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2010 World Series of Poker November Nine Profile -- Matthew Jarvis

Likable Canadian Pro Kept Emotions in Check During Main Event


Matthew JarvisAs Matthew Jarvis was starting the main event, his father was starting chemotherapy and radiation. Just before the 25-year-old Canadian came out to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker, he learned that his dad had been diagnosed with cancer on the throat and tonsils.

“It was a real shocker. It came out of nowhere. He’s a pretty healthy guy, and it was just really weird,” said Jarvis. “I was thinking about staying home and being with him and skipping the Series this year, but he said, ‘No, I want you to go.’”

So Jarvis came to the Rio, trying to stay focused on the action at the table as best he could. At every chance he got, he called home. Up to half a dozen times a day during the main event, he would call his father, sometimes waiting until the scheduled breaks and other times just stepping away from the table after a hand to call him.

“Whenever I talked to him though, he [was] so excited that I was doing so well,” said Jarvis. “It was almost keeping him positive through this whole situation.”

It was on a trip with his dad that Jarvis first played poker in a casino. While Jarvis showed that his live game was in fine form en route to his appearance in this year’s November Nine, most of his previous poker success has come online.

Playing under the handle “Jarfish” online, he cashed for $103,000 after chopping the Sunday Warm-up, and he has two other results of about $50,000 after winning the Sunday Second Chance and a $200 rebuy online.

Matthew JarvisLike seven of his other table-mates, he does not currently hold a full-time job with his primary income coming from the poker tables. Unlike those seven, however, Jarvis is the only one who has hesitated to use the term “poker professional” to describe himself.

“Right now, I don’t really have a profession. I’m trying out poker for a little bit, but I haven’t quite reached the professional status,” said Jarvis. “I’ve been doing it here and there to make money, but I guess this might be the turning point where I can say I am now a poker professional.”

The Canadian said he would consider looking into getting some coaching during the lay-off, but acknowledged that he had a good poker group around him with which he could discuss strategy.

Before playing poker for his primary source of income, Jarvis had run the gauntlet in terms of jobs. He worked the graveyard shift at a lumber yard, served in a café, and even worked in sales. A few years ago, he was a door-to-door salesman as he tried to convince would-be customers to buy Cutco knives.

Now, he has a chance to win nearly $9 million and guarantee that he’ll never have to work another graveyard shift in his life.

During the lay-off, Jarvis said he’s going to take some time off from poker and spend it with his family and his girlfriend. For a living, he has been playing $5-$10 and $10-$20 no-limit hold’em cash games live and tournaments online. But for the next few weeks, he’s just going to take it easy.

After he refuels, he will focus on preparation for November.

“Eventually, I do want to really look over the videos and get some information on the players,” said Jarvis, who sounds both modest and extremely grateful that he made poker’s biggest stage. “This is kind of every poker player’s dream. It’s nice that the dream has become a reality.”

Matthew Jarvis