- Facebook: Gavin Griffin
- Twitter: @nhgg
- Birthdate: 28th August 1981
- Birthplace:Darien, Illinois
- Residence: Fullerton, California
- WSOP Bracelets: 1
- Biggest Win: $2,434,061
- Total Winnings: $4,815,116
- Sponsored by: Hero Poker
- Sponsor Site Username: Gavin Griffin
Gavin Griffin was born and raised in the Illinois small town of Darien. Growing up, cards and other table games were far from as his mind as his interest lay in the area of physical sports, especially baseball. He was talented too and competed for various teams right up until being offered several college baseball scholarships. Gavin was realistic about his ability and he felt he could have made a reasonable living playing in the minor leagues but, he didn’t think he would ever make it to become a major league player. He finally decided to train in speech therapy, remembering how important it was to his grandfather’s recovery after a stroke. It showed Gavin possessed an empathetic side and he signed up at Fort Worth’s Texas Christian University.
He came to poker through a college friend’s home games and, though the stakes were small, Griffin didn’t see the point of playing to lose which he invariably did. Self-study from books and internet poker forums was his way forward and his play began to develop. When Gavin took a part-time job as a dealer in a private poker room he used the opportunity to hone his skills, and build his bankroll, before and after shifts. In 2003, he decided to go professional and dedicated his time to playing in online poker rooms before deciding to take the plunge into the bricks and mortar world at the highest stage, the WSOP.
He won the 2004 WSOP final and after this bracelet win Griffin said he felt ‘overwhelmed’ but, he kept his sense of realism, saying he ‘realized it was something that wouldn’t be happening every week’. Despite making a few final tables in the next couple of years, and respectable finishes in two World Poker Tour events, he failed to win big and saw his youngest WSOP winner record bettered in those years, first by Eric Froehlich and then Jeff Madsen, both 21 when they won.
Griffin wasn’t about to drift off the poker radar just yet and in March 2007 he went to Monte Carlo for the grand final of the European Poker Tour’s No Limit Hold’em event. Boasting the largest number of entrants in an EPT event, Griffin took down the title by beating Mark Karam heads-up after the other 703 competitors had fallen by the wayside. His prize was $2,391,895 and this time the critically acclaimed win was followed by another big win.
The rest of 2007 was good for Gavin Griffin at the tables and this continued, in January 2008 he made the the record books again, when he paired his queen on the turn heads-up against David Tran, he won the World Poker Tour Borgata Open and became the first player ever to win events in the WSOP, EPT and WPT, it is known as poker’s Triple Crown. Only three more players, Roland De Wolfe, Jake Cody and Bertrand Grospellier have done the same since Gavin showed the way.
Despite his penchant for breaking records Griffin has remained well grounded and aware that there is more to life than cards, felt and chips. When his then girlfriend Amy Roberts successfully fought off breast cancer, Griffin started donating some of his winnings to cancer research projects to help those less fortunate. During his week at the EPT in Monte Carlo he went one further than wearing a pink ribbon and sported pink hair to highlight breast cancer awareness. Gavin continues to support the cause with, since July 2010, his now wife Amy.
His attitude has made him a well-liked player and he seems to have a wise head on young shoulders. He doesn’t suffer from delusions of grandeur saying that doesn’t want to be considered as the world’s best poker players just to make a living playing the game. But, even though he could probably retire on his winnings so far don’t expect that to happen too soon. Griffin loves the intellectual and psychological challenge that poker offers saying, ‘I like pitting my brains against other people and seeing how it turns out’, and for Griffin, things seem to be turning out fine.
Gavin was a pro for PokerStars until 2010, then could be found among the Poker Heroes at Hero Poker, now he has signed a sponsorship deal with Ultimate Poker.
The 2004 World Series of Poker was Gavin Griffin’s first experience of tournament poker and that year’s Pot Limit event was the setting for what he describes as the best hand he ever played. He was one of the final three players along with Gabriel Thaler and Gary Bush and with pocket cards of 9♥ 8♠, he limped in to the pot from the dealer position. Since reaching short-handed play, it had been the first time that Griffin had only called from last position, a fact that was not lost to his opponents. ‘Wow, you’ve never done that before,’ Bush exclaimed. ‘What does that mean?’ Thaler quietly added.
Griffin looked up and could afford a smile as he watched his opponents mumbling away to themselves. Their confusion had made up his mind to play the hand as though he had great cards. Thaler paid to see the flop, Bush checked and the cards came out 6♥ A♠ K♦. Thaler, with 7♦ 6♠ had hit the low pair but both he and Bush were clearly rattled and checked through to the turn card of J♦. Bush, holding J♠ 8♣ had paired his jacks but again both players checked round to Griffin. At this point, there was no river card that could win the hand for Griffin but he placed a bet, knowing his opponents were having trouble reading him.
Immediately, Thaler folded while Bush, rubbing his temple, pondered what to do. Griffin, awaiting his opponent’s decision, looking unconcerned and eventually Bush folded his winning hand. He showed his jack to Griffin but if he was hoping for the reciprocal response, he didn’t get it. Griffin hadn’t taken a vast amount of chips with the pot but he had put doubt into his challengers’ minds. He had gained a psychological edge over them and it was enough to see him through to victory in the tournament. He had won a WSOP bracelet at his first attempt and at just 22 years old he became the youngest player to ever to win a WSOP event, since then two 21 year olds have beaten this record.
Last updated May 2013