Gimble's gamble pays off

February 22, 2010, Chris  

Last month Ante Up reported on Harrison Gimbel’s record-setting PCA victory. AU correspondent Garrett Roth was on the scene in the Bahamas and caught up with Gimbel after his remarkable victory.

While most teenagers are making minimum wage, Harrison Gimbel is making millions.
Gimbel won the PokerStars.net Caribbean Adventure’s main event for $2.2 million in January. ... not bad for a kid who just graduated high school.

Gimbel, 19, was born in Boca Raton and now lives in Jupiter. He started his poker career like many other players, with the Moneymaker boom in 2003, when he wasn’t even a teenager yet. He began playing $5 and $10 home games while sharpening his skills, but soon began to play online, where he was known as gibler123.

As soon as he was old enough to play in local cardrooms he jumped in and won the Florida State Championship at the Isle Casino at Pompano Park, pocketing nearly $68K.
He hasn’t strayed from his online roots. He had a massive amount of earnings online in 2009, having final-tabled virtually every major tournament, including the Stars $1K Super Tuesday ($57K), Stars Sunday Million ($47K), Stars Sunday 500 ($25K), Full Tilt $1K Monday ($45K), Full Tilt Sunday Brawl ($17K) and a handful of other titles on other sites.

“I’ve only played a few live tournaments in my career, and never a $10K buy-in,” Gimbel said moments after his victory in the Bahamas. “Live is more fun than online, though, because you can get facial reads on people and you can interact with them a lot more.”
He had planned on buying directly into the main event, but won a $1K satellite just a few days before the tournament.

Gimbel’s confidence was evident throughout the tournament as he steamrolled to the chip lead, increasing his stack to about 1.5 million after the first few days. But it was a hand with another young gun on Day 3 that helped make Gimbel the youngest PCA champ in history.

“The most crucial hand of the tournament for me was a hand I played against Justin Bonomo,” said Gimbel, who once attended the University of Alabama.

Gimbel held AC-JC on a board of 4C-9C-6C. Bonomo bet 70,000 on the flop, 190K when the 7D dropped on the turn, and then moved all-in for 700K on the river when the board paired with the 9D. Gimbel just called on all streets and Bonomo mucked his hand. Gimbel won a 2.5-million-chip pot with the ace-high flopped flush.

“This hand gave me the chip lead and propelled me to the final table where I never lost focus,” he said, “I had played with most of the players before and was extremely confident that I was going to win.”

Ultimately, Gimbel’s pocket 10s held up against Tyler Reimen’s pocket eights when they were heads-up for the title. They both made sets to add a little more drama, as if the moment needed it.

Gimbel says he plans on spending more time traveling the circuit and playing in the biggest events around the world.

“I hope at the time this article gets published, I will have found a sponsorship deal,” he said.

That shouldn’t be too difficult to accomplish given his past successes. About the only thing he can’t do in poker is win a World Series bracelet, but that’s only because he’s not old enough yet.

Photo courtesy of Neil Stoddart and PokerStars.