokerStars.

You see, there are a number of other international poker sites that welcome Americans and host their own tournament series. Now, none of them is quite as large as PokerStars, but they should suffice to satisfy all but the most demanding tourney aficionados.

Americas Cardroom regularly hosts series, like its Online Super Series, which generally has at least $12 million up for grabs. You can even get $10 for free to check out the games with our PRB10FREE no deposit bonus code and then receive a 100% up to $1,000 bonus when you make a deposit. Read our thorough Americas Cardroom review for additional info.

Ignition Poker is the other main option for Americans looking for online tournament action. It frequently runs series, like the Black Diamond Poker Open and Golden Spade Poker Open, with seven figures in guaranteed money. You can claim a 100% up to $1,000 welcome bonus too. To learn more, consult our Ignition Poker cardroom review.

For a complete rundown of places to play online tournaments from the United States, head over to our list of the best tournament poker sites for Americans.