Mike Matusow Wins 2013 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship
'The Mouth' Beats Phil Hellmuth To Capture Title and $750,000
Mike Matusow thrust his hands and the air with a flying leap after the Q hit the river, completing his flush to win the 2013 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship. Jumping up and down, the man known as “The Mouth” screamed, “You gotta go for it, baby!”
For the win Matusow earned the $750,000 first-place prize and 504 Card Player Player of the Year points. Perhaps most special of all for Matusow was being able to play in the finals against his good friend, 2005 champion of this event Phil Hellmuth.
“It means a lot to have Phil alongside me. All you hear from the young kids is ‘Mike and Phil used to be good, but they can’t keep up with us kids, with our generation.’ But where are they standing today?” Matusow said in his post match interview for NBC, drawing cheers from the crowd.
Indeed, out of a field of 64 invited players that included many of poker’s most lauded up-and-comers, two of poker’s best known “old-school” pros were able to find a way through to the final. Matusow had to beat some of the best young-guns and established names on the road to the title. First he defeated three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner and two-time World Poker Tour champion Michael Mizrachi. In the second round he dispatched online nosebleed cash game phenom Viktor “Isildur1” Blom.
In the third round he topped three-time WSOP bracelet winner Barry Greenstein, setting up a quarterfinal battle with two-time bracelet winner John Hennigan. In the semi-finals he overcame an in-form Scott Seiver, fresh off a $2 million win at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure super high roller just weeks ago. Seiver earned $100,000 and 294 POY points for his semi-final showing, moving into 10th place in the overall standings.
With that Matusow set up the fan-favorite final clash with Hellmuth. Throughout the tournament matches had been single elimination, but in the finals the format changed to best of three. Matusow won the first major hand of the meeting when he flopped a set of sixes against Helluth’s pocket queens and then turned quads. After re-raising preflop and betting every street, Hellmuth moved all-in on the river. Matusow snap called and quickly revealed that he had the nuts, taking a huge chip lead as a result. Although Hellmuth briefly mounted a comeback, Matusow was able to seal the deal and take a 1-0 lead in the final.
Matusow was then able to build a lead of roughly 2-to-1 in the second match when the next key hand came up. Mike Matusow raised 60,000 from the button and Hellmuth three-bet. Matusow moved all-in, and Hellmuth called with the AK. Matusow was in a commanding position with the KK, and was looking good to make a clean sweep after a 753 flop. The A on the turn turned the tables, however, and Hellmuth doubled up after the 9 landed on the river. Hellmuth was able to close out the second match to tie the score at 1-1.
The decisive match was the quickest of the three. Matusow took the lead right awya, and roughly 25 minutes into play the final hand arose. With a 3-to-1 lead, Matusow min-raised on the button to 32,000. Hellmuth called and the flop fell KJ2. Hellmuth check-called a bet of 30,000 and the 6 hit the turn. Hellmuth once again checked, prompting a 105,000 bet from Matusow. Hellmuth went deep into the tank, eventually saying, “I’m thinking of making one of the worst laydowns of my life.” Because of that statement, it was a bit of a surprise to Matusow when a moment later Hellmuth announced that he was all-in. After some consideration Matusow elected to call with the 84 for a flush draw. The Q hit the river, and just like that Matusow became the eighth champion of this event, while Hellmuth walked away with $300,000 for his runner-up finish.
“I’m on top of the world right now. There is nothing that feels better than winning a tournament. Nothing,” said Matsow after play ended. “I hadn’t won one since 2008. I have only played about 40 since then, and these guys play about 40 a week. But, you know man, I feel good.”
Here is the final bracket for the 2013 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship (Click to enlarge):
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded in this event:
|Round of 16||Antonio Esfandiari||$25,000||-|
|Round of 16||Vanessa Rousso||$25,000||-|
|Round of 16||Barry Greenstein||$25,000||-|
|Round of 16||Phil Ivey||$25,000||-|
|Round of 16||Joseph Cheong||$25,000||-|
|Round of 16||David Sands||$25,000||-|
|Round of 16||Tom Dwan||$25,000||-|
|Round of 16||Dan Smith||$25,000||-|
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