In poker, there are plenty of databases and other resources that help you to find out as much information about an upcoming tournament or the results of an event anywhere in the world in a couple of clicks. None of them measure up to the speed and utility of Kevin Mathers.
BLUFF’s Manager of Poker Information is the go-to resource on Twitter and beyond for any question an inquiring poker player or fan might have. At almost any time of the day, they’ll be at least a few ‘@Kevmath’ shoutouts asking about late registration, field sizes or otherwise, and almost without exception Mathers will reply within minutes, if not seconds – as he has since long before he became a part of the BLUFF family.
In an effort to recognize everything that Kevmath does for the poker world at large throughout the year, one player in particular went out of his way to drum up support to let Mathers live every poker player’s dream. Daniel Alaei sent out a single Tweet that elicited quite a reaction from the poker community.
Let's get @Kevmath in the main event! Selling shares of him 1% for $150. 66 shares available. I'm buying 4. Msg to reserve. RT PLZ
— Daniel Alaei (@dalaei) July 4, 2014
Alaei, a tremendously successful tournament player over the last decade with four WSOP bracelets and a WPT title to his credit, went out of his way to drum up interest just a few days before the Main Event got underway. It was an idea that’s been brewing in his head for quite some time, though.
“I originally came up with the idea last year in Paris at the World Series of Poker Europe,” said Alaei. “The guy just does so much for our community, he’s such an asset. There’s countless times when I’ve messaged him about various things regarding tournaments, or other poker-related things, and he responds within 30 seconds. His tireless dedication is really unbelievable.”
Mathers had an inkling that something like this might come together, but he had to clear it with the higher-ups at BLUFF to make sure everything was on the up and up.
“He had been talking about it for a for a few months, trying to raise money to put me in the Main Event,” said Mathers. “Then in the last week [it came together], and once I got the okay to play, that’s when the ball got rolling.”
There was an immediate outpouring of support from players trying to snap up a one percent sweat, or even something bigger. Then Daniel Negreanu came along and essentially guaranteed that Mathers would get a chance to play the Main Event.
— Daniel Alaei (@dalaei) July 5, 2014
“I saw Danny Alaei was doing it and I thought it would be fun,” said Negreanu. “He does a lot for poker players. He’s the like the Wikipedia of poker. When people want to find anything out the just ask him and instantly, boom, he’s got the answer.”
Demand was so high that Negreanu only ended up with 10 percent of the action. By the time it was officially sold out, Mathers’ action was booked by 2012 WSOP Main Event champ Greg Merson, Josh Arieh, Paul Volpe, Scott Clements, Matt Salsberg, Victor Ramdin and Brian Hastings, among many others.
“I wasn’t surprised at all,” said Alaei of selling out so quickly. “If we wanted to, I think we could sell him out three times over.”
“I’m overwhelmed,” said Mathers. “It’s very flattering. I’m honored, I’m touched, all those emotions. It’s a nice feeling to get to play the Main Event, and with a decent percentage of myself too. With all the well wishes and good lucks, I’m incredibly happy and I hope I can make a deep run and return some money to these people.”
JC Tran, who also bought one of the biggest percentages of Mathers’ action, had some bad news once he posted his table draw – or so it seemed.
@Kevmath haha. Was just kidding. U can dream big now. Good luck tomorrow.
— JC TRAN (@jctran23) July 7, 2014
Once he managed to catch his breath, Mathers joined Alaei, Tran, Negreanu and thousands of other hopefuls in the Day 1C field. For Alaei, this opportunity is just a small token of appreciation for all of the hard work Mathers puts in throughout the year.
“I just feel like it’s a very small thing that we can give back to him,” said Alaei. “There’s a lot of hard-working people in poker, but I think this guy’s second to none. It’s something where we can all pitch in a couple hundred bucks and get him into this tournament – I think it’s something we should do every year.”
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