Making the Case: Mike Matusow for the Poker Hall of Fame

Mike Matusow is one of the most recognizable faces in poker. (Photo by Jay Newnum)

Mike Matusow is one of the most recognizable faces in poker. (Photo by Jay Newnum)

The World Series of Poker released the candidates for the 2013 Poker Hall of Fame Class last week. Over the course of 10 days BLUFF will make the case for each of the nominees in a series of stories on the 2013 HOF ballot. This series continues by making the case for Mike Matusow.

Matusow became one of poker’s biggest and most controversial players when the poker boom took off in the early part of the century. His loud, brash table talk polarized viewers – making him either the most hated man in poker or one of the most revered. His legendary run-ins with Shawn Sheikhan and Greg Raymer on ESPN broadcasts have hundreds of thousands of views.

Whether viewers loved him or hated him, Matusow has carved out his own place in poker history. To date he was won almost $8.5 million in live tournaments, has four WSOP bracelets and is considered by some to one of the best Omaha players in the world. Matusow is also adept at cash games and was a regular on late-night poker broadcasts.

He came won his first bracelet in 1999, has been a WSOP final table 15 times and has two final table finishes in the 2001 and 2005 WSOP Main Event- sixth and ninth respectively. He cashed in the top 100 two other times – 87th in 2004 and 30th in 2008. He also made the final two tables in the 2008 WSOP Europe Main Event.

Matusow’s bracelets have come in three different decades against arguably three different eras of tournament poker. But all of his success does not come without some baggage.

Matusow was arrested on felony drug charges in 2004 in an extended undercover sting operation and spent six months in jail. He has gone broke a few times but always managed to play his way back to the top.

Matusow’s ups and downs in life mirrors the struggles of millions of Americans but it’s his ability to rise to the occasion that has earned him a spot alongside the best poker has to offer.

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Paul Oresteen

Senior Writer: Paul Oresteen originally joined BLUFF in 2008 as an intern. He covered two World Series of Poker’s before leaving to join PokerNews.com. After a two year hiatus Oresteen returned to BLUFF in November 2012. Since starting as a poker journalist Oresteen has covered the World Series of Poker, WSOP Circuit, World Poker Tour and European Poker Tour. He graduated from Georgia State University with a B.A. in Communications in 2008.
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