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Davidson Matthew: One win away
Davidson Matthew isn't crazy.
But he definitely doesn't mind if you think he is at the poker table.
And in just two short years, he's done a very good - and very profitable - job of convincing most of the poker world he is.
With some well-timed bluffs and some admittedly fortunate draw outs, Matthew has taken his wild style and managed to pocket over $2.3 million in tournament prize money - the bulk of it coming from a second-place finish at the T.J. Cloutier. (Laughs) Now if I could get some wins like him (Laughs).
I think I have a good shot at the Main Event 'cause now we have more chips. Last year I had a great start in the first hour and I remember making one fold out of respect to a player. Had I called that hand I would have busted two people. I had position on him, he raised with A-Q and I raised with K-6 of diamonds.
And normally, with the amount of chips I had... I had 30,000 in chips within the first hour... but I fold that K-6 at the time out of respect for that player. He's a very good player and I'm not going to raise with crap. Had I called, I had a flush draw and the other two guys - not the good player - had pairs.
He mucked his hand and showed it to me and I said 'you know what, I folded because of you.' The flush came on the turn and they were still betting. And that was it. 'Cause after that, I couldn't win another hand. I was gone by the time the dinner break came. I was brooding on it, "what a mistake I made on that hand, why did I fold that hand."
But I think I'm back to my old self. I just need a win to get me right in the poker world. At the Main Event I will get the kind of tables I need. There are too many people there I won't get stuck with a table of pros. Then by the time I meet up with the pros I can have some chips.
On getting to the next level in poker:
For sure, I need a bracelet. Well, it doesn't matter if it's the bracelet or the WPT. One of those two I need to win. You know second is, just you know… I can only think of one guy who's come in second who has a big name. David Williams. He has a big name. But no second place player I know has a big name or the respect from the industry. I get a lot of kudos for performing good at these tables but that's not enough. I need to be first.
I'm not getting my fair share of all of those things for whatever reason. For my talent level I don't believe I'm getting the luck with the sponsors. I've got a little bad luck. Considering all the people that have come up to me, you know, who say 'we really like the way you perform,' and then looking at my record for this year…
I've done $350,000 in prize money this year alone, so you know those things should be helping me, but I'm still struggling on my own. I've never had anybody come over here and say 'Dave, wear my t-shirt I'll give you $50 bucks.' (Laughs) I'd gladly take $50 bucks to wear a t-shirt (Laughs) All these guys, they're walking in the room they got Full Tilt, they got PokerStars (Laughing). I got to wear this shirt for free!
On how he got into poker:
You know, I'm a pretty good chess player. I used to play chess. But the main thing is I've been to Vegas so many times. I'm not a young guy. But I came to Vegas a lot and I never played anything. And I'm a good card player, I play a lot of cards, and so I was staying at Excalibur... back in those days, that's where I stayed when I had no money.
I bought a package, the wife bought a package. Some place to sleep, that's all you need in Vegas. So in the morning, almost all the casinos will teach you how to play any game you want. And they had poker, so I sat down and played poker, and I went in the poker room.
And I remember I had $300 or $400 and I was playing $1/$2 or something and my $400 lasted me six hours. My very, very first time. So hey, I realized this is good stuff. Then the internet thing, I got pretty good on the internet. I was making a lot of money when I was playing on Paradise Poker - I'm not winning now, but whatever it was in those days, it was working - so on Paradise Poker I made maybe $250,000. Those were the gravy days.
How he got to where he is now:
I got really lucky to make that kind of money. I don't care what anybody says, or how good you are, it takes a hell of a lot of luck to make money in this business.
If I tell you the hands that got me to that $2 million, you would know I'm a lucky guy. I had A-Q against Doyle Brunson at Bellagio and I tried to intimidate him. I had him outnumbered in chips 2-1. And I knew who he was. So he was the big blind and I was somewhere in middle position and I was chip leader at my table, I had 190,000 and Doyle had 90,000. Jennifer Harman was at the table and they both called. So I raise.
Doyle re-raised me with pocket kings. And I used one of the tricks I had in those days which was to say I'm all-in before it was my turn (Laughs). It's a common trick for anybody to use, so I said "yeah, I'm all in" and the dealer was like, "sir it's not your turn yet" and I said "It doesn't matter I'm all-in anyway," (laughs) you know, you got a losing hand, Doyle, you can't call me unless you got aces.
And besides, I got all of the chips. So I figure that trick would work. He didn't fall for it and took half my chips (Laughs).
That day I went all-in a lot of times, so the luck factor comes in. Nine times I was all-in behind and only lost twice. But I had enough chips to cover it. You can't win in poker having the best hand all the time. 'Cause the best hand gets run down all the time. You take out a little chisel and a little hammer and you dig your way out of that cell. You know, the only way you can do it is make moves.
But I have a lot of respect for all those guys who have been playing poker for a long time. I haven't been playing poker for too long. One guy comes up to me and says "How long have you been playing poker?" and I say "Two years" and he says. "Do you know what you have done? I've been playing poker for 19 years and never won a dime. You've been playing for two years and won $2 million. Do you know how lucky you are?"
So, a lot of luck for that to happen. It's like walking through a minefield without getting blown up. Nobody's that good a poker player. And you have times when the dealer is just passing you garbage, and you have to improvise. All these things have to come together.
On his recent tough loss at the 2007 Borgata Poker Classic:
The day before that I had to make at least 10 life-saving decisions and because I made those decisions I used up all the brain power I had. There was no more brain power left. That was the toughest day of poker I've ever had, because every one of those decisions was really, really hard.
Even after I won the hand, I was exhausted. By the next day, I didn't get enough sleep... you know adrenalin, I was excited, $1.7 million dollars on the line… It was one of those days you wish you could re-live, you could start over.
The bad feeling I got from the Borgata really has carried over. Losing at the Borgata really bothered me, cause I thought I had what it takes. Borgata was terrible.
My year started really, really good when I went to Tunica. And then I played a $1,500 tournament. With 15 people to go, I was the chip leader. What am I doing wrong when I can't win that tournament? It's a $100,000 event. I'm the chip leader with 15 people to go. I had a good night sleep. There's no excuse for me to do what I did. And you know I got knocked out number 13? How insane is that?
Three big mistakes in January alone. Then you have Borgata, fourth mistake, just couldn't get over that. Then you have Rincon where it was a mistake in judgment.
You're not allowed to make that many mistakes. You don't get that much opportunity in poker to do well and throw it out the window like I have in the past six months. For a guy who really wants to win, that's too much.What he wants everyone to know about Davidson Matthew:
I think, you know, like how Phil Hellmuth has his way of being a brat, I think I'm going to be, hopefully, one of the most entertaining and happy poker players you can watch.
That's how I hope to be. That's me. I'm somewhat entertaining I think (Laughs). So hopefully I'll be known as a very good poker player, but entertaining at the same time. I think I can be good for the industry, being somewhat unique, and represent a different type of person than what you see all the time on TV.
That's my hope. One win. I need to have a win and more doors will open for me and I can showcase a good game. I'm hoping to get a fresh new face into the system. I want to be one of the fresh new faces on TV, one of the fresh new faces in the interviews, in the magazines. That's my goal.
But a winning one. I don't want to be there without winning. I need to win and legitimize myself as a good poker player. That's one of the goals I got.
Hopefully, I don't look nuts before that. (Laughs)
At last report, Matthew had just busted out of Event 38 at the 2007 WSOP - his quest for a bracelet still unrequited.
You can likely catch him at the craps table if you'd like to hook him up with a shirt.
He's earned it.