Gavin Smith - Local Boy Bets Good!

Gavin Smith
Gavin Smith, North American Poker Championship - Day 1a

With almost $4 million in career tournament earnings and a WPT Player of the Year title nobody is going to argue that Gavin Smith is not one of the world's best poker players. But he's also one of Canada's best poker players.

So, since has made the trip to the Great White North to cover the WPT North American Poker Championship here in the shadow of some massive waterfalls and a whole street full of wax museums and haunted houses, we figured we'd have a little chat with Birdguts.

Gavin, you're coming off a ninth-place finish at the U.S. Poker Championships in AC. You must be feeling pretty good about your game these days.

I'm on top of my game right now, ninth at the U.S. Poker Championship, did well [at] Turks and Caicos, I went deep and I was just short of the money. I just won a pretty good Poker After Dark table we just taped last week. It was myself, David Oppenheim, Erick Lindgren, Daniel Negreanu, Doyle Brunson and Phil Ivey, so I feel like I'm playing pretty well right now, but I am having a pretty rough day today.

Understandable; we watched as you laid down aces to a pretty ballsy bluff from one player.

Gavin Smith
Tough lay down.

I've got a history with him. We used to play together years and years ago. I thought it was most likely he had a queen and he would bluff off a whole lot of chips to me on the turn. He just happened to hit the one card that was going to let him win the pot. It happens, but it's really no big deal.

Being from Guelph, Ontario, just up the road from Niagara Falls, is there any added pressure to do well in what is almost your hometown?

I'd love to do well here. This is probably in the top three tournaments for me where I'd like to do well. But I wouldn't say there's a lot more pressure. I put a lot of pressure on myself in every tournament I play in.

I have some friends showing up and that kind of stuff but I'm pretty good at when it's time to play, blocking all that stuff out.

If we're talking pressure, we have to talk a little WSOP 2007. Everybody knows you want a bracelet pretty badly and you are widely considered one of the best players in the game not to have one. It must have been tough not to win the $1,500 Pot-Limit Hold'em tournament this year coming in to the final table with a decent chip lead.

Gavin Smith
This close to a bracelet.

I don't think I think about it all that much. I mean, I really want a bracelet, but all you can do is put yourself in a position to win and try to play your best. I feel like in that particular tournament I went into the final table first in chips and I held the chip lead until we got heads-up. At that point I feel like I played really well; I also feel like Michael Spiegel played really well. But at the end of the day he got the better cards heads-up and it's hard to win when that happens.

Fans of the game are always amazed at all the prop betting you do Gavin. Any chance we'll see someone going over the falls in a barrel to take some of your cash this year?

I got nothing going so far, but you never know what will happen.

Gavin Smith
Insert prop bet here.

Seriously though, prop bets can be fun, but you have to draw the line at putting someone's life at risk. Everyone talks about the Mark Seif and Sean McCabe bet that never happened in Turks and Caicos regarding McCabe spending 24 hours in chest-high water. That doesn't sound too safe.

Ya but he's a certified diver, a fitness buff and he was convinced he could do it. You'd obviously have to be in good shape to do that. Listen, I wouldn't agree to a bet myself or make someone do a bet where I really thought for sure they could come to some kind of physical harm. The closest we came was when Erick (Lindgren) did the four rounds of golf in the (Las Vegas) heat in the summer, but we were there at all times to make sure that if anything went wrong we could pull him off the course right away.

Seriously, I'm not looking to get hurt or to see anyone get hurt.

Gavin is such a nice guy no one would ever accuse him of wanting to see someone get hurt. It was a tough day at the tables for him, however, as he barely survived to make it to Day 2 of the event. Here's hoping this prop-betting nice guy can have a decent showing here in his own backyard.

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