Few poker players in history have endured more highs and lows, ups and downs, wins and losses than Mike Matusow.

Tonight at the 2013 World Series of Poker, Matusow enjoyed one of his greatest highs, ups, and wins.  The bombastic poker pro known as “The Mouth” for his incessant table chatter won his fourth gold bracelet.  His most recent victory came in an event Matusow considers to his best game – Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split.

Matusow collected $266,503.  However, the prize money figure didn't come up once in the nearly half-hour victory party Matusow hosted at table side, as several family and friends cheered and celebrated.

All of Matusow's attention was focused on a beaming cylinder of gold sprawled out on the green felt, an amulet which has come to symbolize excellence and endurance.  Sure, Matusow has been in this spot before.  Three previous times, in fact.  But this victory and this gold bracelet in particular seemed to carry even more meaning than past glories.

Perhaps that's because Matusow has not only stood the test of time in a game that has changed way beyond recognition from more than a decade ago when the 45-year-old poker pro from Las Vegas burst upon the poker scene in a flash, and then proceeded to flare out at times like a burned-out comet.  Perhaps it's those well-documented – even painful – trials and tribulations, both personal and professional, which added so much gravity to the weight of what this victory meant.

In an era when players half his age have evolved to the point where many now dominate the contemporary poker scene, Matusow remains a flashback to earlier times when personality and showmanship weren't just cheap publicity stunts, but skillfully choreographed weapons of the trade.  The very best players in the game, including Matusow, have since come to reflect an era that's all but faded away.  Moreover, his victory at the Rio in Las Vegas, in a $5,000 buy-in event comprised of many of the world's best players made this moment all the more satisfying to a player that can be just as tender and sentimental as abrasive and annoying.

An interesting caveat of the post-tournament interview session included one statement by Matusow which is probably worthy of serious discussion.  “I really think I belong in the Poker Hall of Fame,” Matusow said.  “If you look at my record, I'm right up there.”

Like him or loath him, Matusow is quite right.  Consider his (now) four WSOP gold bracelets, two Main Event final table appearances, an NBC Heads-Up Championship, two World Poker Tour titles, millions in tournament winnings, in addition to a solid track record in live action (cash) games for years, and Matusow's name does belong in the discussion.

Nonetheless, Matusow was also brutally honest about his state of affairs the many mistakes he's made, particularly in blowing most of  his winnings on the most outlandish wagers and poor lifestyle choices.

“Yeah, I've blown most of it,” Matusow said.  “But its's never been about money for me.  When my heads-on straight, I really believe I'm the best in the world.  Nobody can beat me when I'm playing my A-game.”

Matusow predicts that his opponents will see more than “A game” the rest of the series.

“My next goal is to win another,” he said.

The tournament drew 210 players.  The top 24 finishers were paid.  Aside from Matusow, gold bracelet winners who made the money included David “Bakes” Baker, Gavin Smith, Jose Luis-Velador, Eli Elezra, Brian Hastings, Eugene Katchalov, and Tom Schneider.

Tony “Top Cat” Cousineau cashed in this event, taking sixth place.  That's 55 cashes for his career – the most in-the-money finishes for any player in history without a gold bracelet win.

Frank Mariani also cashed, his first WSOP in-the-money finish since 2000.  Mariani is part-owner of the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers.


Name:  Mike Matusow
Current Residence:  Las Vegas, NV (USA)
Birthplace:  Los Angeles, CA (USA)
Age:  45
Marital Status:  Single (serious girlfriend)
Children:  None
Profession:  Professional Poker Player
WSOP Cashes (including this event):  38
First WSOP Cash (year):  1997
WSOP Final Table Appearances:  16
WSOP Wins (with this victory):  4

WSOP:  How does it feel to win your fourth WSOP gold bracelet?
Matusow:  Yeah, I'm f—king washed up.  Yeah, right.  F—k the haters.

WSOP:  Who says you're washed up?
Matusow:  The haters.

WSOP:  How has this year's WSOP gone so far?
Matusow:  The last three tournaments have just been amazing.  I'm playing at a really high level again.  I feel good, man.

WSOP:  How did you feel coming into the final day?
Matusow:  I felt like I was the best player at the table the whole way.  Once I got (into a 4 to 1 disadvantage) I said, just stick with your game.  Be patient.  Don't force it.  Hopefully the cards would come my way.  And, I'm not going to deny it – the deck hit me in the face....wow, I'm speechless.  I'm so happy.

WSOP:  Where does this tournament stack up against the other wins you have had?
Matusow:  This one is nice.