Queenstown Snowfest: An orbit with Tollgate
One of the most memorable moments at last year's APPT Queenstown event, and in fact one of the most memorable moments for me personally in the last five years of covering poker tournaments, was Tom "tollgate" Grigg's epic battles with New Zealand's Koray Turker.
I don't know a more aggressive player at the poker table in Australia than Tom Grigg. And in my limited time in seeing Koray Turker play, I'd have to say he, somehow, just notches Grigg in hyper-aggression. So when these two sat together last year we knew there was going to be fireworks. But what made it even better was the smack-talking that was shared (mostly from Turker's side, to be honest) that created a dynamic that should've been filmed for prime-time television.
The drama exploded in an epic hand when Turker made the now infamous quote of "You're about to get owned" when he four-bet preflop. Grigg five-bet, Turker shoved and Grigg called it off with his pocket kings far too strong for Turker's adventurous ace-five.
Turker would miss the money as Grigg went on to reach the final table.
Grigg is back today, and looking forward to re-uniting with his old sparring partner in Turker, although the Kiwi has yet to make an appearance in this event. Grigg, however, is quickly making his presence known at his table today.
We observed Grigg for an orbit, and quickly learned what it's like to have a VPIP of 100%. That's right, Grigg played every hand. Not only that, but he raised preflop in seven of the ten hands we observed.
The first three hands weren't great for Grigg. He raised from middle-early position and found multiple callers who threw up resistance with check-raises on either the flop or turn. Grigg was forced to fold. On the fourth hand, we saw Grigg win his first pot, with his under-the-gun raise getting just one caller, who folded to a continuation bet on an ace-high flop.
Hand #5 also went to Grigg in four-way limped pot with Grigg's bet from the big blind on the turn on queen-high board, good to drive his opponents from the pot. Grigg flashed the 3♣.
Next hand Grigg completed the small blind but folded, on the turn before winning a nice pot on Hand #7. Grigg called a preflop raise on the button and got three streets of value with Q♦T♥ after making two pair.
It didn't even matter if someone else raised, as Grigg put in a three-bet on hand #8 and then took it down with a continuation bet on a king-high flop.
By the time hand #9 rolled around, Grigg was clearly bored, and with two limpers in the pot, he tossed out another raise to 300.
"Oh, there were limpers? I thought they were the blinds!" laughed Grigg.
"Yeh, nice angle," replied tablemate Ricky Kroesen.
The small blind three-bet to 825 and Grigg called in position to see a flop of 8♥T♦8♦. The small blind fired out a bet as Grigg flashed 5♦2♥ to the rail and sighed about missing the board with a wry smile.
"It's fun playing those hands," chirped Grigg, as the last hand of the orbit came around. Grigg again raised to 300 without barely looking at his cards, and not realizing the blinds had gone up. It didn't matter, as the table folded to his min-raise.
Grigg is undoubtedly a beast at the table with a style that few can match. If only Koray Turker was here...