Tuesday January 15, 2019 at 7:13 pm

Canadian poker pro Gavin Smith passed away in his sleep at the age of 50. Smith won a WPT title at the Mirage in 2005 and won his first WSOP bracelet in 2010. Smith banked over $6.3 million in tournaments. The magnanimous Smith was an integral part of Poker Road Radio during the peak of the online poker boom. Smith is currently ranked #11 on the all-time Canada money list.

gavinspider2006
Gavin Smith and Joe Sebok (as Spiderman) at the 2006 WSOP in Las Vegas. (Image by Pauly McGuire, Tao of Poker)

At one pivotal point in time and space, Gavin Smith crashed the poker party in 2005 and for a short period he was one of the top no-limit tournament players in the world. Very few players can ever achieve that distinction, but if you played poker against Smith in 2005, he probably ran right over the table with his mouth and his chips. Gavin Smith was a serious shit-talker but because he was a Canadian, he got a pass and everyone thought it was more fun and endearing than your typical table braggard. The majority of poker tournaments are dull affairs with much ado about nothing the majority of the time… unless you had Gavin Smith at your table. Then you'd have to buckle up for a wild ride. One minute you're in tears laughing your ass off, another there's a round of drinks for the table, and in another flash Gavin Smith is raking in your chips and shaking your hand after he sent you to the rail with nothing except a free drink and a heck of story to tell about the time you played with a poker boom legend.

Todd Brunson confirmed the news of Gavin Smith's passing. Brunson posted about the tragic news on his social media feed when he posed with a group of friends with greyhounds. They toasted to Gavin Smith, who had an affinity for vodka and grapefruit juice. Smith roamed this planet for 50 years and during his adventures he amassed $6.3 million playing tournaments.

If you've been in poker long enough, you have a few Gavin Smith stories and all of them are equally hysterical as the rest. In a world of malcontents, Gavin Smith was often the proverbial life of the party. Didn't matter if you had a good or bad work day, Smith was always ready to have fun. The poker biz got super serious over the years and lot of the fun got squeezed out of the mix. Whenever Gavin Smith sat down at a table, you knew the action would pick up. The endless talker knew how to loosen up a table. And if the chatty banter didn't work, he'd order a round of cocktails for the table.

Gavin Smith is a working class hero (and former cab driver), which is why he will always be a popular pro among the poker media. Many pros have a holier than thou attitude, but Smith never forgot his roots as a former poker dealer turned pro. Smith took care of the press. Food. Booze. Laughter. You name it.

In the film Almost Famous, Lester Bangs advised a young Cameron Crowe that “You should never make friends with the rockstars!” Many of us made an exception for Gavin Smith. He didn't care about who you were or where you came from. At the end of a long day at a poker tournament, Gavin Smith could be found at the bar closest to the poker room drinking with the media and fans alike.

“That was our boy,” said Amy Calistri, who covered the rise of Gavin Smith from local grinder from the early days at Foxwoods in the Northeast to his meteoric run in Vegas in 2005.

Gavin Smith was an important team member of Poker Road Radio. Gavin and Joe Sebock co-hosted a show while they played on the poker circuit. The Poker Road crew recorded onsite at various casinos and hotels all over the country. During the summers, you could find Gavin sitting in the Poker Road Radio booth in the hallway at the Rio.

For a nine-year period between 2004 and 2012, Smith cashed for at least six-figures every year. He banked $112K in 2004 including a 52nd place finish at the WSOP Main Event. Smith caught lightning in a bottle in 2005 and followed up his breakout year with back-to-back seven-figure cashes. In 2005-06, Smith won over $3 million. His last big year on the circuit occurred in 2012 when he cashed for $355K.

Gavin Smith took the poker world by storm in 2005. As the story goes, he won a $2K side even at the Mirage for $155K. He wanted to ride the rush and keep his hot streak alive, so he bought into the $10K WPT Mirage Poker Showdown. This was during the fourth season of the WPT and at the peak of its popularity. Gavin became an overnight star with his victory after he faded 317 entries and shipped the event for $1.1 million. Gavin outlasted a final table that included Eugene Todd, Chris Bell, Ted Forrest, and Thang Pham.

If you ever had a drink with him, he'd gladly tell you the story about a super-paranoid drive home with $1 million in the trunk of his car.

Gavin Smith became a member of Team Full Tilt as one of their first batch of sponsored red pros. Pretty much every photo of Smith from 2005-2011 has him wearing a backwards Full Tilt cap.

In October 2005, Smith final tabled another WPT event at the WPT Bellagio (Doyle Brunson North American Poker Championship). Minh Ly would go on to beat Dan Harrington heads-up for the title. Gavin busted in third place.

In 2006, Gavin Smith started off the year with a bang in Mississippi. He made an appearance at the final table of the Gold Strike World Poker Open in Tunica. If you drive south of Memphis into northern Mississippi, you'll find Tunica, which would become the hotbed for poker every January. These days, the circuit regulars are in the Bahamas or down under at the Aussie Millions, but in the early 2000s, Tunica is where all the rounders, grinders, and degens ended up for a couple of weeks.

A couple months later, Gavin Smith headed to the South once again. He rolled up to New Orleans and nearly won a WSOP Circuit event. Peter 'Nordberg' Feldman beat Smith heads-up for the title and ring. Smith banked $293K for a runner-up share. He finished 2006 with a cool million in cashes.

Most sponsored poker pros did whatever they could to weasel out of appearances, photo shoots, interviews, and charity events. Gavin Smith always showed up to charity events. Didn't matter if it was in Las Vegas or somewhere in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania, the kind-hearted Gavin Smith was there to donate his time and money.

Like all good Canadians, Gavin Smith played hockey as a kid. He often joked about how the size of his head would be the source of fisticuffs. One enforcer in particular took a disliking to Gavin and tried to engage him in a fight. Gavin knew he was outmatched and did his best to avoid him. Until the bully yelled, "Hey pumpkinhead! You wanna go?" And with that taunt, Gavin dropped his gloves and threw down.

Las Vegas has too many vices and even the top pros succumb to the dark side. For Smith, his biggest issue was the bottle. He often joked that as a Canadian, drinking was in his blood as a national past time. He made effort to curtail his drinking at different stages of his life. When he cut back substantially in 2010, he saw immediate results by winning his first-ever WSOP bracelet. He faded a field of 507 runners and took down a $2,500 mixed game title for $268K.

Gavin Smith's last significant cash occurred at the 2012 WPT Montreal. He final tabled the event and finished in fourth place for $211K.

Smith spent time in Alaska before he relocated to the Houston area. He is survived by two children.

Chops from Wicked Cops Poker summed it up in a tweet, "Gavin Smith maybe didn't always do the right thing--but he really, really wanted to. One of the few genuine force of nature personalities I ever met. Lived his life in big ways. Loved his boys. Someone you really rooted for."

Latest news
Monday August 19, 2019 at 3:16 am
Lucas Zaskodny wins partypoker LIVE EUROPE Main Event

The 2019 partypoker LIVE EUROPE Main Event has come to a close. Czech Republic's Lucas Zaskodny outlasted 504 players to win a cool million (USD) or €906,770 per terms of his heads-up deal with Josef Snejberg. French pro Romain Lewis took third place. Team partypoker pro Roberto Romanello, Sam Grafton and Charlie Carrel also made the final table in RozVegas.

Wednesday August 14, 2019 at 10:37 pm
Orpen Kisacikoglu wins Triton Super High Roller at partypoker LIVE MILLIONS Europe

Turkey's Orpen Kisacikoglu outlasted a field of 32 runners to take down the Triton Super High Roller €100K at the partypoker LIVE MILLIONS Europe event in RozVegas. The €100K final table also included partypoker Pro Kristen Bicknell, Vladimir Troyanovksiy, Ben Heath, Wai Kin Yong, and Cary Katz. Kisacikoglu banked a cool million in Euros.

Wednesday August 7, 2019 at 2:26 pm
Wai Kin Yong wins Triton Series £100,000 NL Main Event in London

The 2019 Triton Super High Roller Series London continued with the £100,000 NL Main Event championship. The Main Event attracted a record-smashing 130 runners. The tough final table included Jungleman, Stephen Chidwick, Michael Chi Zhang, Sam Greenwood, Mike Soyza, Ben Heath, Paul Phua, and Wai Kin Wong. The top two chopped, but Wai Kin Yong eventually defeated Phua heads up for the title and the cash for £2,591,695 or approximately $3.15 million USD.

Sunday August 4, 2019 at 6:21 pm
Aaron Zang wins Triton Million for Charity in London

Aaron Zang won the richest tournament in the history of poker when he defeated Bryn Kenney heads up and overcame a 5-1 deficit to win the million dollar buy-in 2019 Triton Million in London. Zang and Kenney made a heads-up deal, so Kenney actually banked more as a second-place finisher with nearly £16.9 million. With over $55.5 million in earnings, Kenney took over first place in the all-time money winner list according to Hendon Mob.

Saturday August 3, 2019 at 12:27 pm
Vivek Rajkumar leads final table at 2019 Triton Million London

After two long days of action, the £1,050,000 buy-in Triton Million is down to its final table. Vivek Rajkumar leads the final eight that also includes Stephen Chidwick, Tim Adams, Bryn Kenney, Alfred DeCarolis, Aaron Zang, Dan Smith, and Bill Perkins. First place pays out £19 million in this charity event that raised £2.7 million for a Helping Hand Charity.

Thursday August 1, 2019 at 4:41 pm
Triton Million London live stream

The 2019 Triton High Roller Series in London features the Million for Charity, a £1,050,000 million buy-in event with portion of the pool set aside for charity. Day 1 is underway in this invite only event with a mix of high-stake rec players and high-stakes ballers. This event had 54 players with only the top 11 places getting paid out and £19,000,000 to first place. At least £2.7 million got raised for charity.

Monday July 29, 2019 at 4:24 pm
RIP Mad Marty Wilson

The poker community, especially in Great Britain and Europe, is saddened at the loss of one of the biggest characters in the game. Mad Marty Wilson made a splash on television poker in the UK around the turn of the century, which helped usher in a British poker boom. Wilson passed away on Friday after a six-month bout with cancer.

Friday July 26, 2019 at 2:09 pm
Roger Teska wins 2019 WPT Gardens Poker Festival

The new season of the World Poker Tour kicked off with the WPT Gardens Poker Fest at the Gardens Casino outside of Los Angeles. This year's $5K buy-in event attracted 373 runners and a prize pool worth $1.75 million. The final table included Cord Garcia, Andy Wisdom, Roger Teska, Lior Orel, Lars Kamphues, and Laszlo Molnar. Maria Ho missed the final table by a couple of spots when she busted in eighth place. Roger Teska rallied from a huge heads-up deficit to defeat Laszlo Molnar and win the WPT Gardens. Teska banked $368K.

Thursday July 25, 2019 at 12:51 am
Dan Bilzerian on True Gordie: Shrooms, LAG, and Instagram Sexcapades

The latest episode of True Gordie Podcast featured Instagram star and poker player Dan Bilzerian. He normally hates interviews but sat down with True Gordie to discuss life as an Instagram baller and fleecing some rich dude for $50-plus million because his opponent thought he was a dumb trust fund kid.

Monday July 22, 2019 at 9:11 pm
2019 WSOP Player of Year: Robert Campbell Leads, Shaun Deeb in Second

The 2019 World Series of Poker is complete and Australian pro Robert Campbell is leading the Player of the Year race over last year's champ Shaun Deeb. Deeb is second overall with ten more events schedule for this October at the 2019 WSOP Europe at the King's Casino in RozVegas. Dan Zack, Daniel Negreanu, and Phil Hui round out the top 5 in the POY.

Thursday July 18, 2019 at 4:56 pm
Chris Moneymaker and David Oppenheim inducted into 2019 Poker Hall of Fame

The 2019 World Series of Poker announced the newest class of inductees into the Hall of Fame. Chris Moneymaker and David Oppenheim got nods this year. They were the only two recognized on a ballot of ten possible candidates that also included Antonio Esfandiari, Huck Seed, David Chiu, Eli Elezra, Jesus Ferguson, Ted Forrest, and Mike Matusow.

Wednesday July 17, 2019 at 9:18 am
Breaking News
Germany's Hossein Ensan wins 2019 WSOP Main Event and $10 million

The 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event Championship concluded at the Rio Casino when Germany's Hossein Ensan defeated Italy's Dario Sammartino heads up to win $10,000,000 and the coveted Main Event bracelet. Three players began Day 10 with Ensan holding a sizable lead. Canada's Alex Livingston busted in third place for a $4 million score. After 101 hands of heads-up action, Sammartino banked $6 million for a runner-up consolation prize. Ensan, 55, became the oldest Main Event Champ since Noel Furlong in 1999.

Tuesday July 16, 2019 at 6:55 am
2019 WSOP Main Event: Hossein Ensan leads final three with 326M

The 2019 WSOP Main Event continued with Day 9 action that saw the returning five players play down to the final three. Germany's Hossein Ensan began the day with the big stack and by the end of Day 9, he retained the lead with 375M. On Day 9, Chicago Cubs superfan Kevin Maahs busted in fifth place and Garry Gates got picked off in fourth place. Alex Livingston is second in chips, while Italian pro Dario Sammartino is the short stack. They return on Tuesday to play down to a champion.

Monday July 15, 2019 at 6:07 am
2019 WSOP Main Event: Hossein Ensan leads with 5 to go

The 2019 WSOP Main Event final table played down from nine to five players on the first of three days of action. Two players busted in the first 11 hands and four players were eliminated overall including Zhen Cai, Nick Marchington, Tim Su, and Milos Skrbic. At the end of Day 8, Hossein Ensan continued to hold the lead with 207.7 million, while Garry Gates was not far behind with 171.7 million.

Sunday July 14, 2019 at 3:33 pm
2019 WSOP: Keith Tiltson wins 100K High Roller; Negreanu 2nd

Daniel Negreanu cashed in his 15th event this summer and advanced to his fourth final table, but he fell short in his quest for bracelet #7 when Keith Tiltson defeated him heads up to win 2019 WSOP Event #83 $100,000 High Roller for a sensational score worth $2,792,406. Tiltson made a pair of final tables in the final week of the 2019 WSOP with a sixth place finish a couple days earlier in the FINAL FIFTY. Meanwhile, Negreanu launched a late assault on the WSOP Player of the Year race.

Free tournaments and added prizes

The Club Poker organizes freerolls and special tournaments with added prizes.
To qualify for free, register on our poker partners websites:

Tournaments Club Poker
6-MAX
$2.20
Big Poker League
Thursday August 22, 2019 at 7:04 pm
$125 added
6-MAX
$2.20
Big Poker League
Thursday August 29, 2019 at 7:04 pm
$125 added