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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP2009 | Poker Personalities

Interview With Matt Graham, Winner of the 10K PLO Event

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Matt Graham has had a good year, and that's putting it mildly. It all started on July 1 of 2008 when he took down his first bracelet in the Limit Hold Em Shootout. In December, he won an event at the Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic and took home 320K. Now he's added a 2nd WSOP bracelet to his wrist, besting the best Pot Limit Omaha players in the world in the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Championship and winning a staggering $679,402. Pokerworks had the chance to talk briefly with Matt before he was presented his bracelet at the Rio and here is what he had to say:

Pokerworks: How does it feel the day after winning your 2nd bracelet?

Matt Graham:
It feels great. It is sort of all setting in thinking about what has happened. I'm not as delirious as I was last night.

Pokerworks: Do you mean the combination of the long heads up match and being tired?

Matt Graham:
And the fact that it's kind of shock of all that has happened in the past year and being kind of tired. It's all of it.

Pokerworks: It has been a good year hasn't it?

Matt Graham:
Yea, the past 12 months have been real good.

Pokerworks: What do you attribute to your success in the last year?

Matt Graham:
A lot of hard work. I've put in a ton of hours in poker. More than I should have probably, for a while.

Pokerworks: Have you had any downs on the road to this great year?

Matt Graham:
I haven't had too many downs. The World Series two years ago was tough for me.

Pokerworks: How did you deal with that tough World Series?

Matt Graham:
Honestly, I didn't deal with it well. I was pretty depressed. It was my first World Series and I went 0 for 19.

Pokerworks: That's what a lot of people don't realize... it's not hard to go 0 for 19 at a World Series.

Matt Graham:
I had huge stacks in so many tournaments that year. I like stone bubbled a $1,500. I was “that” guy. Like 280 got paid and I finished 281.

Pokerworks: So what did you do to bounce back from that?

Matt Graham:
Just waited for my turn to win something. Just kept playing and kept focusing. That's all I could do.

Pokerworks: How long have you been playing now?

Matt Graham:
I've been playing for five years, four professionally.

Pokerworks: I heard you quit college to play poker?

Matt Graham:
Yea, I did. It was tough to go to classes.

Pokerworks: How did you feel when you made the final table last night? Were you feeling confident, nervous, all of the above? Did you feel like it was yours to win?

Matt Graham:
I felt extremely confident after we lost a couple of players. I had butterflies when we first got to the table because all the stacks were so close and on any given hand it's so easy to lose your entire stack, especially in PLO. Once some people busted and I'd won some pots, I started to settle down and really felt good. When we got down to four handed and Vitaly had a lot of chips, I had pretty good chips, and the other two were short stacked, I thought there was a very good chance we would go heads up and felt I had a good chance of winning.

Pokerworks: Who was the player you were worried the most about at the start of the final table?

Matt Graham:
Every time Mattson won a pot I was frustrated. I was relieved when he lost his chips. He's a nice guy but you have to look out for your own self interest.

Pokerworks: What would you say was the biggest hand of the tournament for you?

Matt Graham:
Probably the one against Matt Vengrin with like 20 people left. I was in a pretty tough spot with two aces. He had potted over my flop bet on like a 8-6-3 rainbow board. He had Q-J-10-9. That was huge, it was a really tough decision and was a good play by him. There was a good chance I was going to fold.

Pokerworks: What made you decide to call and not fold there?

Matt Graham:
The fact that it was a rainbow board and he's a good player, I know he's not going to have a set there ever. I thought I had the right price versus his range there. I didn't think I was crushed there. I don't know... it was a tough spot, I just went with my gut. I was in the tank for a while.

Pokerworks: After that crippling hand where Vitaly had A-K-5-3 and flopped the nut straight and you were down like 10:1 in chips. How do you think that affected you?

Matt Graham:
It affects me but it just doesn't change how I'm going to play. I tilt as hard as anyone, but I do it internally. I'd certainly never let it change the way I am going to play at a World Series final table, no matter how angry I am.

Pokerworks: You had really good support there at 5 am in the morning, do you think that helped you recover from that?

Matt Graham:
Absolutely, it really helped. 20 people, 5 am, rowdy, yelling as loud as they can for you. That helps a lot. When I got crippled, it helped me keep that level head and stay focused.

Pokerworks: Thanks Matt and congratulations again on your win!

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