About Matt Matros
|Current Residence||Brooklyn N.Y.|
Matt Matros enjoyed an introduction to poker early in life. "I started playing poker as a kid. My dad was and is really into the game, and he introduced me to it back in the day," he says. "I started playing the game seriously in the fall of 1998, my senior year of college."
And it was definitely an unusual route to becoming a professional poker player, by Matros' account. "It was a very gradual process. I decided to leave my job to pursue a graduate degree in fiction writing. This was a tough decision on me financially, and I pretty much had to play poker regularly while in grad school to do things like pay my credit card bill. After a year of grad school, I decided to play poker full-time during the summer before my second year of grad school. At the same time, I was writing.
"The summer of 2003 was an all-poker all-the-time experience. I made a lot more than I thought I would that summer, and I continued to run good during my second year of grad school," he continues.
"By February 2004, I had pretty much decided that when I got my degree in May, I would make the bulk of my income by playing poker, and try to supplement that income with my writing. This became a whole lot easier in April when I won $706,903 at the Bellagio. My parents are very supportive of what I do. They just want me to be happy. Their only concern is that poker is a very emotional game, and it can really get to a player sometimes. The best part about the poker lifestyle is that I'm my own boss and I make my own hours."
Matros' graduate degree in writing is from Sara Lawrence College. Before that, he majored in Mathematics at Yale University. As can be seen in the following quote, he brings a lot of his experience as a mathematician to the green felt table.
"There's a lot of math in poker. Everyone knows about pot odds, or most good players know about pot odds and calculating probabilities of hands improving. There's more math to poker than that. There's a field called game theory, which really gives insight to what kind of strategy you should use at the table. It's not just about calculating your chances of winning, it's about calculating the correct play based on what my opponent's range of hands is, what he will do with those range of hands, how can I maximize the amount of chips I will make based on how he's gonna play. And it's very complicated."
Matros' passion for the life of the mind fuels his passion for poker. "I love the logic aspect of it," he says. "I love thinking through life from a logical standpoint, ruling out a certain hand because of this or that reason, and coming to the correct strategy. I love reading into how other people are thinking, trying to figure out why they're doing what they're doing and how to respond to that.
"There are just so many unique situations, there are just no two hands in poker that are ever the same, and to have that challenge. It's very immediate. You're gonna play a hand you're gonna get a result right away. There's an adrenaline rush and there's an incredible amount of intellect involved in trying to figure out the best way to play a hand."
Matros' book, "The Making Of A Poker Player: How An Ivy League Math Geek Learned To Play Championship Poker" has been lauded by many top professionals for the entertaining vignettes it offers of life on the pro poker tournament circuit.
- Holds a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Yale University
- Holds a Master's in Fine Arts from Sara Lawrence College
- Author of a highly praised book about tournament play