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Brit Sam Grafton started out as a poker fan but he's worked his way up to become one of the most successful poker pros in the UK. Grafton has earned more than $2.1 million playing tournaments online under the name TheSquid, and now he's at the World Series of Poker trying to make a name for himself as a live player. We spoke to Grafton and he told us how much the history and heritage of the game means to him.
I first started playing poker live. I used to play £10 re-buy in a snooker hall and gamble it up with my friends there. Just got into it by sort of recreationally more than the social aspect being around my mates and having a few beers. I realised like the excitement that could come with playing poker and getting better and improving. Started to play online and that's how I've sort of made a name for myself.
Now I'm really excited to be moving into the live arena, that's the next step. It's almost like it's come full circle. Started like playing live, moved online, and now hopefully I'll have some success at the World Series.
I definitely have an awareness of the history and the heritage of the game. I was a poker fan first and foremost. When I first started playing, I used to watch the World Series on TV. So when I get the chance to sit down with someone that I admire, either through playing and battling with them online or watching them on TV, that's something that's another rewarding aspect to playing live and playing the World Series.
Particularly in the case of playing with like say T.J. Cloutier. He's obviously from a completely different generation. So we both play the same game but we approach it from two completely different perspectives. I've played thousands of hours online but he's played thousands of hours sort of live in the 70s and 80s. And so you know, when he tells you a story, I think you should sit back and listen really. He just had a little phrase or a little saying for every particular thing.
One of the things with the older generation is they're not afraid to chat at the table, not afraid to chat during hands. They don't feel they gotta sit with their hoodie up or their iPhone. You know, you're going to be focused when you're playing a hand. But at the same time, that doesn't mean you can't be pleasant and have an enjoyable experience with the people around you.