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Hinkle Sinks All: Young Gun Picks Up Bracelet
Grant Hinkle is the lesser-known brother of professional tournament player Blair Hinkle. Or at least that's how we would have described him a week ago. Now that Grant has picked up the second bracelet of the series by defeating British player James Akenhead heads-up in the $1,500 NLHE event, it's Blair who may find himself being referred to as the lesser-known of the two siblings.
Grant has secured a spot in WSOP history and folklore by taking down Event 2 of the WSOP 2008, and PokerListings.com caught up with the young American just after his win for a few words on his fantastic achievement.
Congratulations Grant, that was a really great result for you. You've just won the $1,500 WSOP title, nearly $850,000 in cash and of course one of the coveted bracelets. How do you feel right now?
I feel great! I'm pumped with adrenaline!
I'm not surprised! First off, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Sure. My name's Grant Hinkle. I'm a marketing professional from Missouri who came out here to play this event and ended up having the ride of my life!
To say the least. That final table heads-up was quite a roller-coaster , wasn't it?
It sure was...
You started out with the chip lead but James worked his way back in front. How did you feel at that point? Were you calm or did you get any jitters?
Yes, I was worried by that. James played a great game; he put lots of pressure on me, was three-betting me a ton. Even when I had the chip lead, he was not afraid at all, he kept coming over the top and I was not adjusting to that well at all.
It seemed like after the break you took a few more chances. What happened during the time out?
I spoke to my brother [Blair Hinkle], who's a professional poker player. Before then I had felt with the stack sizes and blinds that I was too deep to be re-shipping it in, but he said "Look, you have to make a stand," and we worked out a plan that the next time he three-bet me out of position, I was just going to move in, whatever I had.
The first time I did it he folded (I had Q-2 that time). We thought the second time would be even better as he wouldn't expect me to do it twice in a row, but he had A-K so of course he's always calling and then it was miracle flop, Suck-Out City, Quadzilla!
Ten-four suited's my new favorite hand!
Haha, I bet! You had quite a fan base out there supporting you. Tell us a little about them.
Yeah, a couple of coworkers came out here to sweat me; my brother was already here as he's playing all the events this week. And my mom jumped on a plane this morning and has been sweating me all day! They've been great support, they really helped me.
We've seen your brother play a lot on the tournament trail in the last couple of months. Was he a big inspiration for you to come out here and play this and what were some of the tips he gave you at different points in the tournament?
Well actually I think I inspired him to play poker to start! Once he got into it though, he started playing tons of tournaments, whereas I play mainly cash games, and he just turned into a monster in the tournaments.
I mean he's so aggressive, he keeps applying pressure and a lot of the things I'm talking to him about, different situations, it's hard to get comfortable with some of the stuff he's suggesting,
"Like really - I should really get it all-in with T-4s when I'm heads-up for the championship?"
And he says,"Yeah because he'll fold a lot, and when he doesn't you'll suck out!" and I'm like "OK then."
It seemed to work as I ended up hitting quads which is really unbelievable.
It was a pretty long day yesterday and today. How did you cope with the long days and did your stamina flag at any point?
Yeah both days were really long, yesterday we started at 2 p.m. and finished about 6 in the morning. It was pretty weird... people were going a bit loopy, laughing at things that weren't funny at all, like Perry Friedman. And today was another late one as we wrapped it up at 5:30 in the morning.
I don't play a ton of live tournaments so I think the adrenaline rush really helped me.
I know I was really nervous every time I came to the table and it took a few continuation bets and taking a few pots down to build the confidence up but definitely the adrenaline rush of the World Series helps you through all those long hours.
What kind of limits do you normally play?
I tend to play $30/$60, not high stakes, but like medium stakes. I think most of the field out there in an event like this are medium-stakes players, apart from obviously some of the big-name pros who play higher.
Speaking of big-name pros, what was it like playing with Chris "Jesus" Ferguson?
Chris was great. He coined himself "The Cockroach," as he could NOT be busted. Everyone tried and no one could do it. The second-to-last day, Day 2, he got down to $2,500 in chips with the blinds $4k/$8k and came all the way back doubling up, doubling up, tripling up and got back to a decent-size stack for the final table... and then at the end three-handed he was super short-stacked again and no one could knock him out!
He's a great player and it's really cool to play with someone you've seen on TV and seen play these huge tournaments and take them down with a high frequency.
You've just won $831,279... that's a lot of green stuff. What do you plan to do with that?
Well the first thing I want to do is invest it somewhere. My wife and I have been wanting to get a house somewhere so this represents a great opportunity so those are probably the first two things I'll look at. I'm going to set $10,000 aside for the Main Event and probably play some other events along the way.
That sounds really sensible... so you're not just going to blow it all on parties and strippers, huh?
No, no, I've got a family at home so I'm probably going to get it working for me as I'm spending it.
Well congratulations once more Grant on a fabulous achievement.
Thanks very much!