Mike Matusow

Mike Matusow is probably one of the most colourful players in the poker world. He is as well known for his loud mouth as for his game. But it is impossible not to notice his natural talent for poker. He has had fair success especially in the World Series of Poker (WSOP). He has won 3 bracelets and managed 29 money finishes in WSOP. Although lacking a WPT title, he has 9 money finishes and 4 final tables in WPT. In spite of his thrash talking, meltdowns and blowups at poker tables, today he is one of the best poker players in the world. matusow poker

Early Life and Entry into the Poker World

Mike was born in Los Angeles on the 30th of April 1968. By the time he was 10, Mike and his family shifted to Las Vegas. Even as a child, he was highly competitive and never afraid of voicing his opinions out loud. He took part in games like bowling and pool or built race cars to satisfy his craving for competition.

He came across the game for the first time when a friend introduced him to video poker. In those days Mike was staying at a small trailer park. He started stealing from his mother’s purse to play poker. He became so addicted to it that it led to shoulder and upper arm injuries. He tried to bring gambling under control by attending Gambler’s Anonymous meetings.

He was introduced to real poker by a small time player named Steve Samaroff. Over the years he managed to build a bankroll of $10,000 from an initial amount of $200. But he lost interest in playing small stakes poker and wanted a chance to win big. He started working as a dealer at Sam’s Town and the Orleans to build up his bankroll. It gave him an opportunity to observe other players and build his technique. It also earned him enough money to start playing in mid-limit poker games.

In spite of consistent wins, Mike ended up losing it all in sports gambling. He admits to have earned over $30,000 from an initial amount of less than $1,000 several times only to lose it over football. But winning in these games gave him confidence in his abilities and he finally made it to the World Series of Poker in 1997.

An Amazing Poker Career

In the 1997 World Series of Poker, Mike took part in Omaha 8/Better and managed to finish 2nd behind Scotty Nguyen. The next year brought Mike big money, but not from a hand. He took a chance and contributed to Scotty Nguyen’s entry fee in a 1998 WSOP event for a share in his winnings. Scotty ended up winning the event and Mike added $333,333 to his bankroll. The following year, Mike defeated Alex Brenes in $3,500 No Limit Hold’em to win his first WSOP gold bracelet. He managed a 6th place finish in the 2001 WSOP main event.

Year 2002 brought Mike his second WSOP gold bracelet. He was up against Daniel Negreanu, his friend and a great poker player, in $5000 Omaha Hi-Low Split 8 / Better event. In 2005, he won million dollar prize twice, one from the 9th finish in WSOP main event and another for win in WSOP Tournament of Champions in which he defeated Hoyt Corkins. This made him the 1st player to do so. In 2006 he finished 3rd in the Tournament of Champions and added $250,000 to his poker earnings. Mike won his 3rd WSOP gold bracelet in 2008 by defeating Jeff Lisandro in $5000 No Limit 2-7 Draw for the 1st prize of $537,862.

Mike’s success at World Poker Tours has been limited. He managed to grab the 3rd place in the UltimateBet Aruba Classic WPT in 2004. Two years later, in Bad Boys of Poker II, he finished 2nd behind Tong G. He finished 2nd in WPT Bellagio Cup III in 2007 and once again made it to the final table in WPT at Foxwoods in 2008.

Interesting Facts

Mike Matusow’s live poker tournament winnings were close to $7.4 million in 2010, of which $3,140,713 was earned at WSOP. He is sponsored by Full Tilt Poker. His loud mouth and taunting to other players at poker table have made him a favourite with the media. He has made appearances in High Stakes Poker seasons 2, 3, 4 and 6, Poker Superstars III and Poker After Dark. He has had many ups and downs in his personal life, battling drug issues and even spending 6 months in jail. He has managed to turn his life around and has been clean for the last 2 years. Mike ‘The Mouth’ remains the most outspoken player on or away from the table.

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