Despite having racked up three WSOP bracelets in the last three years, over $2.3 million in tournament winnings, and being a published author, Matt Matros hasn’t yet come to enjoy big name recognition in the poker world. He has worn many hats in the industry, including writing a column in Card Player magazine and serving as a coach at the Card Runners poker training site on top of his stellar tournament success. So why isn’t Matt Matros a huge name?
Winning his third bracelet in as many years puts Matros in elite company of only six other players to win three bracelets in consecutive years, and makes him one of only 27 who have ever won three bracelets at all. This year, Matros beat out a field of 1604 players to clinch Event #16, $1500 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em, securing a prize of $454,835.
As quoted in an article on CarbonPoker.com, Matros spoke modestly when asked about the likelihood of his taking home a fourth bracelet next year, saying, “I would have said it was impossible to win a third one, so I can’t imagine winning a fourth one, a fifth one. I mean, two years ago when I won the first one, I really felt the vindication of my career, the validation. I’ve played so many events, so many deep runs, that to have finally won one two years ago and then last year was the icing on the cake, I couldn’t believe I won another one.”
The low-key Matros is no stranger to accomplishments, having been the valedictorian of his high school class, graduating from Yale, and holding a Masters in Fine Art from Sarah Lawrence. His book, The Making Of A Poker Player: How An Ivy League Math Geek Learned To Play Championship Poker was published in 2005. Matros, who lives in Brooklyn with his wife, is currently at work on a novel, which is a departure from his previous book as it focuses on the life and loves of a female college sophomore. On the topic of his forthcoming book, Matros said, “There’s a good amount of humor in it and I think it will appeal to those people who didn’t know what they were doing when they were 19 and in college. Needless to say, I don’t see it having the same target demographic that my first book enjoyed, but hopefully people find it entertaining anyway.”
Matros freely admits that he relied on poker online for income, which has naturally diminished along with his coaching work in the wake of Black Friday. With his hefty tournament winnings, Matros isn’t sweating it and instead is choosing to focus on his writing work.
Observing that winning tournaments requires aptitude at a variety of games as opposed to the singular focus that can thrive online, Matros told Card Player, ”Players who specialize in a specific game are really going to be in a lot of trouble if online poker doesn’t come back. With online poker, you can find several games at all hours of the day, but when you are playing live, sometimes the live ones are going to be in games you aren’t comfortable with. I think the successful professional are going to be the players who can adapt to any game and can follow the fish from table to table, from game to game and even from stake to stake.”
Adaptability is clearly not something that intimidates Matros, as he moves freely between the world of poker, academics, and literature, finding amazing success wherever he goes. And likely, more fame to come.