Liverpool’s Matthew Ashton Making Mark on 2013 WSOP

Matthew Ashton
Matthew Ashton

Matthew Ashton has been one of the U.K.’s heavy hitters at the WSOP this summer but he’s still chasing the elusive gold bracelet.

Ashton is a 24-year-old professional poker player from Liverpool, United Kingdom, although you might find the nomadic poker player anywhere on the four corners of earth at any given time. 

Despite playing some of the biggest mixed-game cash games online under the handle MUSTAFABET he has mostly gone under the public radar.

PokerListings: What’s your background and how did you get into poker?

Matthew Ashton: I started playing online when I was 15, underage like a lot of people did. The first game I tried was Hold’em, and then PLO and then I found mixed games. I found them to be more enjoyable and as soon as 8-Game came out on PokerStars, I started playing it.

I played it all the time and they kept introducing higher limits and I moved up each time.

Matthew Ashton
Matthew Ashton

I went to university in Sheffield and studied for a Maths degree, although I was spending more time playing poker than doing Maths. I did manage to graduate but only just.

The first time I played poker was on a play money site after a friend recommended it to me. I instantly really liked it. I always liked chess and played competitive sports/games so poker was a really good for for me.

PL: Did you move into mixed games for fun or the value?

I moved into mixed game mostly for fun. I used to play low-limit mixed games for fun when I got bored of PLO and then I found out that they were actually pretty good games for value. 

I was playing them before they really caught on so there was a lot of value to be had, particularly three or four years ago on Full Tilt poker. I did really well and that’s when I made most of my money.

PL: How important is it to do work away from the table?

I do a lot of game theory stuff and try and figure out what’s exploitable. I do quite a lot of numbers away from the table. 

Doing the work away from the table is becoming more and more important as the games are getting harder all the time. It’s actually really important now.

PL: What motivates you and what goals do you have moving forward?

I still enjoy the big events and they still have some prestige about them. There’s still the sport/competition factor and that I enjoy. My friends keep asking me, “Have you been on TV yet?” and it would be nice to say yes to that. 

My main goal going forward though is to concentrate on playing online for a year or two and make as much money as I can while that’s still good.

Hopefully then I’ll be in a comfortable position where I can just play for fun the rest of the time. I’ll be able to have the time to play more live tournaments as I do enjoy them more.

I like to do a lot of travelling, going to new places and meeting new people, seeing new things. 

I took a nine-month break from poker and went backpacking around Asia and South America. When I came back the games were so much harder.

There was a small part of me realized I’d missed an opportunity to make a lot of money but I have no regrets as it was such a good experience and I plan to do more of that in the future.

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