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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Interviews

The Round Table – Matt Graham Gets his Gold

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A very successful online player, Matt ‘mattg1983’ Graham is proving he can bring the same skills to the live felt. At this year’s World Series of Poker Matt won his first bracelet, beating out a tough field and capturing $278,180 in the limit hold ‘em shootout.

KL: Where are you from?

Matt:
I’m from New Orleans, LA. As a child I lived in New Orleans, Houston, Canada, and Norway. I went to college in Connecticut, but moved back home to New Orleans when I left school for poker. However, I recently moved out to Las Vegas and I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon.

KL: Which came first, playing online or live?

Matt:
I played in some tiny home games before I started playing online, but I still consider my beginning in poker to be online.

KL: How did you get into poker?

Matt:
I started playing in college in little dorm games and on Ultimate Bet. I started out with a 50 dollar deposit and just slowly grinded up. A year later I was leaving school to play full time.

KL: Where do you play online now and what do you play?

Matt:
These days I play primarily on Full Tilt and PokerStars. I play the majors on Sundays and occasionally play the 1K tourneys on PokerStars and Full Tilt.

KL: Do you talk a lot of poker with friends? Who?

Matt:
I used to talk poker a lot but not so much anymore. One on one I mostly just talk with my roommate Darryl Fish, but I do post on some of the forums a good bit.

KL: You won one of the last bracelet events, tell us about that win.

Matt:
It was very exciting and honestly a little unexpected. I hadn’t really played limit hold ‘em in a couple years, but basic poker fundamentals worked for me. At the final table I lost half my stack early on and looked like I might go out 9th. I recovered, but just hovered around a start stack at the entire final table. Jean Robert Bellande in the meantime was busting players left and right and next thing I knew I was heads up with an 8-1 deficit at 7 in the morning. Not the best situation, but I managed to grind away heads up and eventually take it down. It was something like 8 in the morning and I had slept about 5 hours in the past 48 hours so I was a little delirious, but it still felt really great.

KL: How was the rest of your series?

Matt:
I had a few deep runs in earlier events. I had top 3  in chips in the money of the $5000 mixed hold ‘em event and the $10,000 pot limit hold ‘em event and got really unlucky not to final table either of those. Then about half way through the series I finished 12th in the stud 8/O8 tourney. I was pretty dejected at that point, so I didn’t play as many events after that, but overall I was doing okay at the series even before the win.

KL: What’s your favorite tournament?

Matt:
I like the WSOP circuit held in New Orleans. I get to go home which is great and also that 5K has got to be one of the softest 5K+ buy-in fields in the whole country.

KL: What do you have coming up?

Matt:
I will be playing the Bellagio Five Diamond events and then I will be heading to Australia. After that I will be back in the states and playing the Los Angeles Poker Classic along with the rest of the WPT events of 2009.

KL: What do you do when you aren’t playing poker?

Matt:
I lead a pretty basic life so nothing too exciting. I love going to the lake or doing pretty much anything outdoors. When I am just chilling around the house I watch DVDs and play video games. Like I said, nothing too exciting.

KL: What is your favorite poker memory - fun event with friends, tournament, anything

Matt:
My trip to the Aussie Millions was my favorite tournament. My dad lives 5 minutes from the casino so I went for almost a full month. When I wasn’t playing tournaments I went surfing, hiking, white water rafting, and even ate kangaroo. Unfortunately I am busy during January this year so I won’t be able to go for the tournament, but I am going to visit during Christmas and New Years anyways. There won’t be any tourneys going but I will probably play some cash games.

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