This Cookie Don't Crumble: The Matt Graham Interview

It was clear that Graham was tired, but it was Jean-Robert Bellande who, at many times, looked like he wanted to crawl into a dark hole to disappear.

Another one of those "Internet guys," Graham took a shot at the Shootout and was more than pleasantly surprised at his results.

When the heads-up match started, Graham was in deep trouble. It was Bellande's mountain to Graham's mole hill, but Graham never gave up and kept betting and raising until the tides turned and the chips were shoveled in his direction. Graham held a press-conference style interview after his victory to discuss his win a little bit.

You went into the heads-up with a big chip deficit. What was going on in your mind?

I was really confident. I even told him [Jean-Robert Bellande] when we were three-handed and we were getting run over a little bit, "Keep playing like that. The difference between first and second is $70,000, but the difference between third and first is $180,000 so I think I'll go for that."

So you know I still had plenty of chips despite the deficit. The only time I lost a little confidence was when I dropped down to $300k. I lost several pots, just couldn't make a pair, got caught bluffing, and that was pretty desperation mode going there. I don't remember how it turned around but it did. I don't remember anything really.

Do you play a lot of Limit?


When I first started playing, I played a lot of low stakes - $5/$10, $10/$20. As I started playing more and more I started playing sit-and-gos. Now I play primarily No-Limit Hold'em.

You mentioned you only got two hours of sleep last night and you were running purely on adrenaline. Do you think it helps that you put in so many long sessions online?


Yeah, because I really don't have to think that much when I play. No matter how tired I am, I still kinda know what I'm gonna do and the way I'm gonna play my hand against different opponents.

Like online you become sort of a robot. I guess being sort of a robot helped because you don't have to think a lot to be a robot - but an effective robot, not a crappy robot!

How important is the bracelet to you?

Really important. It's awesome.

Earlier you were saying that you were so surprised to have made a final table and that you couldn't believe you did it on the last event before the Main Event.


The whole thing about making a final table is being happy because now I have an opportunity to win the final table. If I finished ninth and walked out of here I wouldn't be like, "Oh yeah, I made a final table of the last event." It's just because it gave me a chance to win it.

Would you have been disappointed with anything other than first?


Sure, I would've been a little disappointed, but coming in if you'd told me I'd get second or third ... You can't always win.

The rail was being pretty rowdy. Did that get to you?

No not really. I totally understand it. They started taunting me personally a little bit and then I said something and the guy shut up pretty quickly so it wasn't a big deal at all.

Who do you think was the toughest player?

There was a guy, Brandon Wong. He was really good. Brandon Wong is a really good Internet player and he showed it. You could tell he was good; he was tough. He never really got anything going, which was good.

Did you make a deal with the money?


Yeah. I had a little bit more than him and we agreed to chop, with me getting a few thousand more than an even chop. So we did split the money.

Do you think splitting the money gave you an advantage since the money pressure was off?


Not really. I just sort of wanted to ensure myself that extra $50,000. Pretty top-heavy structure and it's essentially a $50k heads-up match, which I would never do any other time, so why would I do it now?

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Matt obviously needed some sleep. The whole tournament was a blur to him but, in case he forgets in the morning, the bracelet on his wrist will serve as a reminder that he earned membership in a very exclusive club.

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