Matt Waxman Finally Gets What's Due
Veteran Poker Pro Finally Wins First Gold Bracelet Following Brutally-Tough Heads-Up Match
Nothing came easy for Matthew Waxman, either before or during the latest WSOP gold bracelet event.Leading up to Event 7, Waxman had 18 WSOP cashes, and more than half a million in tournament earnings. However, he lacked the one defining victory symbolized in the gold bracelet, which separates those who merely hope from those who actually achieve.Indeed, Waxman became the ultimate achiever late on a Tuesday night at the Rio in Las Vegas where he outlasted 1,837 players in the $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em tournament that began two days earlier. Yet no opponent proved more of a challenge than gold bracelet winner Eric Baldwin, who served as Waxman's final obstacle.Whatever it took to survive the initial stages playing among a few thousand players was a breeze compared to the brutal back and forth heads-up struggle between Waxman and Baldwin, who combined to create a duel for the ages.Clocking in at almost seven hours and 187 hands, the final heads-up match featured world-class poker at its very finest. With a loaded gallery of spectators including many of the game's most respected players watching, including some divided loyalties among the crowd, Waxman and Baldwin exchanged the chip lead multiple times. Moreover, each player managed to catch miracle cards at various points which made the heads-up match all the more exciting and fun to watch.However, in the end, Waxman vanquished his final foe and managed to lift the weight off his shoulders of being grouped among the best poker players in the world never to have won a WSOP title. No more will that be a tag attached to Waxman. For his victory, he pocketed $305,952 in prize money.“It's a huge milestone for me as a professional poker player,” Waxman said in a post-tournament interview. “I didn't win as much money this time, but am much happier with this when I won World Poker Tour Paris. It's just such a big event for any poker player to get his first bracelet. Now, I'm like in the gold bracelet club. I feel phenomenal.”Waxman is a 28-year-old poker pro from Parkland, FL. Up until this tournament, he had 18 cashes at the WSOP. He also won a World Poker Tour in Paris a few years ago.“I'm now two-thirds of the way to a Triple Crown,” Waxman said in reference to the supreme trio of poker titles – winning at the WSOP, the WPT, and the EPT. “I guess I'll have to go to Europe now and start grinding those EPTs.”
MEET GOLD BRACELET WINNER – MATT WAXMAN
Name: Matthew Waxman
Birthplace: Princeton, NJ (USA)
Current Residence: Parkland, FL (USA)
Marital Status: Single
Profession: Professional Poker Player
WSOP Cashes (including this event): 19
First WSOP Cash (year): 2009
WSOP Final Table Appearances: 4
WSOP Wins (with this victory): 1
INTERVIEW WITH THE CHAMPION
WSOP: How does it feel to win your first WSOP gold bracelet?
Waxman: It's a huge weight rght off my back. They made me work for this one.
WSOP: So, how do you feel after nearly seven hours of heads-up play?
Waxman: Speechless and exhausted.
WSOP: This was a really tough final table. Discuss that.
Waxman: I really had to work hard to win this one. I can't believe I had to work this hard at a final table for a $1K. This was probably harder than a lot of $10K final tables.
WSOP: Talk more about the endurance test of playing heads up with Eric Baldwin.
Waxman: I don't think I had an endurance edge. If anything, he probably had me there...It was so hard to focus. I couldn't even add the pot at one pot. I was like 'what's 180,000 plus 180,000 – I can't do it.' Then, I would forget the antes and wonder, 'what's the number?'
WSOP: Is there added significance to this win, beating Baldwin, also a gold bracelet winner, heads-up?
Waxman: It definitely makes the bracelet that much sweeter. I played for several hours heads up and also beat a former CardPlayer Player of the Year, so, you know he knows what he's doing. He played very, very well post flop today. So that made me put a lot more in preflop. I didn't think I could get an edge on him after the flop. When you are playing against the best players, you have to find your value in the other spots.
WSOP: How does this win alter our goals and plans for this year's WSOP?
Waxman: I'd like to be able to pull off two this summer. That's the next goal.
WSOP: What's next after tonight?
Waxman: Tonight? I want to get really drunk and go bowling.