Live Events 1
Event #57: $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em Championship

Ship-ley It

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Poker's a game in which dreams are realized and legends made, but it's also one of near misses and close-but-no-cigar moments - sometimes the line between the two is thinner than we think.

John Shipley is often cited as falling into the final category and for a few years had a blemish on his otherwise spotless poker career that he found difficult to remove.

Back in 2002, Shipley was the chip leader heading into the Main Event final with more than double that of Russell Rosenblum in second. However, momentum soon switched, and Shipley's stack began hurtling towards the felt before he incredibly exited in a disappointing seventh place for $125,000.

Robert Varkonyi, meanwhile, went on to become the 2002 World Champion and have his picture hung up on the wall, predominately due to a huge double through with jacks versus the ace-jack of Shipley. Shipley had been the odds on favorite to etch his name into history, but that honor had evaded him.

Getting so close must have been painful, but Shipley battled on, and continued his life as a poker pro, finding the occasional score including an EPT win in the inaugural season.

Today, he's back in the Main Event in an effort to better his 2002 performance, and hopefully go that one step further. Of course, the environment is different, and the mountain is steeper, but I see a look of determination on his face that makes me think he could be a dark horse. With 145,000, he's by no means comfortable, but he's still alive and in with a shout if he can hit a good run of cards.

One of the more reserved players on the scene, you won't be hearing him shout and holler, or strive for the attention of the cameras, but he has a story to tell, and one that he hopes will have a happy ending. Perhaps 2010 will finally be Shipley's year and the closing chapter he's been searching for.

Tags: John ShipleyRobert Varkonyi