Unlike many of the other finalist, 27-year-old Eric Shanks is not a professional poker player. He is actually an options trader from Santa Monica, California, though he originally hails from Syracuse, New York. Despite not making poker his full-time profession, Shanks is far from an inexperienced amateur. On the contrary, he he's been cashing at the World Series of Poker for the past five years.
The first of his three cashes came back in 2008 when he took 15th in Event #3 $1,500 Pot-Limit Hold'em for $9,732. Three years later, he took 27th for $21,933 in Event #36 $2,500 No-Limit Hold'em. Then, a little over a week ago, he got his third cash after finishing 47th in Event #12 $1,500 Pot-Limit Hold'em for $2,795. Needless to say, Shanks will notch the biggest cash of his career here today as long as he isn't the first person eliminated from the final table. Chances are that won't happen as he begins the final table fifth in chips.