– General Introduction –
Matt Berkey is an American professional poker player. He was born on January 29th, 1982 in Leechburg, Pennsylvania.
He has $4.162 million in live tournament earnings. As for live cash games, he appeared on Poker Night in America on CBS Sports, and on the streams of Live at the Bike and Poker After Dark multiple times, playing live NLHE cash. Also, playing under the screen name “berkey11” on PokerStars and the now defunct Full Tilt, he cashed for $976,000 in online MTT’s.
Berkey is the founder and owner of the poker training site Solve For Why Academy. He also hosts the Solve for Why Podcast.
– Key Career Dates –
- 2010: He makes a deep run in the WSOP Main Event, eventually finishing in 43rd place for $206,395.
- 2014: He starts appearing on the TV show Poker Night in America, airing on CBS Sports in the US.
- 2016: He finishes 5th in the $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl at the Aria for $1.1 million. That is the biggest single live tournament cash of his career to date.
- 2017: He founds the poker training site Solve For Why Academy.
– Matt Berkey’s Career –
→ Beginnings ←
In the piece, Berkey talked about how growing up in a small steel town in Pennsylvania, his parents struggled financially. Thankfully, at age 13, he was able to move to his grandparents after his parents’ divorce, where he grew up in better conditions.
Originally, the young Matt Berkey wanted to become a professional baseball player. He even had a chance to take baseball scholarships from colleges, but he turned those opportunities down because of the distance from his hometown.
So he ended up attending Gannon University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science with a minor in Mathematics. While he started playing poker in high school, playing against friends for quarters, it was college where he decided to take the game more seriously. His newfound passion was a product of the Moneymaker Boom.
He went to his closest Indian Casino where he started to grind live cash games – the format that remained his first choice throughout his career. After graduating from college, Berkey hesitated between going for a career in baseball or in professional poker – he ultimately went with poker.
So, he kept on grinding $10/$20 No Limit Hold’em cash games, even going into underground card rooms at times, chasing the action.
→ Live Tournaments ←
Berkey has cashed for $4.162 million in live tournaments, according to his Hendon profile. He achieved this by cashing in 78 different events over the course of 13 years.
The first recorded result on his profile is from January 2006 – and it’s a victory right off the bat. He came in first in a $225 No Limit Hold’em tourney at The Seneca World Poker Classic in Niagara Falls for $3,400. The first time Berkey made a cash for over $100K was in the 2010 WSOP Main Event – more on that later.
In December 2015, he took down a $25K No Limit Hold’em High Roller at the Aria for $341,618. In May 2016, he finished 5th in the $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl, back at the Aria. At the star-studded final table that featured Phil Hellmuth, Fedor Holz, and the eventual winner Rainer Kempe, Berkey’s impressive 5th place finish got him no less than $1.1 million. That is by far his biggest single live tournament score to date.
In addition, in May 2016, he came in 3rd in the $5,250 NLHE – SHRPO Championship event for $341,618 at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open in Hollywood, Florida.
→ World Series of Poker ←
Matt Berkey is yet to win his first WSOP gold bracelet.
In 2010, he made a deep run in the WSOP Main Event. He got eliminated in 43rd place by the eventual winner Jonathan Duhamel from Canada and won $206,395. In 2017, he made a final table finish in the $1,111 The Little One for One Drop NLHE event. He eventually busted in 3rd place for $240,588. He also has another 3rd place finish from the $3,000 No Limit Hold’em 6-Handed event for $199,733 from 2013.
Overall Berkey has cashed in 50 World Series events for a total of $1.420 million combined.
→ Live Cash Games ←
This has been Berkey’s focus for most of his professional poker career.
As we wrote above, he started as a live cash player, playing $10/$20 NLHE in Pennsylvania and Michigan card rooms. He also appeared on a number of shows where he played live cash in front of cameras.
One of those shows is Poker Night in America, a show airing on CBS Sports where he appeared multiple times.
For instance, in November 2016, he played in a session of $100/$200 No Limit Hold’em at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, FL. Those stakes were actually higher than usual for the show. At the table, his opponents were – among others – Chance Kornuth, Jason Mercier and Bill Perkins.
Berkey ended the session with a whopping $278,000 (2,780 BB!) profit. That episode aired nearly two years after being filmed, in April 2018.
In December 2018, he also played in Live at the Bike’s “Million Dollar Cash Game”. There, the blinds were $100/$200 with a minimum buy-in of $100,000. There were 10 players, which means there was at least $1 million at the table at all times – hence the name.
In one hand, Berkey decided to 3-barrel bluff with J7, eventually going all-in for $45K on the river. Alas, he was up against Aces – but the ambitious bluff did go through in the end…
Berkey also appeared on PokerGO’s revived version of Poker After Dark in April 2018. There, he played $300/$600 NLHE, against online poker legend Daniel “Jungleman” Cates, Doug Polk, Brian Rast, and others.
→ Online Poker ←
Matt Berkey plays under the screen name “berkey11” on PokerStars. He used the same alias on the now defunct poker site Full Tilt.
Across those two accounts, he amassed $976,793 in online MTT cashes. On Full Tilt, he collected around $600K; while on PS, he cashed for an additional $377K.
His first recorded cash online is from July 2006. He came in 62nd in a $22 NLHE tourney on Stars for $157. In February 2010, he made a runner-up finish in a field of 3,542 players in a $200 MTT on Full Tilt. He won $102,000, which is his biggest online tournament score to date.
However, his latest score on his tally on his PocketFives profile is from a decade ago.
He’s also cashed in 7 events at the 2020 WSOP Online. The biggest one of the seven was $36,851, which he got for taking 5th place in the $500 No Limit Hold’em – Summer Saver event.
Berkey founded his poker training site Solve for Why in 2017. On the company’s YouTube channel, which currently has around 30,000 subscribers, he also hosts the Solve for Why Podcast in which he discusses topical events in the world of poker. He also posts poker strategy content.
His involvement in the Mike Postle cheating scandal
In 2019, Mike Postle’s alleged cheating at the Stones Live live streamed low stakes cash games was the biggest story in poker.
Berkey, who too played in the game against Postle, made an interesting observation on Twitter. He pointed out that, as an owner of an RFID tech company, he thinks it should have been impossible to change the graphics of Postle’s cards to the “correct” ones mid-stream.
Watching some of this is distributing. I own RFID Tech & let me tell you graphics almost NEVER misread a hand, you’d have to have misregistered a card, meaning it would consistently be wrong. https://t.co/Hv2Nvn0Wlj
— Matt Berkey (@berkey11) October 1, 2019
If you’re not familiar with the story, Mike Postle is accused of having his opponents’ hole cards relaid to his phone from the broadcast booth.