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Poker Stories Podcast With Matt Berkey

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Jan 03, 2018


Age: 35
From: Leechburg, Pennsylvania
Turned Pro: 2005
Live Tournament Earnings: $3.8 million
Best Score: 5th Place – 2016 Super High Roller Bowl — $1,100,000

The Highlights

On his bankroll management…

“I’ve never literally had zero dollars to my name in my poker career, but I’ve been functionally broke, probably five or six times. Honestly, as long as you have the ability and capacity to start over again, at those numbers, there’s really not much sense [in practicing careful bankroll management.] I don’t think I would be where I am today, if I was really frugal with $20,000. It was the Wild West back then, but even now, with $20,000, what are you going to do? Grind yourself up to $10-$20, all the way up to $100-$200? There are so many [outside] factors that can suppress you can keep you at $2-$5 forever. So until you are willing to take a massive, massive risk and understand that even though your risk of ruin is through the roof… when you don’t ruin the bankroll, there’s a solid chance you find yourself at the next level that you are looking to achieve.”

On misreading his hand in a pot in the big game…

“A hand occurred where I thought I had 9-8. Eventually, I realized that I didn’t, but I believe the board texture was J-10-6-X-Q. I had the lead in this hand the whole way, and I was bet, bet, betting, but on the river, [Jean-Robert Bellande] actually led into me for $25,000. I had the option to shove or call, but since he could show up there with K-9, I just called. He tabled a set of sixes, and I was like, ‘no good.’ And I rolled over my hand, which was 7-8 high. And he goes, ‘Did you just call me with eight high?’ Not intentionally! I thought I had a straight. He immediately flipped me back the $25,000… I really wanted to take the chip, but I [couldn’t accept it] and threw it back. He threw it back to me again, and as I’m about to refuse it again, Bobby Baldwin looks at me and says, ‘Listen kid, if someone wants to give you a $25,000 gift, you take it.’ And he just slams the chip down on my stack.”

On the most memorable pot he’s ever lost…

“The biggest pot I ever lost was a $1.1 million pot. I got it all-in on the turn against Roger Sippl on a Ks Qs Jx 2x board. I had top set of kings, and Roger had Js 10s for a royal draw. I think I three- or four-bet him pre, check-raised him on the flop, and overbet shoved the turn. I don’t sweat much, I’m pretty dead inside. But once he says he’ had a really good hand, my heart starts racing. I asked, ‘once or twice, Roger?’ When he sees the hands rolled over, he says, ‘let’s do it once.’ The As peels off on the river, and to make it worse, as I’m reloading and shoving this massive pile of chips to him, he’s hovering over the table, saying, ‘I got to get a picture of this!’ He’s trying to get this picture, angling the camera to get the cards and my distraught face.”

You can check out the entirety of the interview in the audio player at the top of the page or download it directly to play on the go from iTunes or your favorite podcast app.

Catch up on past episodes featuring Daniel Negreanu, Nick Schulman, Chris Moorman, Bryn Kenney, Mike Sexton, Brian Rast, Jean-Robert Bellande, Scott Seiver, Greg Raymer, Maria Ho and many more. If you like what you hear, be sure to subscribe to get the latest episodes automatically when they are released.