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When I Was A Donk: Matt Hawrilenko

by Julio Rodriguez |  Published: Sep 05, 2012


Matt HawrilenkoMatt Hawrilenko is one of the best limit hold’em players in the world. The man known as “Hoss_TBF” was one of the biggest high-stakes winners online and has since taken his talents to the live arena, where he has earned over $1.7 million.

In 2009, he won the prestigious $5,000 six-handed no-limit hold’em event at the World Series of Poker, picking up his first gold bracelet and a first-place prize of $1,003,163. Overall, the Boston native has made 7 WSOP final tables.

Here, Hawrilenko talks about one of the biggest regrets of his poker career and how it has helped him in similar situations since.

“One of the biggest regrets of my poker career, one that still kind of eats away at me, came in the first big live tournament that I ever played in.

“I had a massive chip lead in a tournament at the Tropicana in Atlantic City. I think I had more than two-thirds of all the chips in play during three-handed play.

“Obviously, I should have just steamrolled my opponents to the win. Instead, I almost too eagerly agreed to a three-way even chop.

“The other players had me convinced that I was destined to lose all of those chips. They talked about the blinds being high and how variance would catch up with me and it all made sense at the time.

“Afterwards, I realized that I had been taken advantage of simply because I didn’t have any experience in chop situations.

“I’m not entirely against deal making in tournaments, but let’s just say that I won’t let myself be taken advantage of again. Now, if a deal is proposed, you’d better believe that I’ll be getting the best of it or playing it out.”