Hello everybody! Welcome to Shifty's Club! My name is Dan Samples, but in the competitive Pokémon community I'm know as Shifty. I was born on July 26, 1991 in north Georgia and lived in north Georgia for the most of my life. I currently live 40 miles north of metro Atlanta in a city called Cumming. From birth until I turned 21, I had lived in the same house with my mom, dad, and brother (until 2001 when he moved out).
When I was 4, I took an interest into music, and started learning piano without an instructor. Years later at the age of 8 I was playing for my church regularly. Over the years I wrote many gospel songs as well as classically inspired pieces including sonatas, nocturnes, and a fantasy. Aside from an old football injury to my arm, I still regularly practice to this day.
By the time I was 5, my cousin and I had gone to a shopping mall with her mom, our granny, and our aunt. We both saw something in a store that caught our eyes. We didn't know it yet, but it was Pokémon Red and Green in Japanese. My aunt bought both versions, and I ended up with green because red was also my cousin's favorite color. When I got home and tryed to play it, I couldn't understand what was going on because the game "had scribble scrabble on it" to quote me directly from that day. My brother had researched and found out that it was Japanese. He then proceeded to assist me in checking out a book from the local library that had the Japanese characters and what they meaned. I could then proceed to typing it into a translator online to learn what the words meant. That's how I initially started to learn Japanese.
When I was 7, my brother told me about how he had saw a poster at Wal-Mart for the Pokémon game I had saying it was coming out in English. I was so happy when I finally got the game in English and started playing. It wasn't even 4 months until my brother told me that Pokémon was also coming out with cards that you could collect. I was so thrilled that I went to the base set pre-release and got the Hitmonchan and Squirtle deck. I didn't have much money growing up, so I had to use my lunch money to buy Pokémon cards at recess and on the bus and get up in the middle of the night to make pb&j's to sneak into my backpack, so i'd have food.
It wasn't until my birthday in 1999 that I finally got to buy and open booster packs with money I received for my birthday. The first pack I ever opened was a Jungle pack and it had a Snorlax as the rare. Later that year I learned about how Pokémon had competitive tournaments for both the video game and the TCG, so i quickly inquired as I was very eager to try them out. I won my first ever VG tournament with 6 players with Snorlax/Mew/Mewtwo. I didn't win a TCG tournament until my 5th where I won with a card that had just been released 2 weeks prior in the Fossil set... Magmar. Combined with Electabuzz it seemed very good to had a lot of HP and cheap attacks to try and win a game. The deck known as haymaker uses Electabuzz and Hitmonchan and attempts to do the same thing. I had played that Electabuzz/Magmar/Dodrio deck every tournament since then up until I got an invite to play in a REALLY big tournament.
My cousin and I both played competitively, and even though she lived 285 miles away from me at the time, we were still able to prepare for the biggest tournament of our lives... the Tropical Mega Battle. She decided she would stick with the old and faithful deck that got her as far as it did (Blastoise/Dragonite). I however decided to completely change my deck for the tournament after months of studying game situations and states. My new deck would be the riskiest call to make after coming this far and never have played it in a tournament beforehand. It consisted of Venusaur, Exeggutor, Alakazam, Chansey, and Scoop Up working in somewhat of a very complcated combo to win. Once the combo sets up I had never lost in practice, but setting it up in time before your opponent can win the game is rather difficult and required you to manage your resources to the teeth. In each of the first 4 games I played, I went from my opponent being 1-2 prizes away from winning to taking all 6 of my prize cards. After round 3, my opponent went over to a table, and I could somewhat hear about what they were conversing. He said something about the most ridiculous deck he's ever seen and about how he should have beaten it. In round 4, I noticed my opponent had the same last name as my opponent from the previous round and asked him about it. After beating him, he went over to the same table and conversed with them about what had happened, more players overheard it and started joining into the chat. There were about 14 players standing within that group when I saw a guy point at me and say "good game, Shifty!" They all started laughing and saying things like "SHIFTY!" "that's perfect" and "yeah... Shifty!", and by the time I got back, it wasn't 2 weeks later at another tournament that 2 of them said they heard about my new nickname... I guess it had spread like wildfire.
Over my entire childhood, I took a very big interest in sports. My dad always tried to have me playing and watching sports as much as possible. I played baseball, basketball, and football during my youth, and learned as much about each of the sports as I could. As far as school sports and activities go, I was in a lot of them. In elementary school, I was on the inagural math team in 5th grade, and we went undefeated that year. In middle school I played football and golf (they were 2 of the few sports teams we had then) and was on the math team every year. In high school, I expanded my horizons almost completely. I played football every year and was on the math team every year. Freshman year I tried out hockey club, baseball, tennis, lacrosse... safe to say I didn't like either one of them in high school and stuck with football and the math team.
While playing football in high school, I experienced an injury to my forearm. When the doc got x-rays back, he said it was shattered. They ended up placing a thin metal rod and screws into my arm, and I cannot bend my wrist because of it. That ended playing football for me as I know it. Later senior year, my cousin was telling me about sports betting because I was playing ESPN streak'em, and he said "why not make real money from it?" So I started learning more and more about wagers and about how lines are made, etc. I studied for about 3 and a half years before I turned 21 and finally went out to Vegas with 5 grand I had saved up from working over the years. My first bet was on a blackhawks game. This was in 2012 in the middle of what would be a 10-game winning streak. My first wager was on Chicago for the moneyline against Columbus who was the worst team in the league that year, so I felt very confident. I won that bet as well as the next 2 bets which started me off in what would end up being my current career. Over the years, I had earned anywhere between 400K and 700K on sports betting.
While I was out in Vegas on and off, I figured I had more money than I knew what to do with, so I placed ads online telling everyone that I bought Pokémon cards in bulk. Little did I know that I would be buying so many that I couldn't even take them home with me on my flight back. Once in 2016, I decided to drive out there and ended up loving being able to drive around instead of walking and waiting for buses. I brought back a HUGE load of cards that I had bought while I was out there, and ended up placing the rest in a temperature controlled storage. I can safely say I own millions of Pokémon cards, but most of them are just bulk commons and uncommons. Over the years since the beginning of the Pokémon TCG, I had bought and won sealed products that I have kept sealed to this day. It brings me immense joy to know I own so much Pokémon history.
I've also been playing Pokémon competitively since the year it released in the U.S. Over the years, I have won countless tournaments including Gym Challenges, Super Trainer, Battle Roads, City Championships, League Challenges, League Cups, and unsanctioned store tournaments. Despite all of my success at the lower level tournaments, I only managed to qualify for the world championships once.
When I was 14, my boy and I were watching a guy play a Mario game blindfolded. He turned to me and said "dude, you should try that with Pokémon!" I had been fully enveloped into Pokémon my whole life, so I knew every main game pretty well. I first started playing Red blindfolded. I eventually moved to trying Yellow, Gold, Crystal, Ruby, FireRed, and then Emerald. Unfortunately, I hadn't recorded myself playing them because we didn't have the stuff to do it back then. Years later in 2019, I decided to promote my Youtube channel by playing red version blindfolded at Cookout in Alpharetta, GA. I brought in a good number of people to watch, but it wasn't until about January 2020 when my friend Astral_Azzy asked me if I ever planned on getting into speedrunning. I had honestly never heard of it until that day. He then told me about speedrun.com, and I checked it out later that night. I still remember the first streamer I ever watched was Franchewbacca. He seemed like a really chill guy who also like sports. That was the day I stepped my foot into the bounds of speedrunning.
Later in February 2020, I was asking questions about how to start speedrunning, and that I had already been playing the games blindfolded. I was directed to a Pokemon speedrun channel on Discord where I learned so much about the art of speedrunning. That inspired me to start streaming blindfolded speedruns on Twitch. Around March 2020, I bought all of the computer parts to build my own custom PC, and I still have that PC to this day. I learned about all of the programs necessary to stream and speedrun. On May 4, 2020 I made my first speedrun attempt on Twitch under the same username I have today... ShiftysClub. It was a Red version speedrun with Mew, and it took a whopping 5 hours to complete. There were many RNG problems I had during that run, but I still kept going, and did more and more runs. At the time, I also streamed Pokemon TCG and fan ROM play. Now I stream mostly blindfolded speedruns and routing of those speedruns with other games here and there.
This paragraph is subject to change. Currently, I hold 3 blindfolded world records in Pokémon Red (Mew%, any% glitchless, custom starter Articuno, and beat Misty), 2 in Yellow (any% glitchless and Primeape%), and 1 in Crystal (custom starter Alakazam). I'm still sports betting as a profession to this day. I occasionally enjoy creating and updating this website I started making on Dreamweaver 8 and continue to update on the same program to this day. My goal is to own WR in every main series Pokemon game for any% glitchless blindfolded. My dream is to build a community around my channel that may influence others to attempt blindfolded speedruns of Pokemon games.
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