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WSOP Updates - Spotlight Series - 1,001 Gavin Smith Stories

WSOP Updates - Spotlight Series - 1,001 Gavin Smith Stories 0001

If you have been following the "Spotlight Player" Series you know that part of my WSOP assignment is to follow Liz Lieu, Tony G. and Gavin Smith. While my fellow poker media buddies look for stories and cover final tables, I get to watch three great players and chat with them about the Series away from the tables. It's a nice gig. Having fun, talkative players at the final table is what every reporter hopes for. I get to follow one of the most loquacious players in poker any time I want. Here are some more highlights of what I have labeled the poker force that is: All Gavin, All the Time.

Early in the $2,000 NLHE Event (#27) I found Gavin in the nearly full Amazon Room at the Rio. He spotted me and said:

"I have virtually no chance today, Tim."
"What's wrong today, Gav?"
"I didn't drink last night and I got eight hours sleep. I have no idea how to play the game in this condition."

Gavin did not make it to the first break in event #27.


Two days later in another NLHE event, Gavin is playing 50%+ of the early hands and winning 80% of those. He looks down and says:

"Well these cards are my birthday, I have to play them."

I can just see the two others players in the hand. October 10th? (TT) December 12th? (QQ) August 15th? (??). On a flop of 974, Gavin bets out and both players fold. He laughs and tosses over his cards and says:

"September the Fourth boys, two pair."

I mention that strategy might not work for everyone.

"Why not?" Gavin asks.

"Well, for one thing, I was born on February 7th."

I think I may have found a genetic leak in my game.


Not all Gavin stories actually require Gavin to be present.

A few of us were heading out for an evening of poker at a yet to be named casino, when a player outside the Rio overheard us and offered that:

"You guys should play the Venetian. Great new room with a very good staff."

I introduced myself to Doug and asked about the Venetian and why he liked it so much. During the conversation his recent bust out from the Series event that day came up.

"I can't believe it. I had AJ and the flop comes AAJ, I get a raise from that Gavin guy, you know the one who is always so damn happy at the table. Well, he bets big, I push all-in, of course, and he calls with AK. Don't you know the King hits the river and he laughs. It was just awful, how does he do that? Don't print that, I never want to think about that hand again."

Sorry, Doug. Nice hand sir.


You might have caught one of my earlier articles on Tony G. and his "coaching" assignment at the Pro-Am event. Gavin was one of the three professionals who took on three online qualifiers for the one million dollar prize pool. Now that the show has aired I can tell you that Gavin took down the first place prize money of $500,000. As we sat in the Poker Dome audience viewing room, we all, and I mean all marveled at what a poker professional can do when they are at the top of their game. John Gale and Todd Brunson were playing well that night but somewhere about half way through the show it was like someone threw a switch and all of the energy and all of the plays were suddenly in just one seat and Gavin took over the table. It was fun to watch and even more fun not to be sitting at that table with my chips at risk.


There is an interesting prop bet brewing between Gavin, Phil Gordon, Josh Arieh and Robert Williamson III. . Each player gets to pick one "activity" for all to compete in. The bet was originally $2500 each, winner-take-all. Although at the table the other day, I heard Phil Gordon suggest the stakes be raised to $5,000 but this was while he was working out his first choice of golf as his selected activity. Phil could not decide how a prop bet on every shot (in the fairway, first on, longest putt etc.) would work into the overall prop bet. Phil has now changed his chosen activity to Karaoke with Marcel Luske serving as vocal coach and judge. Gavin had countered with penalty shots in roller blade hockey but once he realized that his opponents were 'two Atlanta boys and a Dallas guy', Gavin (Canadian born) has gone with penalty shots in ice hockey. The chosen "tasks" that Josh and Robert have selected will be reported as soon as available. Rumors are of Soduku, and marathon lap-dancing, but these may only be rumors.


My final Gavin story of the day involves an apology. In a previous article I said:

"Gavin Smith continues his verbal and playing assault on the World Series."

Gavin took exception to the term "verbal assault" and upon careful consideration I must admit that I have never seen nor heard Gavin assault anyone at the poker table. Except for that one time in Tunica and quite frankly that woman deserved it. She should never have poked anyone with her umbrella just for check-raising her river bluff. To his credit Gavin picked up all the medical bills both for the man on the rail who was bitten by the woman's Pomeranian and the player who spilled the hot coffee in his lap. I personally would like to say to that gentleman, once again sir, I was startled when that little rat dog jumped out of the ladies purse after she poked Gavin with the umbrella and I apologize once again for your scalding experience. If the lady on the rail had not shouted so loudly believing the dog to actually be a large rat, I would not have bumped your coffee and the nasty little ferret dog probably would not have bitten that nice Armenian man, who was only having an ice cream sandwich and watching some poker…. Well anyway, I seem to have gotten off track here. Sorry again Mr. Smith. More tomorrow and no dogs at the table, please.

Ed note: Still plenty of Poker Dome seats left to win for JUST A PENNY at Mansion Poker

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