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A Few Words with PL.com Blogger Matt Stout
If you're familiar with online poker there's a good chance you've heard of Matt "All In At 420" Stout.
The New Jersey native plays in tournaments across the world and shares his experiences with readers on PokerListings.com as one of our Featured Authors.
Stout's PokerListings blog, one of our most popular, regularly receives a large amount of comments and critical acclaim from people involved with poker. What's more, Stout seems to be consistently placing in tournaments, with big cashes in Australia, Atlantic City and New Orleans already this year.
We spoke to Stout during the dinner break of Event 2, $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em.
All right, Matt, first of all how are you doing today?
I'm doing OK. I think I have around $19,000. I've been playing pretty well. I played one hand really, really badly and actually managed to double up on it. I took two bad beats earlier. One of them was a one-outer and then he had to dodge a 12-outer. It was pretty brutal but I think my luck has more than broken even over the course of play. I won $10,000 in that pot where I sucked out.
I'm feeling pretty good though. I'm really ready for the World Series.
What do you think of the level of play out here so far? I've heard a couple players saying it's terrible ...
Overall it's pretty bad but it's what I'd expect. Actually I've been at a pretty tough table. This is much tougher than I'm used to having at a $1,500 No-Limit event. Overall these are the weakest fields you'll find at the World Series.
Play is pretty weak but I've run into a bit of a tougher table. Everybody seems more confident than they usually are.
We didn't get a chance to talk to you after your bust-out at the World Series of Poker Circuit New Orleans but what did you take away from that experience?
Not to shove all-in with 9-4 offsuit? [laughs] [9-4 was the hand on which Stout busted out of the tournament.] Nah, I actually think I made the correct shove there. I was feeling good. I mean it really sucks finishing 13th and coming so close to final-tabling.
At the same time I started Day 2 with $60,000 and never got over $80,000. I battled for 22 hours and got into the money and to the final two tables. At some point you can't just rely on being able to make moves and steal blinds. You're actually going to need a hand. It just didn't come for me. I have to be happy in that regard. I battled my ass off and did my best but it was still pretty disappointing.
Do you do anything to prepare for the WSOP?
Not really. I took a two-week road trip to try and relax. Tried to spend as little time as possible grinding.
Do you think it's better to spend as much time away from poker as possible before the WSOP?
I actually do. I used to grind way, way too much. No matter what game I was playing I would just be playing for hours and hours. Right before the Aussie Millions, I love Australia so much that I spent almost a week playing no poker at all and I really felt great in the main event. I've been trying to relax a lot more before major events, for sure.
Do you set goals for yourself going into the WSOP?
No. I just try to play my best. These fields are so big that you just have to play your best and be happy with the results. Well, you don't have to be happy with your results but be happy you played your best [laughs].
Now you've been blogging for PokerListings.com for a few months now and getting some great comments - what has that experience been like?
Oh I love it. I was actually writing my own blog for awhile but I got really lazy with it. This kind of motivates me and I feel more obligated to write it.
I'm really enjoying it. I love all the feedback I get and it's great to see some of my articles get five-star ratings. People seem to like it and they keep coming up to me and telling me how much they enjoy it.
I don't think it's that good. [laughs] I mean I'm not that good of a writer. There are people like Shaniac [Shane Schleger] who is a writer first and then a poker player. His blog is just incredible. I don't really think I'm that great but I like to share my experiences with people.
Are you ever afraid of sharing too much of your strategy?
No. I feel like the majority of my opponents are not reading my blog to get insights on how I play. I've actually rejected an offer to do a video for a poker training site. I just wouldn't want someone to sit there and see how I play and my general strategy.
I don't mind sharing certain hands on my blog because I don't think it tells people what my overall style is.
So how many events do you see yourself playing at this year's WSOP?
Somewhere around 20 and I'm actually going to fly back to Borgata for their big tournament because their structure is so sick. It has a $5,000 buy-in, $50,000 starting stack and 60-minute levels.
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Although we might be slightly biased, we think there are good things in store for Matt Stout at the 2008 WSOP. Make sure to keep checking Stout's blog throughout the WSOP to get his opinion on poker's biggest spectacle.