GIBRALTAR: 30-01-06 - PartyPoker.com’s online qualifiers fared excellently at the recent Aussie Millions at the Crown Casino in Melbourne with two players finishing in the final six. Bobby Neary, a 21 year-old business student from Sonoma State University in Northern California finished second scooping $689,700 AUD, while 20 year-old Shannon Storr from Tuscaloosa, Alabama finished fourth winning $271,700AUD. Of the three Americans in the final six two were online qualifiers from PartyPoker.com and both had never been to Australia or played live poker before.
Bobby started playing online two years ago and his second in Melbourne was remarkable considering it was his FIRST live event appearance.
“I have a golf scholarship so poker is something I do when I’m not studying or walking the course,” said Bobby. “I went over to Australia with no expectations – in fact I thought I would spend most of my time doing the usual tourist things like seeing kangaroos and surfing with my buddies. I didn’t get to do any of this so I’m going to use my winnings to go back some time soon.”
At one point, Bobby found himself on a table where everybody was a pro but himself: “They all knew each other. I suppose it was an advantage that they didn’t know me. I was just so happy to make it to the final table.”
Does Bobby fancy himself as the next Tiger Woods or the next Phil Ivey? “I wouldn’t mind being either,” said Bobby, and when asked what he’ll do with the money he said, “I’m at school to learn how to invest it properly.”
20 year-old Shannon Storr used to be a Civil Engineering student at the University of Alabama but gave it up to play online poker for a living.
“This was my first big event but I hope to hit the live circuit in a major way when I’m 21, “said Shannon. “My parents were a little hesitant to support my decision to quit school but my win in Melbourne has helped them start to accept it.”
“I never really thought I would get anywhere. When playing online I used to talk or even shout at the screen but playing live I had to keep in all my emotion. It was a fantastic experience and it was neat to get the respect of the pros.” Bobby is now off to The Bahamas for the PartyPoker.com Canadian Poker Championships.
Shannon and Bobby were amongst over 80 online qualifiers from PartyPoker.com competing in Melbourne but neither had the chance to play against Australian hero Joe Hachem. “I hung around with five guys I’d met playing online, “said Shannon, “it would have been great to play against Hachem but it wasn’t to be.”
PartyPoker.com spokesman Warren Lush said: “Bobby and Shannon did brilliantly. Both have the potential to be poker stars of the future.”