Mike ‘The Mouth’ Matusow talks about his new positive mental attitude
You suffered a pretty bad beat on the last series, which was the catalyst for your new positive mental attitude. What happened?
The turning point was having Gavin Smith out to dry with my Aces for all the money and he hit runner-runner straight. I ran off, slamming the door, crying into a corner, ‘I’m the most f???ing unlucky player in the world, it never stops!’ The producer came over to me saying, ‘I’ve never seen anybody run worse than you – maybe you are the unluckiest player.’ That’s when I said, ‘You know what? There’s no such thing as unlucky, I bring my own luck’. I wished that card to come. Instead of saying ‘There’s no way I’m going to lose’, as soon as the straight draw came up, I said to Phil Hellmuth, ‘I lay 15/1 I get beat.’ It was so negative, if you think you’re going to lose, you’re going to lose. I told Mori, ‘I’m sick of being negative. I’ll be back on Sunday for my next round, I’m going to win and there’s not going to be any suck-outs.’ The next day, my girlfriend went out and bought seven books on the power of positive thinking and I started listening to tapes and I won.
You’re on record as saying there’s a lot of luck in poker and you’ve come to accept that, but you don’t think enough players do…
There’s a lot of luck in poker but when I say you make your own luck, that’s when I’m playing good – it means staying out of big 50/50 pots. I played two of them for my tournament life in the WSOP main event and won them both, I played one as a 60/40 underdog and won that and then lost one where I was a 3/1 favourite, the one that broke me. Playing great is not risking all your chips.
You nearly made it to the final table of the WSOP. Do you think the final suffered from not having a high-profile pro at the final table?
With 40 or so players left the only thing on my mind was making the final table. I was never going to risk a chip if I didn’t have to. For me making the final table was probably worth more money than actually winning the tournament. It would’ve been my third Main Event final table in eight years. I knew what it was worth to me. And believe me, I was getting there if I didn’t get unlucky. I knew where I was in every hand and I wasn’t ever going to put myself in a position to go broke. I lost to a two-outer and a three-outer though. That’s poker.
One of the highlights on PAD season five is the Nets vs Vets game. The ‘internet players vs live pros’ debate has been one of the biggest in poker over the past year or two. Where do you stand?
They’re all going broke. They don’t respect any of the live pros. There are a lot of talented online players though – Phil Galfond, for example; in fact he’ll never go broke. He’s smart and has great money management. But there are a lot of them who play really fast. Any one of them who play Phil Ivey heads-up every day and think they have an edge… they’re going broke.
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