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Mike Matusow deserves an Apology Big Time!

by Daniel Negreanu |  Published: Jun 13, '14

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I'm going to keep this short, but I feel like I need to speak up, and speak out against a decision made by a floorman at the WSOP named Dave Lamb. To make a long story short, Mikey was all in and deep in a tournament. He needed help and was being himself, a loud, sometimes childish and obnoxious guy that most people who watch TV love to see, while others may not like his antics. It's typical Mike "The Mouth" acting like he has at the WSOP for 10+ years.

He ends up winning the pot, doesn't berate anyone in the tournament, then celebrates loudly away from the table. Then, out of the blue Dave Lamb crosses the line of his duties in a big way by issuing Mike a one round penalty in the late stages of the game. This wouldn't even happen in sports, as refs are typically very careful to call tacky fouls or penalties late in the game, and Mike's "outburst" hurt no one.

For the sake of argument, let's just say that Mike was guilty of excessive celebration according to the TDA rules. How in the world can you justify such a harsh penalty without issuing a simple warning prior to that decision? A simple, "Hey Mike, you have been warned. If you do that again you will get a one round penalty for excessive celebration."

This is consistent with a major problem I have with quite a few of the TDA rules that go straight to a penalty without giving the players the benefit of the doubt, and the courtesy of a warning.

That needs to change. I don't know how to make it change, but I needed to say something. We need to stop taking ourselves so seriously. Dave Lamb thought Mike celebrated excessively. Several of the players in the tournament disagreed and showed their support for Mike via twitter. Unfortunately, that can't be reversed at this point, but I'm hoping that in the future we can all agree that a TD shouldn't have such a heavy influence on the outcome of a tournament, ESPECIALLY without first issuing a warning. I can't think of a good argument for punishing players so severely without a just, stern, and fair warning.


Too many of these automatic penalties hurt the amateur players in a big way. A couple examples:

1. Checking the nuts in position. It's typically novice players who overlook their hand, or are just lost in the moment that do this. For example, a board reads KQJT and it's checked to them and they check with the Ace without thinking. Giving him a penalty for this is absurd. ONE warning is sufficient, and if he does it again, a penalty is in order.

2. Turning your hand over before the action is done. This is ALWAYS an error by the player turning over his hand usually in a raising war where he believes that the two players are all in. Example: Player A bets 25k and Player B says raise and puts out 75k. Player A, thinking he is all in, quickly says call and turns his hand face up before the river is dealt. Not only does he suffer the penalty of having to play his cards face up for the rest of the hand due to his error, he is ALSO issued a penalty according to TDA rules? Atrocious. This happened to Alberto Tomba in San Remo, and YEARS later he is still afraid to enter an EPT event because he isn't familiar with all the rules. A novice player scared away foolishly.

Poker is supposed to be fun guys, it's not war. There is no need for a Nazi like enforcement of rules that don't accomplish what they are designed to accomplish. If you are a tournament director, you would be wise to take a chill pill, keep it friendly, issue warnings followed by penalties when necessary, and do as little as possible to effect the outcome of tournaments that you haven't risked a penny to play.




Daniel Negreanu is the 2004 CardPlayer Magazine and World Poker Tour Player of the Year. He presents his poker strategies in one-on-one virtual training at pokervt.com and writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column.
Read all of Daniel Negreanu's poker blog and poker articles at Full Contact Poker.

 
Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of CardPlayer.com.
 

Comments

Freckles99201
over 3 years ago

Just so! The too-persnickety non-Poker rules discourage casual players, and we need more of them! Plus, as you say, there should be a "spirit" of each scene and the over-rules trimmed back.

It's so fun to be around the excitement of these events and the non-Poker penalties should be eased asap.

 
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THEJOEF
over 3 years ago

If it were Annie Duke or Howard Leaderer would you stand up for them? You seem to say and do whatever works for you Or people you like. Maybe ask someone at the Choice Center who is willing to be truthful with you.

 
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TheFly
over 3 years ago

Daniel, some rules infractions deserve immediate penalties. By your logic, a murderer should be warned not to do it again after his first murder. Mikey is a nutbag and I would bet he had already been warned. And referencing the Nazis to make your point only cheapens your argument. In short, you sound like a whiney complainer, I guess some things never change.....

 
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Michael80
over 3 years ago

As a TD and dealer,poker players
And certain other "sports" have this harsh ideal of "the rules are too strict" people like the mouth already know the rules ,he is suppose to help the game and he cant follow thw rules he should know,I also have ran professional
Pool tournaments,its always the topplayers who think they can continually break the rules.
I APPLAUD the floors action
Mike if you cant abide.
Quite and open a day care.

 
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msouth
over 3 years ago

I agreed with floors action.

 
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Rob17
over 3 years ago

I agree 100% with Daniels article and I also respect that he took the time to write about the situation so that the poker community can figure out a more suitable approach to exessive celebrations. After reading about the penalty I was surprised to hear that he was given such a harsh ruling without any warning especially when it effected the tournament so much. Thanks for the writing Daniel and also thanks for standing up for what your beliefs are.

 
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goofyalbert
over 3 years ago

What do TDA rules have to do with any of this? While WSOP and TDA rules are similar they are not the same.. It is a progressive penalty system that takes into account all of a players previous penalties the player has received. Even if a warning can be given for an infraction, because of Mike`s previous penalties and his, as you said it, typical childish and obnoxious behavior, he doesn't deserve one even over the most trivial rule infraction. I don"t know about many sports, but in the NFL they will call give penalties regardless of the time left on the clock. If Mike played bad after he got back then that is only because of him. Even if the penalty was unjustified. Lastly, the rules are the rules, if you cant accept them and be an adult, then you probably shouldnt play the event. Or at the very least just take responsibility for the decisions you make.

 
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AcecardZ
over 3 years ago

Clearly, very clearly even, Daniel is correct. A simple warning would have been sufficient in this case. Love or hate Mike Matusow the guy is who he's always been and his behavior has always been acceptable in the past so to expect him to behave differently now without at least one stern warning is unfair to Mike.

If after a warning Mike continues to disrupt the game with any of his crazy antics then a one round penalty is certainly merited.

 
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maxima191
over 3 years ago

Mike Matusow has a Disibility called BiPolar disorder and it effects emotional responses.
The I'm not stating the penalty was valid but Mike could claim and file discrimination complaint against the TDA Rules.

 
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Scott40
over 3 years ago

Apparently Mikey had got a warning about an hour before about excessive swearing and general assholeness at the table. Allyn Schulman (who was seated at the table with Mike) says,
"Dave Lamb came over to the table to see what the commotion was about. He did not walk over and issue a penalty. He came over and asked what had happened. Immediately Mike got up into Dave’s face. Dave calmly asked Mike to step away from the table to discuss what had happened. Mike started going nuts.

Dave calmly, quietly but firmly asked Mike a number of times to step away from the table. Not only did Mike refuse to move from the table, he was up in Dave’s face yelling and cursing with his normal diatribe of vulgarities bellowing something like you can’t F***ING give me a BULLSHIT F***ING penalty; that would be the worst F***ING ruling in the history of poker. (with emphasis on the word F***ING.) It was only at that point that Dave Lamb quietly said NOW I am giving you a one round penalty."

There is even more to it. Read her account of what happened.

 
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Freckles99201
over 3 years ago

I wrongly assumed Daniel was well informed, he was not. Allyn Shulman, of Carplayer publishing family and also Senior bracelet winner, just published a great post on Cardplayer.com and she was there THE WHOLE TIME, please see link.

http://www.cardplayer.com/poker-blogs/89-allyn-shulman/entries/561819-wsop-the-matusow-penalty

 
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msouth
over 3 years ago

Daniel is never fully informed before stating his opinion. Mike's behavior should be addressed and he should be warned before seating at future events based on his recent constant outburst.

 
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Fish_N_Chips
over 3 years ago

Daniel,

I am a fan of your poker and find YOUR table talk to be entertaining. However, there is a big difference between your harmless banter and Mike "The Mouth" Matusow's table antics.
As a well respected poker player recently stated Matusow is "a loud, sometimes childish and obnoxious guy." I don't know if most people love to see him on TV. I definitely do not.

Given how you described Mike, I would think you would have found out all of the facts before going out of your way to criticize a tournament official in his defense. Apparently, he was penalized for verbally abusing the official, NOT for excessive celebration, and HAD been given a warning about his antics. That is very different than your account of the situation. Seems like Dave Lamb is the one who deserves an apology.

Unfortunately, the valid points that you made regarding the overly harsh enforcement of certain rules will be overlooked. They are still valid points despite not applying to this situation.

 
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TheFly
over 3 years ago

Hey Mike, I can't believe cocaine, ecstasy, anti-depressant & ritalin abuse would cause someone to become an emotional infant who lacks basic temperamental self-control.

You're an embarrassment to the game Mike, your constant stream of vulgarities is only a smokescreen for your own self-hatred, mildly masked by all the chemicals you ingest hoping to self-medicate. Just be thankful you'll always have that pea-brained Negreanu to give you a reach-around whenever you implode.

Daniel you owe the TD an apology for your misguided incorrect rant. So glad Allyn Shulman took the time to set the record straight about Matusow's antics.

 
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THEJOEF
over 3 years ago

Mike should go to the Choice Center and write poems .

 
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