Poker PicksWith ESPN’s coverage of the World Series well underway, the man of the moment is truly the garrulous Mike “the Mouth” Matusow. This year, Mike shook off his well-publicized troubles with drugs, and a spell in prison, entered the World Series a reformed man and promptly set it alight. Mike played some awesome poker and made his second final table in five years, which, considering the size of the fields in recent years, is remarkable.
Mike entered the final day of the tournament a staunch favorite, facing a largely cautious opposition, reluctant to make any strong moves. He was confident going in to the final day, even confiding in a friend just before taking his seat that for him not to win the tournament, he would have to run aces into kings. Little did he know that his grisly prediction would be fulfilled on the second hand of play, when his kings were cracked by Scott Lazar’s pocket bullets. Matusow actually made trips on the flop but, amazingly, Lazar caught a flush on the river when four hearts hit the board. Matusow was crippled, but fought back bravely and aggressively with a short stack, finally succumbing to more ill fortune when his pair of tens were outdrawn by Steve Dannennman’s A-J.
“I played the best six days of poker in my life,” Mike told the press at The Horseshoe in downtown Las Vegas, and when it comes out on TV you’ll see how great I played.”
Mike, by his own admission, can be an erratic player. When he’s on his game, he’s amongst the best in the world, but he’s prone to concentration lapses, he can make amazing plays all day, and then suddenly blow off all his chips like a rank amateur. Considering the World Series this year was a gruelling seven long days of poker, this makes his performance all the more impressive. Mike gets the GOM recommendation as this month’s hottest property in poker.
Speed Poker is a new hectic, breakneck form of America’s favourite game, designed firmly for the new generation of poker player. Speed Poker hurtles the live game into the internet era, irresistibly combining online poker with the bricks n’ mortar version. The new breed of player is accustomed to the fast pace of the online game, where he (and, increasingly, she) is trained to making split-second, accurate decisions about the strength of hands. Speed poker competitors have only fifteen seconds to determine whether to bet or fold, as a giant arrow counts down to declare their hand void. This makes for a lively and enthralling battle of wits, and is growing hugely in popularity, attracting amateur and professional alike.
We caught up with Rob “The Hux” Huxley, one of the poker’s most high profile dealers, who, as a Speed Poker dealer has to stay sharp, dealing at an electrifying pace: “It really does bring the online game to live play,“ says the Hux. “Players don’t have to sit there waiting for hours. It’s for the player who likes to play quick and has a great poker sense developed by internet poker. And that’s the new generation of poker player.”
Speed Poker, run by World Poker Promotions and sponsored by online casino, Mansion.com, kicked off its first ever tournament in Estonia last year and followed that up with another successful outing at the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia. At the time of writing, there are murmurings from Mansion.com about a tourney scheduled for December in Vegas. Keep an eye on the Mansion.com website for further details. You can qualify online at PartyPoker, BetfairPoker, LadbrokesPoker and, of course, Mansion.com.