No matter what your opinion of Shawn Sheikhan may be, there is no denying that he is on of the most colorful and memorable figures to have graced the poker scene. Born in Iran in 1969, Shahram Sheikhan has been cutting a wide swath through the poker world with his combination of aggressive playing and unconventional behavior on the poker table as well as in public. Sheikhan along with his wife and daughter currently resides in Las Vegas, and he also has a flourishing business running a chain of tobacco shops and tattoo parlors.
As famous as Sheikhan may be for his numerous exploits, his career as a poker player is a pretty respectable one deserving of acclaim as well. March 2006 was the month when Sheikhan managed to secure a spot in the top four of the NBC's National Heads-Up Poker Championship, where he proceeded to win $125,000. Although he subsequently lost to Ted Forrest, his performance did show the world that he was a force to contend with on the poker tables.
July 2007 marked Sheikhan’s placement in the 3rd in the World Series of Poker No Limit Deuce to Seven Lowball competition. A Poker After Dark win was soon forthcoming, and in this event, he managed to beat a lineup of formidable players in their own right, including such respected poker luminaries as Phil Laak, Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, Mike Matusow and Antonio Esfandiari. Sheikhan beat out this competition to grab the first place slot, a victory that netted him $120,000.
By 2008, Sheikhan had amassed winnings of more than $1,400,000, a large portion of which was the result of 9 cashes at the WSOP event.
As capable a poker player as Sheikhan may be, most people cannot help but focus on his unconventional behavior on the tables. Sheikhan matches his aggressive playing style with a game demeanor that some may find abrasive. In the World Series of Poker event of 2005 for example, Sheikhan was the subject of much controversy after he got into a heated exchange with Mike Matusow after Sheikhan loudly banged on the table upon seeing a flop on a hand that he did not have any involvement with. Both players were penalized for the incident, and it wasn’t the last that Sheikhan would get into either. One Poker After Dark event was the scene of further controversy, when Sheikhan got into a disagreement with Phil Hellmuth over his refusal to keep silent during a particularly crucial hand.
Nevertheless, it is hard to deny that Sheikhan does have a flair for the game that few players have displayed before or since. His strong performance at the 2006 National Heads-Up Poker Championship is a clear example of this, where his tight game play interspersed with strategic bursts of aggressiveness got him a spot in the top four. Not one to be satisfied just playing cards, Sheikhan again made news with his remarks to Gus Hansen to simply "throw away" his cards after Sheikhan had gotten a four of a kind.