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Poker Stories Podcast With Matthew Waxman

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Jul 03, 2019


Poker Stories is a long-form audio podcast series that features casual interviews with some of the game’s best players and personalities. Each episode highlights a well-known member of the poker world and dives deep into their favorite tales both on and off the felt.

To listen, visit or download it directly to your device from any number of mobile apps, such as Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, or Spotify. Catch up on past episodes featuring notables such as Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, Justin Bonomo, Nick Schulman, Barry Greenstein, Michael Mizrachi, Bryn Kenney, Mike Sexton, Brian Rast, Chris Moneymaker, Maria Ho, Joe Cada, Freddy Deeb, and many more.

Age: 34
Hometown: Parkland, Florida
Live Tournament Earnings: $4.1 Million

Top Live Tournament Scores

Sept. 2011 WPT Grand Prix de Paris 1st $721,178
May 2018 WPT Tournament of Champions 1st $463,375
June 2013 WSOP $1,000 NLHE 1st $305,952
Oct. 2012 Festa al Lago NLHE 2nd $273,944
July 2014 WSOP Main Event 5th $186,388

Matt Waxman learned the game in high school, but really got his career going in 2009 when he final tabled a $5,000 no-limit hold’em event at the World Series of Poker. The Parkland, Florida native won a WSOP Circuit ring the next year in Atlantic City, and followed that up with his biggest score to date, taking down the World Poker Tour Grand Prix de Paris for just over $720,000.

Waxman nearly won the Festa al Lago Classic the next year, and in 2013, he won his first WSOP bracelet, banking $305,000 for topping a $1,000 no-limit hold’em event. Waxman had a deep run in the 2014 WSOP main event, and just last year, he picked up his second WPT title, pocketing $463,000 at the WPT Tournament of Champions. In total, the 34-year-old has more than $4.1 million in live tournament earnings to go along with millions more won online.

Highlights from this interview include being a resident of the world, flipping noodles for profit, being on the middle school basketball team with Alex Jacob, poker on the boat, playing among the ashtrays, the benefits of ignorance, being British at the tables, catching cheats, going broke, having parents unimpressed by six-figure scores, a WPT championship in France, being a millionaire and feeling empty, a seven-hour heads-up match with Eric Baldwin, bad news from home a world away, pushing time shares, hearing ‘water’ in his ear, and dealing with stabbed TVs and the police.

The Transcript Highlights

About The Online Tournaments That Kick-Started His Career

Matthew Waxman: I’ve always been a live player, but ironically, my big start came from winning an online tournament. I was always up and down with the roll. I would get it at almost $100k, and then I’d be broke… at least two or three times. I never had the bankroll management… It wasn’t until one day that I said, ‘Alright, if I want to play poker for a living, I have to take this seriously. I have to be organized, and play within my bankroll.’

I had maybe $10k to may name, and I asked my friend Stu Paterson, who was a Full Tilt Pro back then, to send me some money [online]. I just started playing the $75 buy-in 45-man sit-n-go’s, and won two of those. My first week, I was already up a thousand, and I was happy, sitting at my parents’ dining room table and treating poker like a job. I decided to play the 30 cubed one day during FTOPS. It was a $30 buy-in, with one rebuy and one add-on. I ended up winning it for $7,000.

Then my friend said, ‘Why don’t you play the $200 turbo FTOPS event?’ I was like, ‘Nah, I’m not doing that. I told myself I wasn’t going to risk [my bankroll] anymore.’ And he said, ‘Just take one shot.’

Alright, whatever. So I swap five percent with him. I bluffed off half my stack the first hand, and was down to 1,000 in chips. Then I just played crazy out of my mind, and three hours later, I won the FTOPS.

Now I have $100k in my Full Tilt account, and I’m going crazy. I run into my parents’ room at midnight, and tell them, ‘Mom! Dad! I won the gold jersey!’

They were like, ‘We’re sleeping, leave us alone.’

‘No, you don’t understand. It’s $100,000, real money!’

And they were like, ‘Yeah, that’s great. Good job. We’re going to sleep.’

Are my parents rich or something? Did I not know about this? Why aren’t they popping a bottle of champagne?

So I went out and partied until like six in the morning. I ended up getting a flat tire and was sitting there wondering why I partied as I waited for AAA.

Summer happens… good final table. I come back, and the next FTOPS comes around. I signed up for 20 tournaments. I was ready to go. But I basically bust every tournament. I’m getting unlucky, I’m frustrated, and I go in and un-register for everything but the main event.

I leave it open, and I go to the gym and play basketball. I completely lose track of time, and don’t get home until an hour after the tournament has started. [Many] hours later, it’s seven in the morning. My mom comes into the kitchen and says, ‘Oh, you’re still up?’

‘Yeah I’m playing in the main event.’

‘Oh, that’s great. How are you doing?’

‘I’m at the final table. There are six left and first place is $450 grand.’

She’s like, ‘That’s nice.’

So yeah, I ended up winning that one. ♠

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

Catch up on past episodes featuring notables such as Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, Justin Bonomo, Nick Schulman, Barry Greenstein, Michael Mizrachi, Bryn Kenney, Mike Sexton, Brian Rast, Layne Flack, Joe Cada, Chris Moneymaker, 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.