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The Mouth Piece: Mike Matusow Wins Third Bracelet
Mike Matusow has just collected his third piece of World Series gold. He beat Jeff Lisandro heads-up to take down the 2008 WSOP 2-7 No-Limit Draw event, picking up $537,857 in the process and defeating possibly the strongest field ever assembled for a WSOP tournament, in a field that read like a comprehensive who's who of the poker world.
Pokerlistings.com spoke to Mike shortly after his victory to get the lowdown straight from the horse's mouth, or should that be The Mouth's mouth!
Congratulations Mike; that was a great result. What does this bracelet mean to you and is it your most pleasing result?
Well nothing will mean more than beating Daniel heads-up in '02 [the $5,000 Omaha Hi-Lo split bracelet he won]. When my autobiography comes out, you'll read about the circumstances surrounding that.
A lot of people don't really know what I was going through mentally, so that [is] always going to be my biggest accomplishment.
But to win this, it's not just about beating the 85 best players in the world, at a game that I don't have that much experience at - it's the fact that for six days coming into this tournament, I've won 13 pots in six tournaments and I've walked out the door with a smile on my face every day laughing because I didn't give a chip away.
So you've manage to stay positive during the dry spells?
Yeah, I was playing so great, I kept saying to myself, good things are going to happen. You can't help the cards to come good but you can help yourself by playing good and I thought going into this tournament I'd made one mistake in six days, so I came into this tournament and I started hitting some cards.
This is one of the sickest things I'll ever say: I think I've made just three mistakes in the last seven tournaments, maybe only two, and most of the time I'm making like five or six mistakes a day, so I'm playing with great patience [and] great focus at the moment.
You're clearly feeling emotional Mike. How important is winning that bracelet?
I really never said to myself, I wanna win a bracelet, I wanna win a bracelet. I came in today thinking, just play one hand at a time, stay focused and when you do that, good things will happen and when you do that, you win.
You know I've always been saying "I want a bracelet, I want a bracelet blah blah blah", but do you know how hard it is to win a poker tournament?
Phil Ivey 1.8-1, I'd lay that the rest of my life if I could.
It's a poker tournament you know, and no matter how great you play, you've gotta hit certain cards so I just come in and play the best I [can]. I've been telling people for the last three weeks it's going to be a good World Series for me.
I don't know if I'm gonna win a bracelet, I don't know if I'm going to win anything, but I know for sure I'm going to have a big shot because I feel good.
I mean I'm happy I won this, I beat the toughest field in poker history and I know for sure, I played off the f**king charts; that's all that matters to me. If I would have lost, if I'd've come second, I would have been just as happy because I know how good I played.
You can only play so good; you can't control the cards. If I would have played bad and lost, I'd've been out. I think apart from the one hand before the dinner break, I was the best player in the field and that's why I won.
Who impressed you most at the final table today?
I thought Barry was great. He got really unlucky in one hand against Jeff but Barry played great. I thought me and him were the best two players at the final table today.
You went into the heads-up against Jeff Lisandro with a chip deficit. Were you confident you could turn it around?
I just said, "You don't want to double me up!"
I knew if I doubled up I would have him because he knows he can't run me over, and I knew my patience was unbelievable, so if I got to $1.25 million, even if he grinded me down to $800k, I knew I would have no fear of coming back over the top of him.
He could never run me over but I was going to keep patient, throw away hands and pick my spots. It's a shame it wasn't televised as there were tons of times I pushed all my chips in with zero after I folded, folded, folded.
I set my image up so great, and that's what I wanted to do. I don't think I could have set my image up any better to allow me to do what I wanted to do.
I didn't steal one pot for two days, didn't steal pots till we were five-handed. I just played well; I'm happy!
You've made some changes in your life recently. You look really healthy. How important is this newfound positive attitude?
The bottom line is I don't walk out and blame the whole world and say how unlucky I am. You know if you get unlucky and lose, you just come back the next day because it's just poker. That's what I'm trying to say; it's not the end of the world.
I used to make poker the end of the world. But recently when I busted out six days straight, I swear to god I went straight home and I said I can't wait to come back because I'm playing so good and the old me would never do that; the old me would say "Jesus, what the f**k is this all about??!" So I didn't win a pot for six tournaments, I came in and won them all in one and that's what you're supposed to do I guess.
How are you going to celebrate now you've won?
Go to sleep, come back and play more!
Honestly, I've never enjoyed tournament poker. You can quote that, OK?
Before the World Series got big, I mean the cash games at the World Series used to be off the f***ing charts. That's where I made all my money but now because poker players become celebrities, for all sorts of reasons, it's become big and for me to win a bracelet, it's worth a lot more than for anyone else to win a bracelet because I'm a well-known name.
For me to win a bracelet it's probably worth more than I can ever win at a cash game. I used to hate tournament poker but then it took off - it's the sickest thought I've ever thought, but I'm actually enjoying turning up and playing, which is probably why I'm winning!
Congratulations again Mike on a great performance.