Two for Two:  Two Years, Two WSOP Gold Bracelets

Matt Matros Wins Second Bracelet at 2011 WSOP

Brooklyn Poker Pro Wins $2,500 Buy-in Mixed Hold’em Title

Champion Rakes-In $303,501 Pot

Full House at the 2011 WSOP -- Tournament Attendance on a Record Pace

2011 WSOP Total Prize Money Crosses $100 Million Mark – With Main Event Still to Come

52 Gold Bracelets Won – Six More Events Still to Go


Matt Matros, 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.

Matros grew 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 University. 

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.

Matros has 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 $189,870.

This 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.

Matros’ 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 tournament portal page HERE.


The 2011 World Series of Poker $2,500 buy-in Mixed Hold’em champion is Matt Matros, from Brooklyn, NY.

Matros is 34-years-old.   He was born in West Hampton, NY which is located on Long Island.

Matros is married.

Matros graduated from Yale University with a degree in mathematics.  He later received an M.F.A. from Sarah Lawrence University.

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.

Matros is currently working on a novel.  It is not about poker.  He says he hopes to finish the book soon.

Matros worked 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).  

Matros has been playing poker seriously since 1999 and has relied on poker for the majority of his income since 2002.

Matros has accumulated more than $2 million in overall career tournament winnings.

Matros has 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).

Matros has 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.

For this victory, Matros collected $303,501 for first place.

According to official records, Matros now has 2 wins, 5 final table appearances and 23 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP. 

Matros currently 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 amazing feeling.”

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 others:

“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 official final table was comprised of the top nine finishers. 

The final table contained two former gold bracelet winners – Matt Matros and Matt Hawrilenko.

Three different 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.

Final table play began Saturday at 3 p.m.  Played concluded about 9 hours later (playing time wise) at midnight. 

The final 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 July.

Action was streamed live over  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. 


The top 54 finishers collected prize money.

Among the 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).

Tournament results are to be included in all official WSOP records.  Results are also to be included in the 2011 WSOP “Player of the Year” race.

“WSOP Player of the Year” standings can be found at HERE.


This tournament attracted 580 entries.

The average 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 Championship.

The official 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.

Matros’ gold 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.


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 to winners. 

With the conclusion of this weekend’s tournaments, the total prize pool for all events has crossed the $100 million mark.

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the breakdown of nationality of gold bracelet winners has been:

United States (32)

Canada (5)

Ukraine (4)

France (4)

Great Britain (3)

Russia (2)

Brazil (1)

Pakistan (1)

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been:

United States (28)

Canada (5)

Ukraine (4)

France (4)

Great Britain (3)

Russia (2)

Israel (1)

Honduras (1)

Indonesia (1)

Germany (1)

Brazil (1)

Pakistan (1)

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the home-states of (American) winners have been:

California (6)

New York (6)

Nevada (5)

Texas (3)

Illinois (2)

Florida (2)

Connecticut (2)

New Jersey (1)

Tennessee (1)

Indiana (1)

Maryland (1)

Virginia (1)

Michigan (1)

North Dakota (1)

Washington (1)

Ohio (1)

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the breakdown of professional poker players to semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets has been:

Professional Players (40):  Jake 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

Since 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.

Through the 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.

Every 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.

The highest 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).

The highest 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.

Reigning 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:

Johnny Moss (1975)

Doyle Brunson (1977)

Bobby Baldwin (1979)

Stu Ungar (1981)

Johnny Chan (1988)

Hamid Dastmalchi (1993)

Chris “Jesus” Ferguson (2001)

By contrast, 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.

New tournament records set at the 2011 WSOP (to date):

Biggest Heads-Up tournament prize pool in history ($3,040,000) – Event #2

Largest live Omaha High-Low Split Tournament in history (925 entries) – Event #3

Largest live Six-Handed tournament in poker history (1,920 entries) – Event #10

Biggest Deuce-to-Seven tournament prize pool in history ($1,184,400) – Event #16

Largest live $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history with single day start (3157 entries) – Event #18

Largest live $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history with single day start (3175 entries) – Event #20

Largest consecutive-days starting field sizes in poker history (combined 6,332 entries) – Event #18 and Event #20

Largest live Pot-Limit Omaha tournament in poker history (1,071 entries) – Event #22

Largest Mixed-Game (Eight-Game Mix) in poker history (489 entries) – Event #23

Largest Seniors tournament in poker history (3,752 entries) – Event #30

Biggest Seniors No-Limit Hold’em championship prize pool in history ($3,376,800) – Event #30

Largest 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, 2011

Largest Mixed Pot-Limit tournament in history (606 entries) – Event #39

Biggest Pot-Limit Omaha prize pool in live poker history ($3,393,400) – Event #42

New player records set at the 2011 WSOP (to date):

The 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).

Phil Hellmuth Jr. added to his record as the individual all-time leader in cashes (83) and final table appearances (42).

Howard “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).


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.