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Poker Champion Gavin Smith Dead At Age 50

Former WPT Champion and Player of the Year, WSOP Bracelet Winner Passes Away In Houston Home


Canadian poker champion Gavin Smith passed away in his sleep Monday night in his Houston home. He was 50 years old.

Smith learned the game from his father, and started playing poker professionally at the age of 26 after a brief stint as a dealer that ran his own club. The Guelph-native got his first taste of success in the satellites, before breaking out at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut.

His first major score came in 2005, when he won a $2,000 preliminary event at the Mirage Poker Showdown for $155,880. He followed up that performance a week later by winning the WPT main event for $1,153,778. With two more final-table appearances that season, he was named the WPT Player of the Year.

Smith continued to thrive on the circuit during the poker boom, putting up consistent results and six-figure cashes. In 2010, after numerous close calls, he finally won his World Series of Poker bracelet, taking down the $2,500 mixed hold’em event for $268,238.

The man who went by the nickname “birdguts” finished his poker career with more than $5.5 million in live tournament earnings. His last cash came in July of 2018, when he finished 823rd in a $365 no-limit hold’em event at the WSOP.

Smith, who was a co-host of Card Player’s radio web show The Circuit before Poker Road Radio, was open about his battles with alcoholism in the past.

“I think I have the illusion of being a very happy person, but on the inside, I’ve got my own personal struggles,” Smith said in 2010.

Smith appeared on the cover of Card Player magazine in late 2005, and his Las Vegas home was featured on an episode of High Stakes Living.

Early Tuesday morning, the poker world reacted to the loss.