While watching some of the fierce recent competition on the tournament poker felts, it occurred to us that there are more than a few ladies that are consistently giving the boys a run for the money. Medicine Hat’s Carolyn Grad is definitely one of them and we found her in several of the events in Calgary last week. While Carolyn just missed the final table and money in the $1,650 Main Event with a 19th place finish, she more than showed that on any given day she is a contender; winning herself a couple $1650 entry packages over both Super Satellites in addition to a 15th place finish in the $400 Mega Stack worth $955.
Guessing that she had been around the poker block more than a few times, we decided to ask her about the last few years in the game, finding her past results are certainly notable; besides a 9th place finish in a $500 Aussie Millions Event early this year, she also has the bragging rights of taking down the inaugural Venetian Deep Stacks Ladies event last summer, winning $12,414 for her 1st place in the $300 tournament.
Carolyn started by telling us, “My only wish is that I could have performed better this week and had a new title”, jokingly adding, “the 44 grand would have been nice too!”.
Grad then continued, “My success in tournaments really started after taking my first ‘WPT Boot Camp in November of 2007. Soon after, in January of 2008, I entered a $60 tournament at Cash Casino in Calgary and took first place out of 120 players. That gave me a seat into the Main event of the ‘Great Canadian Freeze Out’, a $750 buy-in that had 531 players. I ended up chopping for first place, but had to give up the title and picture on the wall for an extra $10,000. I did end up netting $91,000 though. Not a bad turn around for sixty bucks!”
Now really gaining momentum in her game, Carolyn took her game on the road, “In July of 2008, I managed a 1st in Grey Eagle’s Holiday Freeze out, turning the $150 entry into $4300. With the proceeds from my wins decided to take my family to Europe for the summer, playing in Estoril Portugal, Gibraltar, Hohensyburg Germany, and London, as well as mixing it up on a Mediterranean cruise. After 7 weeks of travel expenses, I managed to bring home an additional $5500 from poker cash and tournaments.”
Knowing that to stay on top, a player needs to grow with game, Carolyn invested some of her profits into doing just that; “Since the first WPT boot camp brought me so much success decided to take the 3 day course with 12 pros. I received instruction from Tj Cloutier, Vanessa Rousso, Mike Sexton, Kenneth James, Clonie Gowan and a bunch of other top pros. In the final bounty tournament I took out Linda Johnson and received a nice plaque and her bounty.”
Grad had the training and the confidence, but nearly passed on what would next end up in a little “spotlight” and decent bankroll boost to boot; “After an invitation from Kelly Kellner to attend the CPT Invitational Finals in the Dominican Republic, I initially declined as the Cash Casino event I had won took place during the time that the CPT was changing hands, so I was not going to be sponsored and I decided the costs were prohibitive. However, after winning a bad beat jackpot at the Elbow River Casino, I decided that the poker gods were telling me I should go. So off I went and ended up finishing 4th place for $25,000. I had planned to enjoy the beach for a few days following my win but the tropical rains sent me back to the Main Event of the World Poker Showdown where I placed 6th.”
The Invitational Event was televised and has been rerun many times over the past few years. It was also shown during the Players Parties over the largest Canadian Open Poker Championships to date, held in August of 2010. While not quite yet a “house-hold name” per say; there is a good chance you have seen Carolyn in action on the felts before.
Besides the accomplishments listed already, Grad certainly has left her mark around the popular North American stops; really adding to her collection of titles and final tables over 2010. Grad started the year off with a 1st place at Canadian Winter Championships at the Golden Nugget Las Vegas in February, followed it up with 1st in a LIPS event just a few days later, then on Valentine’s Day made a 5 ways deal in the Couples event at Caesar s Place. Returning to Canada, she then took first in the March Red Deer Cash Challenge Bounty Event, and then following up with a 10th place finish in the Main event of the same series.
With Calgary, Las Vegas and Red Deer wins already on her poker resume, Carolyn added Edmonton the list with a first place finish in a November Casino Yellowhead Deep Stack Event.
We are sure it won’t be long before we see Carolyn’s name beside the top pay-out spot of some major tournament results and we wish her the best of luck!
Know of another top Canadian Lady you would like to see featured on CanadaPoker.com? We are very interested! Please leave your suggestions in the comments or in our forum.