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Mike Matusow Biography

Mike Matusow, of Full Tilt Poker was born in Los Angeles, California and is a professional poker player living in Nevada. During Mike’s childhood he was often bullied and didn’t get along with many other people at school and ended up not even going to college after finishing highschool. Mike tried his hand at becoming an auto mechanic, but he never finished the courses he needed to finish and then ended up having to work with his parents in there furniture store.

Mike realized this wasn’t going to make him enough money and he started gambling to try and earn more money with the money he had made. Mike didn’t fair so well at first when he was playing games in the casino and ended up going to Gambling Anonymous courses to treat his problem. After these early struggles for Mike he found work dealing poker in a casino and learned how to play the game from Steve Samaroff. Matusow continued working as a dealer, but started playing the game when he wasn’t working and eventually made the move to start playing professionally and quit dealing.

Once Mike decided to make the move to play professionally he started making a lot of money at the tables and started entering the big tournaments. Over Mike’s career he has won three WSOP bracelets and finished in the money twenty-five times in his career just in WSOP events alone. This makes Mike Matusow one of the most consistent player’s to play the WSOP events and he continues to win to this day which makes me wonder how high his numbers will be once he retires.

Matusow won his first WSOP bracelet in 1999 in the $3500 no limit Holdem event. Since then Mike has won two more bracelets including one in 2002 and just recently in 2008. Mike also plays in the WPT events regularly, but he hasn’t been able to win a championship yet in the WPT. Mike does have four final tables and eight money finishes in his career in the WPT though. Over Mike’s career he has made over seven million dollars in live poker events including over three million in WSOP poker events alone.

Matusow has also been one of the professional poker players that love to play online poker at PokerStars.com and FullTilt Poker. Mike can often be found playing online poker everyday. He has had streaks where he has won a lot of money and he has had streaks where he has lost a lot of money. Mike does gain a lot of playing experience from playing so much online poker though and has helped him develop one of the best playing styles that is seen today.

Mike Matusow is often called by his nickname “The Mouth” because he is awfully mouthy when he is playing poker and speaks his mind. Mike never backs down from a battle at the poker table and is often noted as being a little to aggressive sometimes when he is playing. You’ll either love or hate Mike, but either way you can’t deny that he is one of the best and most consistent poker players of all time.

Understanding Fixed Limit Holdem

Any top PokerStars player will tell you that knowing the fundamentals of poker is the most important part to learn if you want to progress. Usually the stronger your fundamentals are, the more success you have. Knowing what position to play is one of those fundamentals that you need to know if you want to progress any further.

Fixed Limit Holdem might seem similar to No Limit Texas Holdem at first sight; and you are probably not far wrong. However, the further you look into Fixed Limit Holdem the bigger the differences become. One of the things I will look at is Playing Position in Fixed Limit Holdem.

Compared to No Limit Holdem, players will usually play a much wider range of hands. For example, it is not unusual for a player in early position in Fixed Limit Holdem to open raise with J-10 suited, whereas players in No limit Holdem are less likely to limp in or raise with hands like J-10 suited in early position because in No Limit Holdem all this does is give a player in late position the opportunity to increase his raise to try and take the pot down there.

However, in Fixed Limit it is not possible for a player to put in a big raise to take the player off the hand, so a player in early position might just limp so that he restricts any further players from re-raising too much because the amount the player can re-raised is fixed. This also makes position on PokerStars.net important in Fixed Limit though. If you are in late position, you know exactly how much is in the pot, so you also have more information than the player who raised in early position. This is a big advantage as in life, and poker – information is power. By playing position in Fixed Limit Holdem, you can work out the value your hand has in comparison to the pot. It also means after every flop, turn and river you are acting after your opponent meaning you can get away from a pot cheaply or take control of the pot.

Position is key to making constant profit in Fixed Limit Holdem, because in Fixed Limit the pots are usually small to start and gradually, yet deliberately grow in size. The key to winning is to get the best possible value from your hands, as well as get away from your marginal hands cheaply. By doing this you will gradually see your profits increase. But as in most forms of poker, position is the key to success.

Knowing When to Fold on PokerStar

Kenny Rogers said it best, “You have to know when to hold em, know when to fold em” and he was not far off with that statement. Knowing when to fold is probably the most important aspect of your poker game and is often the difference between a profitable and unprofitable poker player. One of my favorite sayings is “I would rather make a bad fold, than a bad call”. This saying alone has helped me so much in tournaments. That is because I realized it is more important to win the war rather than the battle.

Folding is an art. In some instances, it is easy to know what hands to fold. 2-7 is a hand everyone knows to fold in any position. However, there are hands that are slightly harder to fold, such as suited connectors. Suited connectors are good cards early in a tournament, especially in late position – where you know you can see a flop cheaply. However, later in a tournament when blinds are much more expensive; you are better to fold suited connectors in most positions. Obviously, there are certain circumstances when you are playing on PokerStar where you might be getting the right odds to call or if it has been folded to you on the button. Nevertheless, as a rule, usually it is best to fold.

Another thing a lot of beginners make the mistake in doing is over-valuing their hand. For example, K-Q in early position is not a strong hand, as you are behind any Ace and dominated by A-K and A-Q. The same can be said about a weak Ace. When blinds increase later on in a tournament you have to remember its unlikely you will see cheap flops. So raising in early position with a weak Ace is usually a bad move, because if someone comes over the top you must fold. However, in late position where it has been folded to you, a weak Ace gains strength and can be worth a raise. However, if some one re-raises you still have to fold.

Strategy on which PokerStar.com cards to play changes for each blind level, as well as depending on which position you are in. To gain the best results you also have to look into how tight/loose your opponent is. How tight/loose your image is. As well as chip stacks and how many Big Blinds you have and how many your opponent has. If you stick to the general rule, you should have solid fundamentals, and then you can build from that. As I said before, I would rather make a bad fold, than make a bad call.

Bankroll Management for Cash Table Players

Any experienced poker player will tell you, it is easier to blow your bankroll than it is to increase it. It is imperative to have solid bankroll management skills. Even the very best players in the world can bust. In my experience I have found this strategy the best for cash table poker players when it comes to managing one’s bankroll.

Cash Players Bankroll Management

Being able to sustain through the bad streaks on even the best online poker sites is extremely important. Any experience cash table poker player will tell you, the swings in playing cash games are high. Players can go on monster losing streaks just as easy as they can go on winning streaks. To play when you hit your winning streaks, you need to be able to with stand the losing ones. This is where bankroll management comes  in. If you have solid bankroll management, you will have no problems when the losing streak comes.

Solid Bankroll Management Strategy

If you read some of the other bankroll strategy articles, they usually advise keeping 10 buy-ins. This would mean if you had $1k in your bankroll, taking $100 to the table. Although this strategy is not that bad it does have problems, cash players can easily go on a streak where they can lose several buy-ins quickly. Therefore, if you had a bad streak of losing five buy-ins in a row, your bankroll is now at $500, which means you are now forced to take half the money to the table. This also makes it harder to recover and get your bankroll back to where it was previously.

50 buy-ins bankroll strategy

Some players will disagree with this strategy, saying that you are being too reserved and limiting your profits. These players are usually good at poker but bust because of their poor bankroll management, believing they will never have that bad a run. The problem is most of them do. The 50 buy-ins bankroll strategy is simple. Always make sure you have 50 buy-ins. This way, if you have your bad run and lose five buy-ins, it barely affects your bankroll, and you can then go back to steadily increasing your bankroll with solid play.

The reason the 50 buy-ins bankroll management strategy works so well, is that a profitable poker player takes out any chance of going bust – as your bankroll is too deep to be impacted by a single bad session.

By sticking to this strategy, you take all chance out of playing meaning you can just focus on your poker, and not worry about how much you may lose.  I am of the opinion that the fifty buy-in bankroll strategy is far wiser of a bankroll management strategy than that of the ten buy-in guideline.

Some of the names present in the WSOP hall of fam

The WSOP hall of fame has names of individuals who have won WSOP competitions. Some of the individuals who have won past WSOP competitions include Peter Eastgate, Joe Cada, Sam Grizzle, Steve Dannenmann, Jamie Gold, T.J Cloutier and Robert Varkonyi. Winners of WSOP competitions on top of featuring in the WSOP hall of fame also get WSOP bracelets and a lot of money.

Robert Varkonyi is the man who won the 2002 WSOP main event. Robert’s wife is also an ardent poker player and she normally features in WSOP women events. The closest Varkonyi has come to winning a world title since he won the world title in 2002 is in 2009 when he was number 2 in one of the WSOP tournaments. During that tournament, most observers saw Varkonyi as an underdog with little chance to win. However, Varkonyi pulled a surprise by emerging number two. Robert is still in the game and he hopes to have a nice run during 2011 WSOP event.

Another player in the hall of fame who is still playing poker is T.J Cloutier. Cloutier is in the hall of fame because of winning the 2006 WSOP bracelet. T.J is considered one of the players who have the game to take home the 2011 bracelet. This famous player recently featured in the news for auctioning one of his bracelets in EBay.

There was a time when Sam Grizzle was a frequent face in WSOP broadcasts and Poker after Dark broadcasts. Grizzle was a big name before 2009. After 2009, Sam has not won major competitions. Sam crashed Phil Hellmuth in 2003 WSOP to win the bracelet and to enter the poker hall of fame.

Jamie Gold was a high stakes poker player before he was brought down by a scandal. The scandal that tarnished Jamie’s name was an agreement Jamie made to split winnings. Jamie’s 2006 victory in the WSOP brought him a record $12 million dollars. This record has not been broken in the recent past.

Steve Dannenmann, of PokerStars, is a part time poker player who managed to win one of the competitions in 2005 WSOP. Dannenmann is known for his down to earth nature even when he is winning top prizes. When he is not engaging in poker, Dannenmann is a Certified Public Accountant in Maryland.

Individuals who entered the hall of fame at a tender age are Phil Helmut, Peter Eastgate and Joe Cada. Phil Helmut entered the hall of fame at 24. Phil Helmut presently is a poker expert and he has his own competition called the Phil Helmut competition. Peter Eastgate entered the hall of fame at 22. Peter hails from Denmark. During the main WSOP event in 2008, Peter was a member of Team Ladbrokes. Joe Cada broke Peter’s record by winning the event at a tender age of 21 years. Joe Cada is also known for being a keen investor in the money markets.

Every poker player normally desires to enter the hall of fame. Individuals who win WSOP main events normally feature in WSOP hall of fame for their lifetime. Some of the individuals who have won main events are Joe Cada, Phil Helmut and Peter Eastgate.

Playing from Late Position on FullTilt

Each position at the poker table is different and being able to play from the various positions requires knowledge of what happens at these positions. You will not play the same hand from an early position as you would from a late position, in fact you might not even play the hand at all depending on your position. Being in a late position at the table is the most advantageous position that you can be in for a number of reasons.

The first reason that being in a late position at the FullTilt table is so good is the fact that you get to see what everyone does before you have to act. This gives you a massive amount of information and having information at the poker table leads to better decisions, which leads to winning more often and making more money. It is important not to let this advantage go to waste. I cannot even explain how many poker players let the advantage of this information just slip by. Poker players have to pay attention to everything that is happening at the table before it is your turn to act. Whether you are playing online or in real life, do not think about your hands, do not even look at your cards if you are playing in real life, and focus on what every other player is doing. This will give you information on the strength of their hand.

After you see what everyone has done in front of you, it is now time to make a decision as to what you would like to do. Because you have a good deal of information like how many players have folded, whether or not it has been raised after X number of players, etc, you can make your choices as to what to do. If a good number of players have folded or if the pot has not been raised and everyone has called, you can feel comfortable calling with a mediocre hand that, in another position you likely would have folded. Additionally, if you have a slightly better hand, you can raise without having to worry too much about the strength of the hands in front of you. There is always safety in knowledge and being able to capitalize on that knowledge from the late position is invaluable.

Overall, have a good fulltilt strategy is the most important thing when it comes to being able to play from a late position provides you with great advantages that should not be neglected. By focusing on what is happening in front of you and gleaning all of the information that you can from the actions of other players, you will be able to greatly increase what you can accomplish and the amount of money that you will make at the table. The easiest place at the table is the person who is last to act and this is often forgotten. As the saying goes, “knowledge is power,” so use the knowledge you have to your advantage.