Two: Two Years, Two WSOP Gold Bracelets
Matt Matros Wins
Second Bracelet at 2011 WSOP
Pro Wins $2,500 Buy-in Mixed Hold’em Title
Full House at
the 2011 WSOP -- Tournament Attendance on a Record Pace
Total Prize Money Crosses $100 Million Mark – With Main Event Still to Come
Bracelets Won – Six More Events Still to Go
a 34-year-old professional poker player, collected his second WSOP gold
bracelet Saturday night after winning Event #52 -- the $2,500 buy-in, Mixed Hold’em
(Limit/No Limit) championship. For his
well-deserved victory, Matros was awarded $303,501 in first place prize money
along with his second WSOP gold bracelet.
up on Long Island, New York. He earned a
degree in mathematics at Yale University.
He also received a Master’s degree in fine arts from Sarah Lawrence
Over the years,
he has applied his considerable talents to computer science, writing, and
teaching. Matros is the author of “The
Making of a Poker Player,” which chronicles his early years transitioning from
student/employee into a full-time poker pro.
Matros previously cashed in several major tournaments.
also done quite well at the WSOP, finishing in-the-money 22 times. In 2008, Matros cashed in the WSOP Main Event
championship, finishing 78th out of 6,844 players. Last year, he cashed in the Main Event again,
taking 539th place out of 7,319 entries. Last year, Matros beat out 624 opponents in
the $1,500 Limit Hold’em Event to claim his first WSOP gold bracelet, worth
tournament was played over three days and attracted 580 players, generating a
total prize pool of $1,319,500. Matros
faced a formidable final table of foes -- including close friend, Matt
Hawrilenko who was knocked out by Matros in third place. The runner up was Jonathan Lane, who
collected a consolation prize worth $187,844.
triumph today gives him $895,196 in career WSOP earnings.
Only six gold
bracelet events now remain -- including the Main Event Championship which
begins July 7th.
For a comprehensive recap of Event
#52, please visit the WSOP.com tournament portal page HERE.
EVENT #52 CHAMPION – MATT MATROS
World Series of Poker $2,500 buy-in Mixed Hold’em champion is Matt Matros, from
Matros is 34-years-old. He was born in West Hampton, NY which is
located on Long Island.
graduated from Yale University with a degree in mathematics. He later received an M.F.A. from Sarah
Matros is a
true renaissance man. He is a writer,
teacher, and poker player – with numerous interests and ambitions. Matros wrote a revealing biography called
“The Making of a Poker Player” (published in 2005), which chronicles his early
years transitioning from student/employee into a full-time poker pro.
currently working on a novel. It is not
about poker. He says he hopes to finish
the book soon.
as a software engineer before deciding to pursue a poker career.
Matros was a
dedicated poker player long before the poker boom. He final tabled the second year of the
Tournament of Champions (2001). He later
cashed in several other major tournaments).
been playing poker seriously since 1999 and has relied on poker for the
majority of his income since 2002.
accumulated more than $2 million in overall career tournament winnings.
many close supporters who are well-known poker pros. The list includes Greg “Fossilman” Raymer,
Andy Bloch, Jerrod Ankenman, Bill Chen, Robert “Action Bob” Hwang, Spencer Sun,
Terrance Chan and Matt Hawrilenko (who finished third in this event).
regularly attended poker community events including BARGE (Las Vegas), FARGO
(Foxwoods), and ATLARGE (Atlantic City).
The annual gathering attracts a few hundred of poker’s brightest and
most dedicated pros, semi-pros, and aspirants.
The BARGE community includes notable poker players such as Andy Bloch,
Greg Raymer, Terrance Chan, Bill Chen, Jerrod Ankenman, Steve Brecher, Gavin
Smith and several others.
Matros was a
regular player in a private poker tournament played at the home of 2004 WSOP
Champion Greg Raymer when he lived in Connecticut. The tournament was known as the Fossilman
Invitational Heads-Up Poker Tournament (FIHUPT). Matros boasted that he once finished second
in Raymer’s tournament.
victory, Matros collected $303,501 for first place.
official records, Matros now has 2 wins, 5 final table appearances and 23
in-the-money finishes at the WSOP.
has $895,196 in career WSOP winnings.
Matros is to
be classified as a professional poker player (in WSOP records and stats).
Does the second gold bracelet feel
better than the first?
“The first was a
unique feeling. You cannot really repeat
the feeling of winning your first bracelet at the World Series of Poker. This one feels great. It is not like the first one, but it is an
Is there something that you took from
last year’s gold bracelet-winning experience?
Talk about the education of a poker player:
“I was really pleased
with the way I focused heads up. After
playing three long days it is pretty easy to just say, ‘Alright. I have already
locked up second place money. I am going
to kind of lose focus now.’ Last year I
felt like when we got heads up even though I was tired and even though I had
locked up a lot of money I was really able to focus and play my best game. Last year I had the chip lead, I lost it
heads up, and I was able to battle back.
This year the same thing happened.
I went into heads up with a three to one chip lead and then I went down
three to two and I kind of remembered last year and went, ‘You know what? We’re playing for a lot of money here. I’m going to focus as hard as I can to try to
win my second bracelet. If I come up
short I come up short, but I am going to be in the zone and playing the best
possible game I can. Then at least if I
lose I can say I went down playing my best.”
Would you rather win second prize and
$700,000 or, a gold bracelet and $500,000?
“I think I will take
the extra 200,000, but the bracelet is definitely meaningful. There is definitely some number where I would
take the bracelet, but I think it is less than 200,000. In some sense almost anybody can win one
bracelet. It is pretty hard to win two
and I feel incredibly fortunate today that I was able to get such good cards at
this final table against other players who had good cards. Brandon Meyers is an outstanding player and
he had two Queens and I had two Kings and that is just a situation where we are
going to get all the money in no matter what and one of us is going to
win. I feel really lucky it happened to
be me and I happened to run so good today.”
On the accomplishments of his rail of
supporters -- which included Andy Bloch, Terrence Chan, Matt Hawrilenko and
“The game theory math
guys have done alright in World Series of Poker present and past.”
You are a very educated man. There’s a myriad of other things you could
apply your skill set to. What is it
about poker that drives you?
“For starters, I have
never fit into the corporate nine-to-five mold.
I think that is true for a lot of poker players. The game itself has always been really
appealing to me because it combines logic with personal skills and the
adrenaline rush and immediacy of playing a hand and then having to deal with
the next hand no matter what just happened the last hand. It really combines a lot of different skill
sets that I have always found fascinating and been drawn to. I am going to be playing the $1,000
tournament tomorrow with 6,000 people.
That feels a little bit more like work than when you make it to the
final table and you play for a bracelet.
The adrenaline rushes come and go especially when you have been playing
for 10 or so years like I have. That is
really what drew me to the game. It of
course did not hurt that I was able to support myself in doing it. I do not think I would have been able to play
this long if I had not been able to make a living at it. It is kind of a fortunate combination of
being able to earn a living and doing something I enjoy.”
On the advantage Limit Hold’em players
have in a Mixed game format:
“I agree Limit
players have an advantage in this tournament for a couple reasons. One is that levels are based on half hour
time limits instead of number of hands.
No-Limit hands just take longer.
You have to ante every hand and decisions just take longer to think
about so we end up playing a lot more Limit hands than No-Limit hands. Another thing is the blinds are so much
bigger in Limit. Early in the tournament
it does not really matter how big the blinds are because you have tons of
blinds in both games so they do not really play big. When you get late, if you can pick up a
couple of blinds here and there it is just huge for your stack size. Every Limit round the stack sizes were
swinging widely five-handed here. That’s
really to a Limit player’s advantage although when you get five-handed there is
a huge of amount in Limit Hold’em, too.
For those reasons, Limit players are at an advantage in this event. That is good for me because I am a Limit
player, but for the sake of the purity of the event I would not mind seeing
them go to a counting hands based system, like in the mixed events, for next
year. Nine hands of Limit, nine of hands
of No-Limit. That would level the
playing field a little bit between the No-Limit and the Limit players. You really would have to be pretty good at
both games if that were the case. In this
case you can get by just being okay at No-Limit.”
THE FINAL TABLE
final table was comprised of the top nine finishers.
table contained two former gold bracelet winners – Matt Matros and Matt
nations were represented at the final table – Netherlands (1 player), Russia (1
player) and the United States (7 players).
The runner up
was Jonathan Lane, from Menasha, WI. He
collected $187,844 in prize money.
play began Saturday at 3 p.m. Played
concluded about 9 hours later (playing time wise) at midnight.
table was played on ESPN’s main stage. The
new final table set this year is getting raves in terms of design and
appearance. No stage in the history of
poker has ever looked as spectacular. Viewers
will be able to see ESPN’s coverage again once the WSOP Main Event begins in
streamed live over WSOP.com. Viewers can
tune in and watch most of this year’s final tables. Although hole cards are not shown, viewers
can follow an overhead camera as well as a pan-shot of the table. The floor announcer provides an official
account of the action.
OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS
The top 54
finishers collected prize money.
former gold bracelet winners that cashed in this event were – Matt Matros (1st),
Matt Hawrilenko (3rd), Max Pescatori (12th), Scott
Montgomery (16th), Chris Bell (35th), Konstantin Puchkov
(42nd) and Mike Matusow (54th).
are to be included in all official WSOP records. Results are also to be included in the 2011
WSOP “Player of the Year” race.
of the Year” standings can be found at WSOP.com HERE.
ODDS AND ENDS
attracted 580 entries.
age of entrants was 34.2 years. The
average age of players that cashed was 30.1 years.
There were 17
females who played in this tournament, representing 2.9 percent of the field.
This is the 944th
gold bracelet awarded in World Series of Poker history. This figure includes every official WSOP
event ever played, including tournaments during the early years when there were
no actual gold bracelets awarded. It
also includes the 16 gold bracelets awarded to date at WSOP Europe (2007-2010). Moreover for the first time ever, one gold
bracelet was awarded for this year’s winner of the WSOP Circuit National
WSOP gold bracelet ceremony takes place on the day following the winner’s
victory (or some hours later when the tournament ends very late). The ceremony takes place inside The Pavilion,
which is the expansive main tournament room hosting all noon starts this
year. The ceremony begins at the
conclusion of the first break of the noon tournament. The ceremony usually starts around 2:20 p.m. The national anthem of the winner’s nation is
played. The entire presentation is open
to the public and media. Video and
photography is permitted by both the public and members of the media.
bracelet ceremony is set to take place on Sunday, July 3rd. The national anthem of the winner’s country, USA,
will be played in honor of his victory.
2011 WSOP STATISTICS
Through the conclusion
of Event #52 the 2011 WSOP has attracted 59,307 combined total entries. $110,026,560 in prize money has been awarded
conclusion of this weekend’s tournaments, the total prize pool for all events has
crossed the $100 million mark.
conclusion of this tournament, the breakdown of nationality of gold bracelet
winners has been:
conclusion of this tournament, the national origin (birthplace) of winners has
conclusion of this tournament, the home-states of (American) winners have been:
New York (6)
conclusion of this tournament, the breakdown of professional poker players to
semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets has been:
Cody, Cheech Barbaro, Eugene Katchalov, Allen Bari, Harrison Wilder, Matt
Perrins, Sean Getzwiller, Viacheslav Zhukov, David Diaz, Andrew Badecker, Tyler
Bonkowski, Brian Rast, John Juanda, Aaron Steury, Darren Woods, Jason
Somerville, Bertrand Grospellier, John Monnette, Elie Payan, Mark Radoja, Chris Viox, Dan Idema, Andy Frankenberger, Chris Lee, Sam Stein, Mark Schmid, Jason
Mercier, Mikhail Lakhitov, Fabrice Soulier, Mitch Schock, Matt Jarvis, Justin
Pechie, Ben Lamb, Rep Porter, Andre Akkari, Joe Ebanks, Lenny Martin,
Athanasios Polychronopoulos, Antonin Teisseire, Matt Matros
Semi-Pros (5): Sean R. Drake, Amir Lehavot, Oleksii
Kovalchuk, Eric Rosawig, Arkadiy Tsinis
Amateurs (7): Geffrey Klein, Foster Hays, James Hess, Kirk
Caldwell, Ken Griffin, Owais Ahmed, David Singontiko
tracking first started in 2005, this year’s WSOP has the greatest disparity of
professionals winning over semi-pros and amateurs than any year recorded, so
far – with 45 out of 52 events being won by pros or semi-pros.
conclusion of this tournament, the victories of 11 of the 52 winners (21
percent) marked the first time the new champion had ever cashed at the WSOP.
held over the past 11 years has included at least one multiple gold bracelet
champion (meaning two or more wins within the same year). The last year the WSOP was comprised
exclusively of single-event winners was back in 1999. The record for most multiple gold bracelet
winners within a single year was in 2009, when five players managed to win two
or more titles. So far this year, no
player has yet won two gold bracelets.
The streak of
consecutive male WSOP gold bracelet winners has now reached 209 consecutive
events. Aside from the annual Ladies Poker
Championship, the last female player to win a WSOP tournament open to both
sexes was Vanessa Selbst, in 2008. The
longest “cold” streak for female players occurred between years 1982 and 1996,
when 221 consecutive open events passed without a female champion.
finish by any female (open events) at this year’s WSOP was by two players. Maria Ho finished second ($5,000 buy-in
No-Limit Hold’em). Kim Nguyen also
finished as the runner up ($1,500 buy-in Six-Handed Limit Hold’em).
finish by any defending champion at this year’s WSOP was by David Baker, who
after winning the previous $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Draw Lowball
World Championship finished in sixth place in defense of his title.
world poker champions rarely perform well the following year after their
victory. Chris “Jesus” Ferguson was the
last world champion to win a gold bracelet the next year, which happened in
2001. Perhaps it’s due to the increasing
size of the fields. But there’s also
great pressure on the champions to do well.
What follows is a list of the only world champions in history to win a gold
bracelet after winning the championship during the previous year:
players who make it to the final table of the Main Event Championship (November
Nine) one year tend to do quite well in subsequent WSOP years. Consider that last year, three former Main
Event finalists won gold bracelets – Eric Buchman, Tex Barch, and Scott
Montgomery. This year, Matt Jarvis won
his first gold bracelet one year after making it to the November Nine in 2010.
tournament records set at the 2011 WSOP (to date):
Heads-Up tournament prize pool in history ($3,040,000) – Event #2
live Omaha High-Low Split Tournament in history (925 entries) – Event #3
live Six-Handed tournament in poker history (1,920 entries) – Event #10
Deuce-to-Seven tournament prize pool in history ($1,184,400) – Event #16
live $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history with single day start
(3157 entries) – Event #18
live $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history with single day start
(3175 entries) – Event #20
consecutive-days starting field sizes in poker history (combined 6,332 entries)
– Event #18 and Event #20
live Pot-Limit Omaha tournament in poker history (1,071 entries) – Event #22
Mixed-Game (Eight-Game Mix) in poker history (489 entries) – Event #23
Seniors tournament in poker history (3,752 entries) – Event #30
Seniors No-Limit Hold’em championship prize pool in history ($3,376,800) –
single-day live tournament start in poker history (3,752 entries) – Event #30
Largest consecutive-days starting field
sizes in poker history (combined 6,580 entries) – Event #30/Event #32 (broke
Event #18/Event #20 record from earlier in 2011 WSOP)
Largest four-consecutive days field sizes in poker history
(2,500+3,752+2,828+3,144 =12,224 entries) -- Events 28, 30, 32, 34, June 16-19,
Largest Mixed Pot-Limit tournament in history (606 entries) –
Biggest Pot-Limit Omaha prize pool in live poker history
($3,393,400) – Event #42
records set at the 2011 WSOP (to date):
35-year span between Artie Cobb’s first cash in this event (1976) and most
recent cash in the same event (2011) represents the longest time span in WSOP
history. He accomplished this in
Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split (Event #25).
Hellmuth Jr. added to his record as the individual all-time leader in cashes
(83) and final table appearances (42).
“Tahoe” Andrew added to his record as the player with the longest consecutive
streak of WSOP appearances (entering at least one event), currently at 38 years
and counting (1974 to present).
RAISING AWARENESS: BAD BEAT ON CANCER AND THE WSOP
Bad Beat on
Cancer was created in 2003 by Phil Gordon and Rafe Furst as an easy and fun way
for poker players to donate to the Prevent Cancer Foundation. It all began when Chris Moneymaker pledged 1
percent of his 2003 Main Event winnings and went on to capture the championship,
contributing $25,000 when he was awarded the $2.500,000 first- place prize. By taking the pledge, wearing the patch, and
joining ‘Team 1%’, players can feel good supporting a cause that only benefits
when they win. As the official charity
of the WSOP, pledges simply indicate to the payouts staff that they are
donating 1 percent of their winnings, and the funds are automatically withheld.
A tax receipt is generated and sent to
their mailing address. Several high
profile professionals have made ‘life pledges’ of 1 percent of all their
winnings -- including Annie Duke, Phil Hellmuth Jr., Lee Childs, Paul Wasicka,
Andy Bloch, Dennis Phillips, and others. Since 2003, the initiative has raised over $3,500,000
for cancer prevention research, education, and community outreach programs. Players can pick up a patch and join Team 1%
by stopping by the Bad Beat on Cancer booth, located at the 2011 WSOP opposite
the Amazon Room in the concourse. The Nevada Cancer Institute based in Las Vegas
is a benefiting charity from the Bad Beat on Cancer.