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Mike Matusow

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Mike Matusow
Mike Matusow 2008.jpg
Mike Matusow at the 2008 World Series of Poker
Nickname(s)The Mouth
ResidenceLas Vegas, Nevada
Born (1968-04-30) April 30, 1968 (age 51)
Los Angeles, California
World Series of Poker
Final table(s)13
Money finish(es)43
Highest ITM
Main Event finish
6th, 2001
World Poker Tour
Final table(s)5
Money finish(es)10
Information accurate as of 28 February 2012.

Michael Matusow (born April 30, 1968 in Los Angeles, California) is an American professional poker player residing in Henderson, Nevada. Matusow's nickname of "The Mouth" reflects his reputation for trash-talking at the poker table, he is also known for sometimes ruining hours or days of good play with a single misjudgment (known as a "Mike Matusow Blow-up" or "Mike Matusow Meltdown").[1][2][3]

Matusow began playing poker seriously in the early 1990s, first while working as a poker dealer, then as a professional player,[4] his successes include being a four-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner[5][6][7] and the winner of the 2005 World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions.[8]

Early years[edit]

Matusow was first introduced to poker when he played video poker at the Maxim Casino at the age of 18, he was a regular and played so much that he suffered from repetitive strain injury in his shoulders and arms. He occasionally stole money from his mother's purse and at one point attended Gamblers Anonymous meetings. Matusow was taught Texas hold 'em in 1989 by a rounder named Steve Samaroff.[9]

Poker career[edit]

At the 1998 World Series of Poker (WSOP), Matusow paid part of Scotty Nguyen's entrance fee into a satellite event for the $10,000 no limit Texas hold 'em Main Event. Nguyen went on to win, and gave $333,333 to Matusow in return for his partial stake.[9][10] In 1999, Matusow won his first WSOP bracelet, winning the $3,500 No Limit Hold'em event defeating Alex Brenes heads-up to win the title.

In 2001, he finished 6th place in the WSOP $10,000 no limit Hold 'em main event. Matusow says that the decisive hand was when he was bluffed by eventual champion Juan Carlos Mortensen, but did not trust his instincts to call.[9][11]

At the 2002 WSOP, Matusow won his second bracelet by winning the $5,000 Omaha Hi-Low Split 8 or Better event, he defeated fellow professional poker player Daniel Negreanu to win the tournament.

In the 2005 WSOP, Matusow finished 9th out of 5,619 players in the main event, winning $1,000,000.[12] Several months later, he won the WSOP Tournament of Champions in a heads-up battle against Hoyt Corkins, earning another $1,000,000 in the process, making him the first player to win two million dollar prizes in the same year, he also placed third in the Tournament of Champions the following year, winning $250,000.[8][13]

At the 2008 World Series of Poker, Matusow won a third bracelet in the $5000 No Limit 2–7 Draw with rebuys event defeating Jeff Lisandro heads up for the $537,862 first prize.[7] Later in the same year he finished 30th out of 6,844 players in the Main Event, making yet another deep run in the Main Event.

Matusow won his fourth bracelet in 2013 in the $5,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Split 8 or Better tournament, defeating Matthew Ashton heads-up and earning $266,503.

World Series of Poker bracelets[edit]

Year Event Prize money
1999 $3,500 No Limit Hold 'em $265,475[5]
2002 $5,000 Omaha Hi-Low Split 8 or Better $148,520[6]
2008 $5,000 No Limit 2–7 Draw w/Rebuys $537,862[7]
2013 $5,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Split 8 or Better $266,503

Other poker ventures[edit]

In October 2004, Matusow made his first World Poker Tour (WPT) final table at the UltimateBet Aruba Classic, earning $250,000 for 3rd place.[14] In 2006, he finished runner-up to Tony G in the WPT Bad Boys of Poker II in heads-up play.[15] Matusow also appeared in Poker Superstars III, where he made it to the Elite Eight. In the winner-take-all championship match, Matusow beat seven other players to win $500,000, he also appeared in the second, third, fourth, and sixth season of High Stakes Poker.[16][17] In September 2006, Mike made his debut on the European Poker Tour (EPT) in Barcelona; however, he was eliminated on the first day. In early 2007, Matusow appeared on two episodes of Poker After Dark where he finished 3rd and 2nd respectively, he plays online poker under the following aliases: "dill pickle" (UltimateBet); "mrpokejoke" (PokerStars); and "Mike Matusow" (Full Tilt Poker, where he was formerly a member of "Team Full Tilt").[1][4]

In July 2007, Matusow won $671,320 after coming in second place at the World Poker Tour Bellagio Cup III Championship after online pro Kevin Saul defeated him during heads-up play.[18] On November 11, 2008 at the World Poker Tour Foxwoods World Poker Finals, Matusow made another WPT final table, He was eliminated after his A J didn't improve against Jonathan Little's hand of 9 9, he finished in 6th place, earning $124,048.

In 2013, Matusow won the NBC National Heads-Up Championship, defeating Phil Hellmuth 2-1 in the final.

As of August 2014, his total live tournament winnings exceed $9,000,000.[19] $3,580,911 of his winnings have come at the WSOP.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Matusow has had several personal problems, he has battled drug issues, including a six-month stint in jail in 2004 and 2005 after being caught providing ecstasy and prescription painkillers to an undercover police officer who pretended to befriend Matusow and gained his trust. After several months of an official Las Vegas Metro Police "Sting Operation", Matusow was arrested and charged with six category A Felonies, all drug related.[21] A plea deal was later reached where Matusow was incarcerated in the Clark County Detention Center for six months.[22][23]

Matusow resides in Henderson, Nevada, he often wears a gold chain with the Hebrew symbol 'chai' around his neck.[9] Additionally, Matusow hosted Card Player's poker radio show/podcast, the Circuit, before being replaced by Gavin Smith and Joe Sebok,[24] he was also the host of Card Player's now defunct online video segment, "The Mouthpiece." In one episode, Mike discussed the controversial superuser cheating scandal, as well as seeking legal action as a victim of the scandal against the main perpetrator, former World Series of Poker Champion Russ Hamilton.[25]

Matusow wrote an autobiography titled Check Raising the Devil that was released May 12, 2009.[26]


  1. ^ a b Anonymous. "Mike Matusow – Poker Player Profile". Retrieved August 6, 2006.
  2. ^ DiMeglio, Steve (July 27, 2006). "Wild ride for Matusow". USA Today.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b Anonymous. "Mike Matusow". Full Tilt Poker. Archived from the original on August 7, 2006. Retrieved August 6, 2006. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  5. ^ a b Butt, Robert. "1999 World Series of Poker $3,500 No Limit Hold 'em event results". The Hendon Mob. Retrieved August 6, 2006.
  6. ^ a b Butt, Robert. "2002 World Series of Poker $5,000 Omaha hi/lo event results". The Hendon Mob. Retrieved August 6, 2006.
  7. ^ a b c "2008 World Series of Poker Event #18 $5,000 No-Limit 2–7 Draw w/ Rebuys: Matusow Tops Lisandro for Win". Poker News. June 12, 2008. Archived from the original on June 14, 2008. Retrieved June 12, 2008.
  8. ^ a b Butt, Robert. "2005 World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions results". The Hendon Mob. Retrieved August 6, 2006.
  9. ^ a b c d Kaplan, Michael (August 2006). "Me and My Big Mouth". Total Gambler. Retrieved June 1, 2007.
  10. ^ Matusow, Mike; Amy Calistri; Tim Lavalli (May 2009). Mike Matusow: Check-Raising the Devil. ISBN 978-1-58042-261-1.
  11. ^ Butt, Robert. "2001 World Series of Poker $10,000 No Limit Hold 'em main event results". The Hendon Mob. Retrieved August 6, 2006.
  12. ^ Butt, Robert. "2005 World Series of Poker $10,000 No Limit Hold 'em main event results". The Hendon Mob. Retrieved August 6, 2006.
  13. ^ Butt, Robert. "2006 World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions results". The Hendon Mob. Retrieved August 6, 2006.
  14. ^ Butt, Robert. "WPT Aruba Poker Classic results". The Hendon Mob. Retrieved August 6, 2006.
  15. ^ Butt, Robert. "WPT Bad Boys of Poker II results". The Hendon Mob. Retrieved August 6, 2006.
  16. ^ Anonymous. "FSN: Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament 3". Fox Sports Network. Retrieved August 6, 2006.
  17. ^ Burton, Earl. "'High Stakes Poker' Back For A Second Season In June". Retrieved August 6, 2006.
  18. ^ Butt, Robert. "WPT $10,000 Bellagio Cup III results". The Hendon Mob. Retrieved July 15, 2007.
  19. ^ Butt, Robert. "Mike Matusow – Stats". The Hendon Mob. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
  20. ^ World Series of Poker Earnings,
  21. ^
  22. ^
  24. ^ Anonymous. "The Circuit".
  25. ^ The Mouthpiece: Episode 61 – The Mouthpiece Video. Retrieved on April 18, 2011.
  26. ^ Poker Videos – Card Player TV. Retrieved on April 18, 2011.

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