On Saturday poker pro Matt Matros won his third WSOP bracelet in three consecutive years, a feat for which he credits good fortune as much as he does his own play.
“I feel completely blessed that the poker gods decided to shine down on me these last three years,” Matros told PokerListings.com in Las Vegas.
“Forget about it being my third bracelet, you have to get incredibly lucky just to win a 1,600-person tournament with so many great players in it,” said Matros.
“When you combine that with being lucky enough to win bracelets in each of the last two years and it’s off the charts. It’s the kind of story you expect to come out of the World Series like once a decade,” he added.
To win Event 16, $1,500 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em, Matros had to overcome 1,603 other players. The victory was worth $454,853, the second-biggest score in a career spanning more than a decade.
Matros adds that sum to a lifetime earnings total that now tips the scales at more than $2.3 million.
"It’s the kind of story you expect to come out of the World Series like once a decade.”
Only 55 other players have three WSOP bracelets to their credit, and far fewer have won them in consecutive years.
Building a Poker Legacy
For Matros, winning a bracelet was a dream he believed he would achieve. Winning three, however, seemed like an impossible task.
“It’s hugely satisfying to me to be thought of as one of the great players in this game. I always dreamed that would be my legacy as a poker player but I don’t know if I ever believed it would actually happen,” he said.
“I always thought I would win a bracelet. That was one dream I did allow myself and for seven years I came out here and made some runs and some final tables. But I really didn’t want to go down as one of those really strong players that never took one down,” said Matros.
That fear is now a distant memory for the Brooklyn, New York native.
Matros might be happy about how he played in this event, but it was a different story when he arrived in Las Vegas for the start of the 2012 WSOP.
“Without online poker I really didn’t have a chance to brush up before coming out here so for the first few days I didn’t feel like I was on my game,” he said.
The day before the six-max event began Matros made it to heads-up play at the first table of the $1,500 Shootout, and lost.
“I felt like I wasn’t on top of my game. I wasn’t making the right decisions, and feel like I should have won the match,” said Matros.
“So heading into this event I was really determined to figure it out and get on my game, and I called my wife on the first break and told her that even though I hadn’t increased my stack, I was really happy with the way I was playing,” he said.
Matros defeated former bracelet winner Mark Radoja heads-up.
“Really it was Day 1 that I felt great about. I played okay the rest of the event but I caught a ton of cards to win.”
Staying On Top in an Ever-Changing Game
The first result on Matt Matros’ record is a $4,000 cash from all the way back in 2001. In 2004 Matros final-tabled the WPT Championship, finishing third for $706,903.
A lot has changed in the poker world since then, and according to Matros he’s had to change with it to stay successful.
“No-Limit tournaments are a lot different now than they were back in 2004 when I made my first big score,” he explained.
“Back then I was one of the only people opening to less than three times the big blind, or calling off with ace-ten when I’m getting two and half to one.
“People just weren’t playing the way they’re playing now because no one had done much to solve the game. I wasn’t a particularly good player back then but I had an edge over the way people were playing.
“So to be able to develop a strategy that works against all these players who play so well now, even though it was helped out by a lot of good cards, was very satisfying,” he said.