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Last week we got an insight into Anton Wiggs life and coming up this week it’s Sam Graftons turn as Lee Davy returns with “A Week in the Life of…”

Now make no mistake when I say that

Sammy Grafton is one of the hottest properties on the UK poker circuit. When you consider the crop of talented Brits who regularly fish in these waters it’s an impressive feat. In the past three-years Grafton has gone about his business as quietly as anyone. But in 2012, the creativity has splurged. The cloaking device is screwed. Grafton is flashing on everyone’s radar and he couldn’t give a rat’s arse.

Grafton is a Workhorse

His range of games as expansive as his vocabulary. One day you would find him in the $11 rebuy and the next pushing the big guns around in the highest buy-ins possible. Then in 2012, that tenacity was rewarded when Grafton secured a $234,194 payday after chopping a five-way deal in a $2,100 SCOOP event. Then just to prove that he can also throw his weight around in the real world, he took down the GUKPT Grand Final for $163,953.

A week in the life of Sam “SamSquid” Grafton:

What did your schedule look like building up to the GUKPT Grand Final?

If I know I am playing in a big tournament on the weekend, I will play on the Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and then try and take the Wednesday and Thursday off. That’s what I did this week. I will spend time with my girlfriend; go to the theatre, cinema or catch up on a box set or something.

If the big tournament is a live event like the weekend past, I try to grind some live cash just to tune into the rhythm of live poker. I find it helps me to tune in to folding and being bored a little bit more. It also helps, as you don’t want your body clock distorted. I like to try and force myself to get up a bit earlier on those few days and not play online. I have played tournaments before where you’re in online mode.

I was Bored, Impatient and Tired…

The worst one I ever played was the English Poker Open and I was in the middle of SCOOP and practically nocturnal. I was used to playing 15 tables, busting out left, right and centre – and I went out and played terribly because I wasn’t in the live frame of mind. I hadn’t played live for ages and I was bored, impatient and tired…that’s not a good combination.

One of the qualities you need when playing tournament poker is endurance. You need your strength when you play. A marathon runner isn’t going to be up all night before the big race, and poker players shouldn’t be any different. You need to be professional as £2.5k is still a lot of money.

So a professional attitude is the key to your success?

Having the right understanding of variance can be a very empowering thing. You can look at a $30k downswing and understand that it’s a standard deviation of the stakes you play. Therefore your confidence shouldn’t be knocked and you have every reason to fire up more tables and be confident because in the long run you are a winner. Some people use ‘variance’ as, ‘I can click buttons and in the long run I will have an upswing.’ You need to concentrate on each tournament and play your best in it. You can’t just expect upswings to appear. It has to come from taking the correct energy into each situation and playing your best: hand for hand, level-by-level, tournament by tournament.

Freaky Things Occur….

Some people think, “If I play enough tournaments, in the end, I will win one.” Obviously, freaky things occur, and if you play a lot of tournaments there is a chance you are going to bink one, but at the same time you can’t just sit back and rely on variance to deliver a trophy. You need to actively play at your best each time you sit down to play. This is professionalism.

Sundays are crucial for the online grinder. How is your typical Sunday structured?

In an ideal world I like to be grinding a few hours before the majors start. Yesterday, I started at 14:00 and started playing satellites. I was trying to win seats for the EPT, the Sunday 500 and the UKIPT. I won an FTOPS six max seat, an FTOPS main seat so I am always going to win two or three of my bigger buy-in events through satellites.

Having that extra buffer at the beginning of the session, means, I am already in the zone by the time the big tournaments come around. I also lower my variance by being able to satellite into some of them.

How many tables do you end up playing at your peak?

At my peak I play around 20-tables, but I much prefer to play a lot less than that.

Coming Up in Part 2

In Part Two, Grafton talks about the definition of winning, and we dig a little bit deeper about this professional mentality (or lack of).

About the Author

Lee Davy is a writer from Ogmore Vale in South Wales. You can follow his views and opinions through his blog at or on Twitter

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