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Mike Matusow

Mike Matusow Biography
by Chad Holloway of

Mike Matusow was born on April 30, 1968 in Los Angeles, California. As a young child, Matusow was never afraid of voicing his opinion and standing up to bullies, even if it meant getting himself battered and bruised. Later on, Matusow worked at his family’s furniture store and enjoyed a number of activities such as shooting pool, building race cars, and bowling, where he often bowled games of 290 or more and even scored a perfect 300 game.

At eighteen, Matusow had his first experience with poker when he discovered video poker at Maxim Casino. He was immediately drawn to the game, though he wasn’t too successful, having to steal money from his mother’s purse and even attending Gamblers Anonymous meetings. It was in 1989 that Matusow was introduced to Texas Holdem by a rounder named Steve Samaroff.

Eventually he became a dealer at Sans Town Hotel and Gambling Hall in Las Vegas where he used his time around the felt to study the different techniques and styles of the various players. Soon after, Matusow entered a small tournament and promptly won. He continued to enter these small tournaments as a means of building his bankroll. Once he had accomplished this, Matusow decided it was time to move into the cash game realm and began playing Omaha eight-or-better, a game which he is now considered to be among the best in the world.

In 1997, Matusow entered his first World Series of Poker event, an Omaha eight-or-better tournament, and finished second to Scotty Nguyen. The following year, Matusow staked Nguyen a third of an entry fee into a satellite for the 1998 W.S.O.P. Main Event, which Nguyen eventually went on to win. As a result, Nguyen gave Matusow $333,333, a third of the prize money, for his stake.

At the 1999 W.S.O.P., Matusow won the first of his two bracelets in the $3,500 No-limit hold’em event, with his other bracelet coming from a victory in the 2002 W.S.O.P. $5,000 Omaha eight-or-better event. Though he has not won the W.S.O.P. Main Event, he has come close on two separate occasions. In 2001, Matusow finished sixth in the Main Event and in 2005 he persevered through a field of 5,619 players to finish ninth in the Main Event, winning $1 million for his efforts. Later during that same World Series, Matusow outlasted 110 of the world’s best players, defeating Hoyt Corkins heads-up, to win another $1 million in the 2005 Tournament of Champions.

Matusow has also become a regular fixture on the World Poker Tour by making several final tables over the years, including a third place finish at the Aruba Poker Classic and finishing second to Tony G at the Bad Boys of Poker II event. In July 2007, Matusow came the closest to capturing a WPT title he had ever been by finishing runner-up to online pro Kevin Saul at the Bellagio Cup III, taking home $671,320 for second place. Matusow’s other poker accomplishments include winning the 2000 United States Poker Championship in Atlantic City, appearing on both GSN’s High Stakes Poker and NBC’s Poker After Dark, and being a successful online player, often playing as “dill pickle” on Ultimatebet, “mrpokejoke” on Poker Stars, and “Mike Matusow” of Full Tilt Poker. He is also a member of Team Full Tilt.

Matusow’s outspoken and aggressive style has garnered him the nickname Mike “The Mouth” Matusow. He can often be found at the table verbally mocking, taunting, and berating his competition. However, his particular playing style often leads to what other poker professionals have termed the “Mike Matusow Blow-up,” referring to Matusow’s tendency to make a big mistake which he follows up by losing all of his chips through a series of bad plays. In 2004, Matusow was sentenced to six months in Clark County Jail on drug charges for possession of cocaine. Matusow, who often wears a gold chain with the Hebrew symbol ‘Chai’ around his neck, is the host of CardPlayer’s online video segment “The Mouthpiece.” He currently resides in Henderson, Nevada and has lifetime tournament winnings in excess of $5.9 million.


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