‘Class Clown of Poker’ Dead at 50

Gavin Smith, left, and Tom Dwan playing at the 2008 World Series of Poker. Matt Waldron, CC BY 2.0

‘Fast-living, hard-drinking, Butterball-shaped poker superstar” passes away

PokerNews.com – The poker world was shocked to learn Gavin Smith, 50, unexpectedly passed away Monday night in Texas.

Smith, born September 4, 1968, rose to poker prominence during the poker boom after winning the World Poker Tour Season IV Mirage Poker Championship for a career-high $1,128,278 and then the WPT Season IV (2005) Player of the Year title.

Other highlights on his poker résumé include finishing second in the 2008 WPT North American Poker Championship in Niagara Falls for $542,129, winning the 2006 World Pro-Am Challenge for $500,000, and capturing his first and only bracelet in the 2010 World Series of Poker Event #44: $2,500 Limit/NLH for $268,238.

Throughout his professional poker career, Smith amassed $6,321,096 in tournament earnings dating back to 1998.

According to the WSOP at the time, it was “the one achievement that had eluded the fast-living, hard-drinking, Butterball-shaped poker superstar was the long-coveted WSOP victory.”

For Smith himself, it was a life-changing and career-affirming moment.

“Yeah, I seem to be pretty good at screwing things up. I have had a lot of issues through the years,” he said in his winner interview.

Known for his sense of humor, Smith’s many television appearances including Poker After Dark, Late Night Poker, and NBC’s Face the Ace.

Born in Canada, Smith learned cards, primarily rummy and cribbage, from his father before discovering poker at the age of 26.

“I’m just an older guy from Guelph, Ontario, who used to drive a taxi and cut greens,” Smith once said.

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