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
Wednesday April 17, 2019 at 2:19 am
Maria Ho 2nd in chips at WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown final table

After four days of action in Hollywood, Florida, the $3,500 buy-in WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown played down from 1,360 to a final table. James Carroll leads the final six and Maria Ho is not far behind as second overall in chips. The WPT SHRPO final table will be delayed for six-plus weeks and played out on May 30 at the HyperX eSports Arena at the Luxor in Las Vegas. First place pays out $715K.

Monday April 15, 2019 at 7:47 pm
Las Vegas Rumors: Rio Casino sold and imploded for baseball stadium or train station

The Rio Casino in Las Vegas has been on the block for a while now. The latest rumor coming out of Sin City suggests that Virgin Trains bought the Rio and will turn the site into a train station for the express train running Los Angeles to Las Vegas. The previous rumor suggested that the Rio would be leveled to build a baseball stadium for a future expansion team. If either of these rumors are true, then the 50th anniversary of the WSOP might be the last to be played out at the Rio Casino.

Thursday April 11, 2019 at 7:04 pm
Las Vegas pro sportsbettor James Holzhauer sets Jeopardy! single-game record

James Holzhauer set the single-game record on Jeopardy! this week with a score worth $110,914. Holzhauer, a professional sportsbettor from Las Vegas, plays an unorthodox style. He bounced around the board to effectively hunt Daily Doubles and went all-in to double up whenever he had the opportunity. Purists might loathe his aggressive hunting methods, but he's made quite the name for himself in a short time. Holzhauer banked over $244,000 in only four matches and he rocketed into the Top 10 in all-time Jeopardy! winnings.

Wednesday April 10, 2019 at 7:57 pm
 Phil Hellmuth and Rob Yong to play heads-up for $500,000

Phil Hellmuth, who won more WSOP bracelets than anyone else in history, will be taking on Dusk till Dawn owner Rob Yong in a heads-up challenge. The two will be playing five heads-up battles with $100,000 on the line in each match. Yong is also a high-stakes player who thinks that the 15-time bracelet winner has no chance against him.

Monday April 8, 2019 at 7:22 pm
Patrik Antonious wins Patrik Antonius Poker Challenge tournament

Patrik Antonius, the greatest to player to hail from Finland, took down the PAPC €10,000 Championship Event, which happened to be named the Patrik Antonius Poker Challenge (PAPC). The Olympic Park Casino in Tallin, Estonia hosted the event, which attracted 20 runners. Antonius outlasted them all to win €78,100 or approximately $88K USD. Antonus picked off Joni Jouhkimainen heads up for the title.

Wednesday April 3, 2019 at 6:23 am
Asher Conniff wins WSOP Circuit Bally's for $193K score

Asher Conniff outlasted a field of 607 runners at the $1,700 buy-in WSOP Circuit Main Event at Bally's Casino in Las Vegas. Conniff's came into the final table with the chip lead and he fended off all challengers. The final table also included Justin Young, Joshua Suyat, Stan Webb, William Wolf, James Fricker, Simon Deadman, and Dan Park. Conniff knocked out Hawaii's Josh Suyat for the title and circuit ring. Conniff banked $193,147 for the victory.

Tuesday April 2, 2019 at 3:45 am
Martin Kabrhel win WSOP International Circuit Rozvadov Main Event

Martin Kabhrel won the 2019 WSOP International Circuit Rozvadov Main Event at the King's Casino in RozVegas. Kabhrel faded a field of 650 runners to win his fifth overall WSOP Circuit ring. He banked €190,000 for first place. Kabhrel loves playing at the King's Casino. He also won bracelets at the last two WSOP Europe events in RozVegas.

Friday March 29, 2019 at 11:08 pm
Uri Gilboa wins EPT Sochi Main Event for estimated $420,000

Uri Gilboa made history. The Israeli became the first player from his country to win a title on the European Poker Tour. Gilboa faded a field of 758 runners to win the EPT Sochi Main Event in Sochi, Russia. First place paid out 27,475,000 Rubles, or approximately $420,000 USD. Israel finished first and second place in Sochi. Zakhar Babaev took down second for nearly $250K USD.

Thursday March 28, 2019 at 10:33 pm
Breaking News
HOT !
West Virginia becomes fifth U.S. state to legalize online poker

Online poker returns to the Mountain State. It's only a matter of time before West Virginia residents can play legalized online poker within its mountainous borders. West Virginia became the fifth state in America to legalize online poker since Black Friday 2011. It has been a slow process brining online poker back to American poker players, but West Virginia took a bold step forward with the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act.

Thursday March 28, 2019 at 8:34 pm
HOT !
partypoker introduces SHORTDECK cash games

The newest live poker craze, the action-inducing Short-Deck Hold'em, has now become a part of everyday life in the online poker world. partypoker is the latest online poker operator to introduce Shortdeck cash games to their platform. The 36-card deck variant of old-school Hold'em is insanely popular in Asia and has become a staple among high rollers all over the world. SHORTDECK games are up and running on partypoker now.

Monday March 25, 2019 at 3:33 am
American Martin Mathis wins partypoker LIVE MILLIONS South America

The partypoker LIVE MILLIONS South America played down to a champion at the Copacabana Palace Hotel in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Bruno Volkmann headed into the final table with the chip lead. The other finalists also included Matas Cimbolas, Sam Gagnon, Ciao Hey, Martin Mathis, and Vlada Stojanovic. The final three made a deal and Martin Mathis emerged as the champion after defeating Bruno Volkmann in a lengthy heads-up battle. Mathis banked R$3,494,800 for his victory, or approximately $900K.

Saturday March 23, 2019 at 7:02 pm
Telex
Watch Day 4 of the partypoker LIVE MILLIONS South America live feed from Rio

Check out the penultimate day of action at the partypoker LIVE MILLIONS South America in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The final 13 players began Day 4 out of the original 439 runners that began this event. Manig Loeser is the big dog remaining. Watch the live stream from Rio here.

Wednesday March 20, 2019 at 7:43 pm
Jaime Staples and Jeff Gross join partypoker Team Online

Jaime Staples, one of the most popular poker streamers on the interwebs, will join his brother Matt Staples as a member of Team Online. partypoker assembled a mega-team of the top Twitch streamers in the world, which also includes super baller Jeff Gross. Jaime will officially become a part of the team on May 4, which is also Star Wars day.

Monday March 18, 2019 at 3:35 pm
Bellagio poker room robbed, suspect loses fatal shootout with Las Vegas Police

Over the weekend, someone walked into the Bellagio poker room and pulled off a brazen Friday night robbery without anyone even noticing. The thief fled out the Bellagio's side entrance by the north valet and four Las Vegas cops confronted the suspect when he failed to carjack a vehicle in the valet. The robber pulled out a gun and shot at the police, who instantly returned fire and struck him. The suspect was taken to the hospital and later died from his wounds.

Sunday March 17, 2019 at 5:08 pm
 Vitalijs Zavorotnijs wins 2019 WPT Barcelona for €600,000

Vitalijs Zavorotnijs came into the final table of the 2019 WPT Barcelona with the chip lead and he held off the other five at the final table to take down the latest stop on the World Poker Tour. Zavorotnijs faded a field of 1,227 runners to win €600,000 or $678K USD. His final table also included Eric Sfez, Niko Koop, Boris Kolev, Jerry Odeen, and Alain Zeidan.

Thursday March 14, 2019 at 11:53 pm
Vinicius Lima wins WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open for $728K

Vinicius Lima went from the short stack to the champion at the 2019 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open. Lima won $728,430 at the HyperX Sports eSports Arena at the Luxor Casino in Las Vegas. The event began in Atlantic City at the end of January and was action paused six weeks to play the finale out in Las Vegas. Lima faded a field of 1,415 for his first WPT win.

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
today at 7:04 pm
$125 added
6-MAX
$2.20
Big Poker League
Thursday April 25, 2019 at 7:04 pm
$125 added