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Poker Player Profile: Mike Matusow

By: Kenneth Bateman

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Mike Matusow “The Mouth,” is an emotional, and occasionally volatile player, who can be aggressive and verbal. His personality and playing style can often be disconcerting to some players and fans, while others see him as a harmless, clownish player.

However, there is no denying his poker table skills. You don’t win two World Series of Poker Bracelets through luck alone. In fact, he is considered by many to be the best Omaha player of all.

Mike started earning a living at poker as a Las Vegas casino dealer. After working hours he would go down to the poker room at Sam’s Town and play all night. He soon realized that he had the ability to make a living at this game, and could do much better financially as a player than as a dealer.

Mike was born April 30, 1968, in Los Angeles, California, and currently resides in Henderson, Nevada. His interest in poker began in his early twenties when playing video poker at the Maxim Casino in Las Vegas. Shortly thereafter he met a veteran poker pro named Steve Samarath who taught Mike the game of Texas Hold ‘em. Mike learned his lessons well, and after plunging into full-time play as a professional player began to win some fat prizes, revealing positive proof of his well-learned skill.

Strangely enough, it was as a sponsor and not as a player, that has earned Mike his second biggest payday. In 1998, Matusow was on of Scotty Nguyen’s backers, contributing one third of the $10,000 buy-in required for a World Series of Poker Satellite Event. Nguyen won, and Mike’s one-third share of Scotty’s winnings was an impressive $333,333.

As a player, Mike won his first WSOP bracelet in 1999 in the $3500 No- Limit Texas Hold ‘em Event, taking home $265,475 in prize money. Matusow’s second WSOP bracelet was won in 2002, at the WSOP $5,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Split Event, in which he won $148,520.

Playing in the World Poker Tour’s UltimateBet Aruba Classic in October, 2004, Mike left the tourney richer by some $250,000, but finished second to Tony G in the World Poker Tour Bad Boys of Poker II.

All told, as of 2006, Matusow has earned well over four million dollars in live tournament poker competition. As mentioned, Mike is an emotional person who, to his credit, has overcome some serious personal problems in recent years. He takes medication to control what has been diagnosed as an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and takes medication to control it.

Mike has had to overcome some drug difficulties as well, which ran him afoul of the law, ending with a six month prison sentence which he served until April, 2005. Mike feels that his drug problems and his urge to “live the fast life” are lessons learned, and has profoundly changed his views on life. He now lives comfortably, and quietly, in a large home in Henderson, and drives a $90,000 BMW 645 CI which he purchased with the whopping $750,000 prize money won in an online poker tournament.

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Kenneth Bateman writes numerous articles on the subject of poker and its players. To read more player profiles or to Play Poker from XL

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