About Matt Graham
With little sleep the night before and not a lot of chips going into the final table, Matt Graham wasn't a favorite to win Event 53, the last tournament before the 2008 WSOP Main Event was set to begin.
But the young Internet pro proved his detractors wrong, conquering a final table that included another fearsome Internet player and eventual second-place winner Jean-Robert Bellande, a Survivor: China alum and poker pro.
Known primarily in the poker world for his online prowess, Graham has made a name for himself dominating high-stakes MTT leaderboards, taking down several prestigious online events at PokerStars as well as the PocketFives Triple Crown.
Matt got his start playing online low-stakes Limit games and eventually moved on to sit-and-gos and high-stakes tournaments. He began focusing on No-Limit Hold'em, and in 2005 he placed second in a WSOPC event. In 2006 he cashed for $34k in the WSOP Main Event, and 2007 saw him jump the WPT train, where he cashed in several major tournaments.
2008, however, was Graham's best year by far in terms of tournament play. He took 17th place in the Wynn Classic, scored a first-place win in a $2,000 event at the World Poker Open in Reno, and cashed five times at the WSOP - including his remarkable bracelet win.
Graham had rarely played shoot-outs before entering Event 53, and the grueling eight hours it took to play down to the final table left most participants desperate for a break. Not Graham, though. With years of online tournaments under his belt, he was used to playing through the night.
Play wore on till the early morning, and eventually Graham and Bellande were the last men standing. With a 2-1 chip lead and an impressive cheering squad at the rail, Bellande was considered a shoo-in. But Graham persevered and turned the tide on his opponent.
They agreed to chop the pot, with the winner taking several hundred thousand more than second place, and play continued. At 7:20 a.m., a winner finally emerged when Graham's A-J held against Bellande's 9-7.
The young gun took home more than $275k for his win and his first WSOP bracelet.
|89||$2,957.00||WSOP 2012 - Event 47 - $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Low 8 or Better|
|229||$2,080.00||WSOP 2011 - Event 45 - $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em|
|19||$17,145.00||WSOP 2011 - Event 28 - $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em|
|92||$23,500.00||EPT Season 6 - PokerStars Caribbean Adventure|
|1||$679,379.00||2009 WSOP - Event 40 - $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Championship|
|5||$56,059.00||WSOPC Season 5 - Caesars Palace Las Vegas|
|1||$278,180.00||2008 WSOP - Event 53, Limit Hold'em Shootout|
|34||$10,922.00||2008 WSOP - Event 4, Mixed Hold'em|
|31||$23,162.00||2008 WSOP - Event 1, World Championship Pot-Limit Hold'em|
|17||$22,189.00||2008 Special - Wynn Classic|
|21||$35,126.00||WPT Season 6 - World Poker Finals|
|22||$13,115.00||WPT Season 6 - Mandalay Bay Poker Championship|
|13||$13,870.00||2006 WSOPC - Harrah's Rincon|
|21||$17,137.00||WPT Season 5 - World Poker Open|
|319||$34,636.00||2006 WSOP - Event 39, No-Limit Texas Hold'em World Championship Event|