Came across this offering, as part of an article I wrote on Canadian pro, one of the best around, Gavin Smith, of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. It offers a nice glimpse into the ups and downs of a tournament, even more interesting considering the event in question was the MAIN EVENT. Enjoy!
2006 WPT Player of the Year
Gavin Smith Highlights from 2012 WSOP Main Event
Here are some of the key hands Gavin was involved in on his way to a very impressive 96th place finish in the 2012 World Championship. We pick up the action, as reported by WSOP.com, starting on Day 4.
Blind on Blind
Gavin Smith in a blind battle with Michael Peesik. Smith bet 26,000 on the turn on a board of 8, 4, 2, 2 and Peesik called. The river came the 5 diamonds and both players checked. Smith tabled pocket Jacks and chipped up by about 100,000.
Bye Bye Baldy
Gavin Smith shows QQ versus Eric Baldwin’s 55. Baldwin, known as ‘basebaldy’ online, has won a couple of bracelets. Baldwin is eliminated and Smith chips up 390,000 to 800,000.
Gavin gets some of Sommerville’s Chips
We just caught a hand over at the secondary feature table involving Gavin Smith and Jason Sommerville. Access is a bit limited, though it appears the pair got all-in after the flop of 9 4 9. Smith tabled K K while Somerville showed J 10 for a flush draw. He missed as the final two cards bricked and Smith doubled up to 1.3 million. Somerville’s sunk to 240,000.
We got to the table to see A.J. Jelelowo all-in and at risk before the flop. Gavin Smith had Jelelowo covered and was ahead with AK vs the 10 9 of his opponent. The flop brought Jelelowo the help he needed as it fell 6 10 8. He survived and Smith has been crippled to 290,000
Gavin Smith open-jammed for his last 326,000 from the hi-jack seat, Bobby Poe re-jammed for 552,000 on the button. The blinds released and the hands were opened; QJ hearts for Smith, A 10 hearts for Poe. A Queen hit the turn and jumped to 660,000 in chips. Poe was left with 226,000.
Webber Kang raised it up to 60,000 in early position and Percy Mahatan made the call. It folded around to Gavin Smith in the small blind. He moved all-in ffo 761,000 total. Kang quickly folded and Mahatan thought for about 15 seconds before sighing and releasing his cards. After the pot, Smith is up to almost a million, sitting on 952,000.
Over at the secondary feature table, action folded around to WSOP bracelet winner Gavin Smith on the button. Smith moved his short stack of 545,000 into the middle, Eric Legoff called from the small blind. Smith was racing for his tournament life with AQ against the pocket Jacks of Legoff. The board ran out and Gavin was forced to settle for an early elimination on Day 6.
96th is a deep run folks. www.highrollerradio.net
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Here is an article I wrote last year about Gavin Smith. Enjoy.
Canadian Gavin Smith Goes Deep in the Main Event
By: Derrick Oliver
It doesn’t happen often, a long deep run into a labyrinth of lethal skill and unsubstantiated luck against adversaries and friends, who at some point, become foes, in one of the biggest sporting events in the world. Making a deep run at a circus known as the World Series of Poker requires a combination of talent and skill, the ability to stay focused when everything around you is a distracting showcase of cocktail waitresses, reporters, fans, masseuses and opponents and a spectacle of the bizarre and sublime. Making a deep run like that? It’s rare, perhaps once in a lifetime. It should be enjoyed and savoured. Gavin Smith has made a few deep runs over the course of his spectacular career. He is used to the limelight but this one was special indeed. This deep run happened at the Main Event.
They call him the Clown Prince of Poker. A future Hall of Famer according to the poker pundits, Gavin Smith boasts a resume that reads like a dream for any aspiring pro; one bracelet at the WSOP, a mixed hold’em event in 2010, a World Poker Tour title, when he bested a large and skillful field to capture the Mirage Poker Showdown, a WPT “Player of the Year’ award, an honour he personally cherishes more than the gold bracelet, and more than $5 million in tournament earnings. Those around him knew there was something different this year, as he entered the 2012 main event of the WSOP there was a sense of expectation.
Gavin has nothing to hang his head about. He outlasted 6,502 others to finish 96th. What Smith accomplished this year is rare and not an easy thing to do. Poker is a game of bluffs, folds, good calls, all-ins, pot calculations, odds calculations, reads, tells and gamesmanship. Your opponents are out to get your chips. You have to navigate through a poker minefield of tough flops, unfortunate turns and ‘cry me a rivers’.
“I feel like I played incredibly well,” says the Guelph, Ontario native. “The competition is so tough nowadays that you can’t lose your concentration for a second. I made some big laydowns, real big, and I was betting for value and was able to get paid off when I had it. I was able to get good reads on my opponents and I think that helped me play well for 6 long days.”
The World Series of Poker determines that years’ World Champion and as such organizers structure the format with long blind periods so the good players have more time to establish themselves. The longer structure favours the better player and Smith is better than most. He is an expert at ‘small ball’ poker, a technique used by top professional to keep their pots smaller against the weaker counterparts to reduce the luck factor and as a result the variance. The days are long too; 12 hours of poker a day over six days can make for a gruelling and sleep deprived journey.
“Like I say, a lot of things have to go right to stay in a tournament like this,” downplaying his own abilities. “You have to win the coin flips, have good table draws, good position, good cards and avoid tilt. I like to keep the table loose and have some fun. If you’re not having fun there is no sense playing.”
You can keep tabs on Gavin Smith on Twitter @olegsmith.
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Here is another item on Gavin Smith, I was working for the same online poker site that had just signed him to a new deal and I had him on the show:
Gavin Smith is one the best poker players in the world. Derrick Oliver of High Roller Radio was able to catch up with Smith, who’s won more than $5 million lifetime, at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas:
Gavin Smith Q & A
DO) You are known for your outgoing nature at the poker table, you’ve been known to talk quite a bit. Is that for fun? Or is there more to it? How strategic is your table talk?
GS) I’d say it’s a little bit of both. Let’s face it, it’s pretty boring to play poker for so long and just sit there, it’s a pretty miserable existence if you’re not having fun. Thing is, players give away a lot of information when they talk. They can give away the strength of their hand, whether or not they’re comfortable and they can also give away their motivation. If a guy says, “I qualified on a $100 satellite,” you can assume he likely wants to stick around for a while, maybe make the money, so you can play more aggressive against him. That kind of player is likely to lay down more hands.
DO) Fascinating stuff! That’s the sort of thing your regular, average player isn’t thinking about. How important is it for you to think like that, on another level?
GS) I think it’s important to think about everything while you’re at the table. If the best players in the world are taking everything in and you’re not, then you’re giving something up. Anytime you can find anything to your advantage you have to use that tool, especially nowadays with the fields getting tougher and tougher.
DO) Speaking of the tougher fields, what do you think the younger online kids are bringing to the game? How have they changed poker over the past couple of years?
GS) I think the biggest difference you see in poker is there’s a lot more variance. I mean, these kids are 3-betting, 4-betting, 5-betting, 6-betting you with nothing all the time. They’re forcing you to take a stance, to gamble a lot more than perhaps you’d like to, especially a guy like me who likes to play post-flop poker. Having said that, given the success they’ve had online you’d think a lot more of them would have had more success live. It just goes to show you how different each skill set is. It takes a hell of a player to be great at both.
DO) The WSOP is winding down. Can you take us back to 2010 when you landed your first gold bracelet? Can you describe for us what that was like? How big was that for you?
GS) I really love and appreciate the fact that I’ve won a gold bracelet. I’m finally off that stupid list of great players to have never won one. But here’s the thing, bracelets are hard to win. I mean, the fields are so large these days I don’t believe your career is defined by winning one. I play poker to support my family and for me it’s about the money. Realistically, I put the bracelet about 4th or 5th on my achievement list. It’s fantastic I own one and I’m thrilled I was able to do it but I still consider my greatest feat to be the ‘Player of the Year’ award in 2006. I’m part of a very exclusive list there, much more exclusive than the gold bracelet list.
Gavin Smith my friends. www.highrollerradio.net