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Alliterations Abound: Canadian Cory Carroll is Champion!
Despite being a professional player for a number of years, Cory Carroll came into this tournament a virtual unknown. That has all changed now that he's taken down first place and the $506,000 that goes with it. The biggest win of his career, Cory was stunned after the final hand was finished.
Cory played a solid game at the final table and used his chip lead well throughout. Letting his opponents get themselves in questionable situations, Cory picked them off as well as taking down many a pot by virtue of his aggressive style. When it was all over we sat down at the recently vacated final table to go through the tournament from his point of view.
Congratulations Cory. Let's start by talking a bit about the final table. You started the day as the chip leader and you were never in much danger. Give us your feelings on how you ran, how your opponents played, and what it took to go the distance here tonight.
Also David Pham was three seats to my left and he had a pretty big stack so I was a little worried about him. When the two of them exited early I really felt like I would be able to take control of the table and that I had an edge on everyone that was left.
Were you surprised to see the three big names, David Pham, Steve Wong and Chad Brown, hit the rail so early? It seemed like none of them were much of a force at the table today.
I was, Chad was short from the beginning though. He didn't have much too work with so it wasn't too much of a surprise. The other two, they had a lot of chips, but I guess they just picked the wrong spots. It was surprising. I was expecting to have to battle one of them deep in the tournament so I guess I was pretty lucky that they were both gone that quickly.
Did you find your opponents to be too loose or too tight? Or too passive or aggressive?
Well I didn't find anyone to be too aggressive to tell you the truth. There was a lot of limping going on and stuff like that; I definitely thought I was the most aggressive player at the table. That's usually my game plan at any tournament, just get the chips in and see what happens, pick up blinds.
But I was surprised at how passive a lot of them were. Maybe the amount of money got to them and that was why they tightened up a bit too much. But Justin [Pechie] played really well. When he doubled up a few times it was worrisome.
How did you feel about facing Justin heads-up compared to some of the other players at the table you may have had to face?
He's the last person I wanted to play heads-up. Early in the final table he got really low and was all-in a couple times where he would have been eliminated if he lost. I felt like if he was knocked out I really could win the tournament. But he won them and stayed alive and started building chips so I though that he might be a problem.
Out of the remaining five players or whatever at that point he was definitely the last person I wanted to face. But going into heads-up I still felt very comfortable. I like playing heads-up.
Let's talk a bit about your background. What role does poker play in your life and how did you get into the game?
I'm from Halifax, Nova Scotia and I've been playing for about five years now. I've always liked to gamble, even in high school, so I went into the casino about five years ago and sat down at a $5/$10 table and just took it from there. Pretty soon I was playing like forty or fifty hours a week.
Was it always no-limit?
No, I started off as a limit player and then once I started playing online I converted to no-limit and multis and stuff like that.
So do you make your living playing right now?
I've been making my living playing for about four and a half years. The first six months were pretty dicey, I was a break-even player at best, but the last four years have gone really well. Poker's always gone well but some of the other aspects of gambling not so much.
Well $500,000 is life changing money for almost anyone so how is this win going to affect your life going forward?
I don't know. I'm not going to get too worked up about it but it's definitely nice to have the extra cash and I'll try to put this money to better use than I have some previous large sums of money. You know, I'll stay on the tournament circuit for a couple more months down here and hopefully some more good things will happen. Then I'll just go home and relax for a while.
So living in Canada, are you going to have to pay taxes on this win?
In Canada gambling winnings are technically tax-free until you've shown a long-term profit, which is kind of dicey. I've never claimed it as my profession in Canada because four years is still a relatively short time and you never know what's going to happen in the future. I think if the next few years go well I'll have to re-evaluate things and maybe file differently.
So are we going to see you at the World Series of Poker this year? You already have a seat reserved for the Main Event.
Yeah, I'll be playing a few events. Since I won the seat I guess I'll have to stick around (laughs).
Congratulations again Cory and we look forward to seeing more of you.
* * * * * * * * * * *
Cory played a smart game and seemed comfortable and in control the entire time. Despite having to face Justin Pechie, a formidable opponent, during heads-up play, Cory stayed cool and collected from beginning to end.
Having been playing as a professional for a number of years it was only a matter of time before he scored big in one of these events. We'll be keeping an eye on Cory at tournaments to come and we're confident that this was not a one-shot deal.
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