– General Information –
Mike Matusow is an American professional poker player. He was born on April 30th, 1968 in Los Angeles, CA. He is a 4-time WSOP bracelet winner. He also made the final table in the Main Event twice, in 2005 and in 2001. He has a total of $9.5 million in live tournament career earnings. Matusow was also a regular feature on the most famous classic poker TV shows, Poker After Dark on NBC and High Stakes Poker on the Game Show Network.
He got his famous nickname, “the Mouth” after his habit of trash talking his opponents at the table.
– Key Career Dates –
- 1989: He learns to play Texas Hold’em from professional poker player Steve Samaroff.
- 1999: He wins his first WSOP bracelet in the $3,500 No Limit Hold’em event for $265,475.
- 2001: He makes the final table in the WSOP Main Event, finishing 6th for $239,765.
- 2005: He makes the final table in the WSOP Main Event again, finishing 9th this time and winning $1,000,000.
- 2005: He wins the WSOP Tournament of Champions for $1,000,000. The two million-dollar cashes are the biggest ones of his career.
- 2013: He wins the NBC Heads-Up Championship for $750,000.
– Mike Matusow’s Career –
→ Beginnings ←
Originally, Matusow was planning to become a mechanic after graduating high school.
He was avid gambler since he was of age, 18. He often played video poker and slot machines at the Maxim Casino. His habit eventually turned detrimental, so much so that Matusow even had to attend Gamblers Anonymous meetings. His gambling problem and other vices followed him his entire life.
He told in an interview for Total Gambler that he learnt Texas Hold’em from a professional poker player named Steve Samaroff. There’s hardly any information available online about Samaroff other than his mentorship of Matusow.
Matusow got a job dealing cards at Sam’s Town Casino. Eventually, he was winning enough on poker tournaments to quit and became a professional player.
→ Live Tournaments ←
According to his autobiography, Matusow started making money on poker tournaments around 1989. However, his first recorded cash on his Hendon page comes from 1996 – it’s a 3rd place finish in a $335 Limit Hold’em event for $7,547.
The database shows $9.535 million in total cashes, over the span of 149 individual ITM finishes and 13 years.
In 2005, Matusow won the WSOP Tournament of Champions. It’s an invitational freeroll event for WSOP bracelet winners only, organized by the World Series of Poker. It was last held in 2010. The winners, including Matusow, do not receive a bracelet for their victory, rather a trophy. In 2005, the invited field was 114 players. As one would imagine, it included some of poker’s biggest names, such as Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth and Johnny Chan. Matusow managed to beat that star-studded field and claimed the $1,000,000 first prize.
Another great title “the Mouth” was able to win was the NBC Heads-Up Championship in 2013. He got $750,000 for that title after beating none other than Phil Hellmuth in the final.
In 2007, he came in 2nd in the $10K Bellagio Cup for $671,320. He won another invitational tournament the same year, the Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament, winning $500,000.
→ World Series of Poker ←
Matusow has won four WSOP bracelet during his career.
The first came in 1999, when he took down the $3,500 No Limit Hold’em event for $265,475. In 2002, he won the $5,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8-or-Better for $148,520. In 2008, he won $537,862 for finishing first in the $5,000 No Limit 2–7 Draw w/Rebuys event. His last bracelet to date is from the $5,000 7-Card Stud Hi-Lo 8-or-Better event in 2013.
Overall, Matusow has cashed in World Series tournaments 63 times for a combined $3,978,563.
The biggest chunk of that sum comes from the 2005 Main Event. In the most prestigious tournament in the poker world, “the Mouth” made it to the final table, eventually taking 9th place out of a field of 5,619 players and pocketing $1,000,000. That wasn’t the first time he got very close to winning a Main Event title – in 2001, he was at the final table once before, this time getting a 6th place finish in a smaller field for $239,765.
On top of the ITM finishes and bracelets he got himself, Matusow bought a piece in Scotty Nguyen’s Main Event action in 1998. Nguyen ended up winning the Main that year, so Matusow got one third of his $1,000,000 prize money.
→ Live Cash Games ←
“The Mouth” Matusow appeared in 11 episodes between 2007 and 2008 on NBC’s classic poker show, Poker After Dark. There, he played $100/$200 NLHE cash sessions against the biggest stars in the poker world at the time, such as Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth.
He was also featured on the Game Show Network’s cash game show, High Stakes Poker.
More recently, he played televised cash game sessions on CBS Sports’ Poker Night in America. There, the stakes were usually $25/$50.
→ Online Poker ←
Matusow played under the not so creative screen name “Mike Matusow” on Full Tilt Poker. However, the lack of a catchy moniker was the least of his problems. According to HighstakesDB’s statistics, he lost over $1 million in high stakes cash games.
HSDB has 110,354 hands tracked on him played between March 2007 and April 2010, mostly from the mixed game H.O.R.S.E. He’s down $1,038,550 in the sample.
“The Mouth” has talked about losing money on online poker in interviews before, so those stats are likely accurate.
→ Sponsorships ←
Matusow was a sponsored pro for the now defunct online poker room, Full Tilt. In addition, he wrote an autobiography titled “Check-Raising the Devil” in 2009 published by Cardoza Publishing, and now hosts a podcast called “The Mouthpiece with Mike Matusow”.
→ Scandals ←
In 2003, an undercover DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) agent posed as Matusow’s friend and asked him to get some cocaine for him. Matusow, who has been dealing with drug problems for years at that point, heeded his “friend’s” request and gave him two ounces of cocaine.
This earned him a felony charge of illegal drug possession for sale. He ended up serving 6 months in Clark County jail.
His sentence was due in 2004. That year Matusow made another deep run in the WSOP Main Event which actually delayed the start of his time behind bars. When he got eliminated from the Main Event after getting it all-in as a 3:1 favorite, he had an understandable emotional outburst.
Despite Matusow’s phenomenal success at the live poker felt, he often had to face financial turmoil.
He’s had a gambling problem from a very young age and – as we wrote above – they never really abandoned him. Whatever money he made in poker could easily be burnt by him on sports betting, slot machines or online poker. According to Daniel Negreanu, who he has a complicated personal relationship with, at times Matusow would complain that the NFL knows when he bets a huge amount on a football game and they’re manipulating the games so that he would lose.
In a 2014 interview Matusow once said he has to worry how he would pay his bills each month. Since then, he got some more impressive tournament scores on his tally, so hopefully those days are gone for “the Mouth”.
– Mike Matusow on Social Media –
Twitter: https://twitter.com/themouthmatusow 114,000 followers
— Mike Matusow (@themouthmatusow) May 15, 2017