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What's My Line? -- Mike Matusow

Matusow Folds a Set on Day 2 to Survive


Mike Matusow Wins Bracelet Number ThreeEver since the new and improved Mike Matusow replaced “The Mouth,” the tournament trail has been slightly quieter, but only because Matusow has chosen to let his results speak for themselves.

In 2007, Matusow made two World Poker Tour final tables, scoring nearly $1 million for his performances at Borgata and Bellagio.

Matusow tore apart the World Series of Poker this summer, winning a bracelet in event No. 18 for $537,862 and then making another final table in event No. 37, pocketing another $138,062. In the main event, he made yet another deep run, finishing in 30th and taking home another $193,000.

Recently, Matusow final tabled the 2008 Foxwoods World Poker Finals, finishing in sixth place and earning $124,048. Card Player caught up with Matusow in Connecticut to discuss his big laydown on day 2 that boosted his confidence and propelled him to the final table.

Event - Blinds/Antes World Poker Finals 800-1,600 with a 200 ante
Player Mike Matusow Christian Harder
Chip Count About 93,000 About 62,000
Hand 9 9 K J

The Hand

Christian HarderChristian “charder30” Harder raised to 6,500 from the cutoff. Mike Matusow called out of the small blind, and the big blind followed suit. The flop came Q 10 9, and Matusow bet 6,500.

The big blind folded, and Harder called. The turn was the 2, and Matusow bet about 18,000. Harder then moved all in over the top for an additional 31,000.

Matusow, who had approximately 61,000 in chips behind, went into the tank, saying, “Look at this kid. Not even a sweat. He doesn’t look scared at all.”

After a few more minutes, Matusow mucked his 9 9 face up, and Harder graciously showed his K J for the flopped nut straight.

The Interview

Julio Rodriguez:
Mike, care to take us through the hand you played on day 2 against Christian Harder?

Mike MatusowMike Matusow: It was late on day 2. [Christian Harder] raised from the cutoff to 6,500, and I called out of the small blind with two red nines. The big blind also called, and the flop came down Q-10-9 with two clubs.

It was a pretty draw-heavy flop, so I led out for 6,500. The truth of the matter is that he misplayed his hand. If he had raised me on the flop, I probably would’ve gone broke. But he flat-called, which told me he could’ve had a hand like J-10 or the flopped nuts. If he had a set, he would have for sure raised, since it was such a draw-heavy flop.

When the 2 rolled off, I fired a big bet to price out any possible draws, and he moved in on me. It was actually a pretty easy read that he flopped the nuts for a few reasons. If he had a better set, there is no way that he would’ve let me see a turn card without putting in a raise. At least, I’d never play it that way.

So that leaves two possibilities: Either he flopped the straight or he was losing his mind with a pair and a straight draw. I tanked for a few minutes and started asking him questions. He smiled back at me and looked so confident that it became more and more apparent that he had it.

JR: Other players made comments that you should have called even though you knew you were behind because of the math.

Mike MatusowMM:
I was getting 3-1 on my money, which was the right price to call, but I valued my tournament life more than the math involved in the hand.

[Harder] tried to tell Daniel [Negreanu] that it was a terrible fold, but Daniel agreed with me. With these young kids, it’s always pot odds and what-have-you, but they don’t understand that tournament poker is different. You can’t rebuy, so whether you are getting 3-1 or not shouldn’t matter. Two times out of three you will be out of the tournament.

So tournament life supersedes the math involved with the hand?

MM: It’s not even close. Tournament survival is way more important than the math. From that point, I was able to chip back up and move onto the next day. I ran good for two days, and I even held the chip lead at a few points. That wouldn’t have happened had I played it straightforwardly and possibly gone bust with that set.



13 years ago

Nice to see Matusow have a great year and better to see him say what consistently successful tournament players all know: in a tournament, reads trump odds.

Go Mike!


13 years ago

Say what you like about Mike, he has mad skills! Bottom line is it's always all about results.Very few will remember that Jonathan Little made some very dubious plays and got lucky to take this title down. They will remember the money and the trophy. Should Mike call to his 10 out redraw? I don't know. What I do know is that he trusted his correct read, made the right decsion for himself and went on to the final table and a cash. It's very evident that Mike has made great strides in the last year. I think if he ever gets his meds dialed in perfect and sweeps away the last vestiges of his "I run so bad..they play so bad" attidute he will be virtually unstoppable. Congratulations and Good Luck Mike.


13 years ago

Mike Matusow was diagnose with Manic Depression aka BiPolar Disorder.
I'm not a fan of his past behavior but he's doing great now with medication and therapy.
Dutch Boyd happens to have BiPolar Disorder but never let that stop him from being a Pro Poker Player who has made a lot of money too bad he has caught a rough patch.