PokerListings.com is the world's largest and most trusted online poker guide, offering the best online poker bonus deals guaranteed, over $1m in exclusive freerolls every year and the most free poker content available on the Web.
Gavin Griffin Speaks with PL.com
Gavin Griffin first came to PL.com's attention in 2004 when he became the youngest player to ever win a WSOP bracelet. Although that record has since been broken, Griffin has gone on to bigger and better things. Just last year he did the Americas proud when he outlasted one of the toughest fields ever assembled, winning the EPT Grand Final and snatching the title from the gaping maw of Europe.
Griffin is here at Borgata and in great shape to make a run at this final table. He started Day 3 as the chip leader and despite a few bumps along the way, finished among the big stacks with more than $1 million. When the dust had settled and the chips had been bagged Gavin took a few moments to give us his side of the story.
Gavin, you came into the day as the leader but there was a short time [during which] it seemed you might be at risk. Give us a quick look at how your day went.
I felt like I played really well today. I started off with like $560,000 and basically didn't win a pot until I was down to like $120,000. Then I got it in with pocket kings and doubled. Then I was able to pick up the stray chips and win with my good hands, all the stuff I try to do. I ended up with a little more than a million.
So you're in a good spot going into tomorrow.
Yeah, this next jump in blinds is one of the biggest in the tournament so I think in that first level tomorrow we might lose like five or six of the 27.
Speaking of the blind structure, it's been a really deep tournament. A slow structure is obviously an advantage to the better players but is there a point where it becomes too deep?
Well, I love any tournament with a good structure. It certainly suits my game. It's never really an issue of the tournament becoming too long or anything. This event is five days and that's become sort of the standard. I did feel a little swamped at the beginning of the tournament though. With such small blinds it almost seemed like too many chips to deal with. You have to take that into account and adjust to it.
Is that adjustment something you see inexperienced players failing to make?
I think the good players definitely take advantage of it. I think a lot of people without as much experience don't really understand how many chips they actually have. For example, someone loses a $10k pot in the first level and suddenly they think they're short-stacked with $20,000. With blinds of $25/$50 you'd still have four hundred big blinds so losing $10k there isn't the end of the world.
The EPT Grand Final was a super-deep event but you've had some experience with the standard EPT blind structure. It's a bit more aggressive than the WPT so do you think there's any value in a structure that forces players to make decisions earlier?
Yeah, I think that's why online players tend to do really well on the EPT. The structure's a lot more similar to online tournaments so players like Dario Minieri and all these really good online tournament players who understand stack size and stack-to-blind relationships have an advantage.
There was one hand in particular I watched you play earlier against Rick Rossetti and I hoped to get your input. He opened the pot before the flop but you were able to take it away from him with a big bet on the river. Take us through that hand and give us an idea what you were thinking.
Is he still in the tournament?
OK then, I can talk about it. He had about $350,000 if I remember correctly, with blinds of $6,000/$12,000, and he made it like $34,000 or something. I smooth-called with pocket threes and the flop came down Q-J-5 with two hearts. He checked and I was pretty much ready to give up on the hand so I checked behind. The turn was the 4♦ and he bet $45,000. I was still ready to give up but I really felt that he felt he had to bet there, like he would just be leaving chips out there if he didn't bet.
So I raised to $105,000 which was a small raise, and he thought for quite a while. Once he thought for so long on the turn and then called I really felt I would win the pot with a big bet on the river. So he checked to me and I bet $205,000 on the river and he folded relatively quickly.
What sort of hand did you put him on there?
I thought he could have like A-T, two big cards that missed but still had some sort of draw.
One last question: How comfortable are you at this stage of the tournament and what's your mind-set going into the playdown to the final table?
Well, my goal is to make to the final table and win the tournament. It was funny actually, when we were at 29 there was someone at my table who was saying how we had to lose two more. I was being kind of a smart-ass but I said no, we have to lose 28 more. But I was actually serious. That's all I really think about, what's going to put me in a position to win this tournament.
Thanks Gavin and good luck tomorrow.
* * * * * * * * * * *
With a WSOP bracelet and the highest ranking EPT title already in the bag, a WPT win would round out Griffin's portfolio nicely. There's no shortage of talent left in this field though so there might be a few individuals with something to say about his plans to take it down. Tune in to PL.com over the next few days as we follow Gavin, and everyone else in this event, to an eventual champion.