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Mike Matusow Sits With A Big Stack On Third Day Of 2015 World Series Of Poker Main Event

Poker Pro Feeling A Deep Run After Year Of Health Problems

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It’s been a decade since poker pro Mike Matusow made the final table in the World Series of Poker main event, but a return could be on the horizon. Matusow sat with one of the larger stacks in the Rio Convention Center on Friday during day 3 of the 2015 no-limit hold’em championship.

Nearly 1,800 began the day, so there’s still a long grind until the November Nine final table, but Matusow already has his eyes on it. He began the day with more than 200,000 and had chipped up to more than 340,000 by the first break of the day.

“I feel great. I’ve picked up a sh-tload of hands,” Matusow told Card Player during the break.

His stack at this point isn’t all due to catching cards. According to Matusow, people have been giving him a lot of credit in the main event, especially on day 1. “They’ve been more afraid of me in this tournament than in any other tournament,” Matusow said. “It was like 2000-and-f**cking-1 A Space Odyssey” on day 1, Matusow said. “I raised and they fold every hand. I chipped up to 200,000 without ever having a hand. If they ever re-raised me I just folded.”

Mike MatusowFor the 47-year-old, being in the zone isn’t all that factors into his feelings about the most important tournament of the year. He puts some stock in what he perceives as being due for a deep run, even if most of the adversity has been endured off the felt.

“I told everyone before this tournament started that history repeats itself,” Matusow said. “In 2004, I had the worst year of my life. I got set up and had to do jail time for something I didn’t do. This year I was basically bed-ridden for seven months. [In 2005] I bricked the entire summer before final tabling the main event. I told everyone that year I had a gut feeling that I was going to run deep in the main event. So, we’ll see what happens this year. There’s still a long ways to go.”

Matusow has been battling through a lot of pain this summer after surgery on his spine.

“I have nerve pain, what is called intercostal neuralgia from the surgery I had," Matusow said. “So I have days where my feet and legs hurt so badly. It sucks. That’s why I played day 1a, so I could have two days off. The next four days would be tough.”

According to Matusow, the complication he has occurs in less than 1 in 1,000 of the patients who have that type of surgery on their spine. Matusow looks at it as just running bad, like what can happen with playing cards. You have to absorb the blows.

2005 was indeed a very special year for Matusow. After winning $1 million for finishing ninth in the main event, he took first in the WSOP Tournament of Champions event for another $1 million. It was the first time in the history of tournament poker that someone won $1 million twice in one year.

In 2008, Matusow’s last cash in the main event, he had a close call, finishing in 30th. Matusow was emotional after his elimination, saying that opportunities to make the main event final table are so hard to come by. It was incredibly tough to see one end prematurely.

“You have to get great table draws, catch cards, escape the traps, you gotta make big folds even if you think you have the best hand and wait for better spots,” Matusow told Card Player. “Everything has to go right.” Below is a look at Matusow’s career cashes in the main event:

2008: 30th for $193,000
2005: 9th for $1,000,000
2004: 87th for $20,000
2001: 6th for $239,765

For more coverage from the summer series, visit the 2015 WSOP landing page, complete with a full schedule, news, player interviews and event recaps.