Matusow triumphs in one of the year’s biggest tourneys
Erik Seidel, 2011’s defending champion was one of the first players to hit the rail after he lost his opening match to poker phenom Tom ‘Durrrr’ Dwan. But in the end it was the ‘Old School’ players who put on the show for the ‘Young Guns’ with Mike Matusow claiming this year’s trophy after defeating good friend Phil Hellmuth 2-1 in an epic final match-up.
Like previous year’s the event saw 64 of the games best known and most successful pros hand over the $25k buy-in, each with dreams of winning all six matches and capturing the coveted trophy as well as the $750k first prize. Matusow’s path to the final was arguably the harder of the two with the American having to overcome the likes of Michael ‘The Grinder’ Mizrachi, Viktor ‘Isildur1’ Blom, Barry Greenstein, John Hennigan and probably the in-form player in the world right now, Scott Seiver. Hellmuth on the other hand had Mike Sexton, Justin Smith, David Sands, Eugene Katchalov and Joe Serock standing in his way.
The format for the first five rounds was simple, it was one match, winner-take-all. For the final the stakes increased with a best of three format used instead to decide who would be victorious.
The first match of the final belonged to Matusow, largely due to one key hand which saw ‘The Mouth’ flop trip sixes and then turn quads versus Hellmuth’s pocket queens. Hellmuth played the hand extremely aggressively betting each street before moving all-in on the river. Matusow was only too happy to make the river call with the nuts and from there it wasn’t long before he took the opener.
In the second, Matusow again took the lead early but this time it was Hellmuth’s turn to win the key hand. This time all the chips went in pre-flop and Hellmuth was again behind with his AK compared to Matusow’s pair of kings but an ace on the turn was enough for Hellmuth and the Poker Brat went on to bring home the second match, levelling the score.
After splitting the first two matches of the best-of-three final, it was down to a sudden-death match to decide who would be this year’s champion. The decider was the quickest of the three matches and lasted only 25 minutes. For the final hand all the chips went in on the turn after Hellmuth shoved over Matusow’s modest bet, ‘The Mouth’ thought about it long and hard before making the call, but eventually he did and with only a flush draw. The poker gods were on his side though and a queen of diamonds on the river completed Matusow’s flush and ‘The Mouth’ was this year’s champion.
After catching his breath Matusow said “I’m on top of the world right now. There is nothing that feels better than winning a tournament. Nothing.”
Here is a full break down of who earned what:
1st. Mike Matusow -$750,000
2nd. Phil Hellmuth – $300,000
Tied 3rd. Scott Seiver – $100,000
Tied 3rd. Joseph Serock – $100,000
Tied 5th. Daniel Cates – $50,000
Tied 5th. John Hennigan – $50,000
Tied 5th. Brian Hastings – $50,000
Tied 5th. Eugene Katchalov – $50,000
Tied 9th. Antonio Esfandiari – $25,000
Tied 9th. Vanessa Rousso – $25,000
Tied 9th. Barry Greenstein – $25,000
Tied 9th. Phil Ivey – $25,000
Tied 9th. Joseph Cheong – $25,000
Tied 9th. David Sands – $25,000
Tied 9th. Tom Dwan – $25,000
Tied 9th. Dan Smith – $25,000