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Mike Matusow -- What's My Line?

Matusow Talks About a Snow Gone Wrong In No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Lowball


Mike MatusowMike Matusow will probably always be more known for his personality than his skill at the table, yet there is no denying the impressive numbers that he continues to put up year after year.

At the 2008 World Series of Poker, Matusow picked up his third gold bracelet by winning the $5,000 no-limit deuce-to-seven lowball event. Matusow earned $537,862 for the victory and has since bumped his career earnings to just under $7 million.

This year, two deuce-to-seven events have already been played, with notables Phil Ivey and Nick Schulman winning. Matusow was deep in both and was just a few players shy of cashing before his falling just short.

In the $2,500 event, Matusow flamed out in stunning fashion, choosing the wrong time to bluff near the money bubble and running into a monster. Below, Matusow gives his reasoning behind the play and offers up some important information about playing deuce.

NOTE: In this tournament, players are not able to limp. A raise is required to enter the pot. Tables were played seven-handed.

Event – Blinds/Antes Event No. 8 400-800 with a 200 ante
Player Mike Matusow Yan Chen
Chip Count 43,200 57,200
Hand 4-3-2-2-2 8-7-6-5-2

The Hand

Yan ChenMike Matusow opened from middle position to 2,400 and was called by a player behind him. Yan Chen the reraised to 8,000 in position.

Matusow decided to reraise to 20,000 and the previous caller mucked his hand. Chen called and Matusow stood pat.

Chen also stood pat and Matusow fired in his last 23,000. Chen called and Matusow said, “You got it,” mucking his bluff attempt with 4-3-2-2-2.

Chen showed 8-7-6-5-2 and took the chip lead with 105,000. Matusow was eliminated just short of the money.

The Interview

Mike MatusowJulio Rodriguez: Mike, can you talk about your bluff bustout in the $2,500 deuce-to-seven event?

Mike Matusow: Yeah, I was dealt 4-3-2-2-2 so I had almost total coverage. I came in for a raise and it was called and he (Yan Chen) reraised. It was almost like a squeeze play and he hadn’t been raising too many pots.

JR: What were you giving him credit for at this point?

MM: To be honest I gave him like a 10-8 smooth or similar in his hand. I decided to reraise him just because he is one of the only players I know who is capable of laying down a big hand like that.

JR: In hindsight, were you happy with that play?

MM: I’m fine with that if I had stopped there. Once he called the 12,000, I really should have pulled out of the bluff and just drew two. Thinking back on it, if he had a hand like 10-8 or whatever then he would have called for the rest of my stack anyway.

Instead, I shipped it and he called right away with a dealt 8-7-6-5-2. It was a blow up on my part and a bad misread.

JR: Do you think you were unlucky that he was dealt such a good hand when you held so many blocker cards?

MM: It’s not so unlucky that he was dealt such a strong hand. That can happen at any time. What was unlucky was that not only was he dealt an eight, but I was dealt a good snowing* hand, making me believe he had a rough hand that he could possibly lay down.

JR: I heard you tell David Benyamine to never play out of position. Is that what hurt you in this hand?

MM: Never, never play out of position. It’s so important in deuce. I’m pretty strict about it. It’s a game of no-limit. It becomes so much easier to play in position. Decisions get easier and your chances to win the hand increase.

JR: I noticed during the tournament that there was almost no check-raising post-draw. Is that something a good player should utilize more often?

Mike MatusowMM: I do. If someone is making a habit out of value betting light with something like a ten or a jack, every once in a while I’ll put him to the test with a big check-raise. All of a sudden, a hand that would normally win at showdown turns into a big decision for the guy who bet on the end.

JR: What about turning decent hands into a bluff catcher? Let’s say you are out of position and draw a nine low. Do you value bet or let them bet it for you?

MM: It depends on the player, but you’ll earn more by checking. When you bet into them, you won’t gain anything if they missed. They’ll just muck. I frequently check it to them when I make medium hands like a nine or so. It’s like they always bet it whether they miss completely or make something worse. At that point I’ll just stare them down and decide whether I should just call or put in the raise.

JR: So I take it that because this is essentially a two-street game, reads become more important.

MM: Reads are everything. All I do is look into their eyes. I don’t look at my cards; I don’t look at anything else. I just see what I can pick up during the hand and make the right move. That’s how I was able to pick off Jeffrey Lisandro like ten times during the tournament. I just know.

  • Snowing — To bluff in draw poker by refusing to draw any cards.


over 12 years ago

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