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Q & A With Card Player Columnist Matt Matros

Poker Pro and Author Makes CNN Appearance to Talk About Black Friday


Matt MatrosNot many poker professionals have the ability to share their opinions about the current online poker situation more effectively than Card Player columnist Matt Matros. Matros has recently appeared on and CNN to comment about poker and its Black Friday.

Card Player caught up with him to talk briefly about his appearances on the aforementioned news outlets, which have the ability to spread the message to millions of Americans who are in the dark on the dire situation of online poker in this country. We also ask Matros to elaborate on one of his interesting ideas: poker courses at colleges.

Brian Pempus: Why do you think your situation has so much appeal to the main stream media?

Matt Matros: The Washington Post wanted a different angle for portraying the professional gambler. They didn’t want a degenerate with no regard for money, and they didn’t want another story about a young player who had taken the world by storm. Basically, they were interested in finding someone who had been around a while (having started playing in the 1990s, I’m ancient), who wasn’t totally consumed by the game, and who could maybe even write about his experiences. I used to play poker with a guy who’s now a WaPo staffer, and he thought to contact me with the idea for the piece. (Poker players are everywhere!) Luckily his editor liked the finished version enough to run it. The CNN segment was a direct result of the WaPo piece. They just wanted a quote or two, and to show a little bit of the online player’s lifestyle.

BP: How important do you think it is to spread the notion that poker is a game of skill rather than luck? Do you think you are good evidence for this argument?

MM: The more people understand that skill predominates in the long-run in poker, the better chance we’ll have of getting meaningful online poker legislation passed. I don’t think any one player’s results can be considered evidence in the strictest sense. But if you take a group of professionals and correctly predict that they win money over some specified time period, you might be on to something.

Selbst, a back-to-back winner of the NAPT Mohegan Sun, has also been outspoken about the federal indictmentsBP: You mentioned Vanessa Selbst’s helpful argument in your Washington Post op-ed. What can poker’s other brightest stars do to help fight the government’s actions?

MM: Players should try to raise awareness about the issue anyway they can. Most average Americans still don’t know much if anything about Black Friday and its aftermath. Poker is extremely popular in this country, and we’ll have quite a lot of support if we can just explain our side of the story.

BP: Can you explain this quote from your op-ed: “I envision a country where online poker is not only legal but also where poker strategy is taught at every college…”?

MM: I think the mathematics of poker alone makes an interesting course of study. But I also think that financial discipline, psychology, logic, and salesmanship can all be taught within a poker context. Basically I think that games are great learning tools, and that poker is one of the most complex and fascinating games there is.

BP: To play devil’s advocate here: How do you combat the argument that a vast number of the world’s most successful online players dropped out of college to pursue a career in poker, since the game was too distracting for their studies?

MM: Maybe so many online players wouldn’t have dropped out of college, if their colleges offered courses in poker! Seriously though, the idea of having poker courses available to college students is not necessarily to turn them all into professional players. The point is, rather, that poker teaches useful skills for a variety of disciplines. For example, I became a more disciplined writer only after I’d spent a few years learning how to make a living playing cards.

You can check out Matros’ appearance on CNN below: