World Series of Poker on TV

World Series of Poker on TV August 25, 2004

Last night’s showing of this year’s World Series of Poker on ESPN was quite amusing to watch for two reasons – to see Phil Hellmuth whine and to see Mike Matusow being an obnoxious ass to the guy who pays him back by knocking him out and winning $5 million. Hellmuth is, of course, the ultimate crybaby and it’s always fun to watch him whine when he gets knocked out of a tournament. Last night, he was saying how unfair it was that he was knocked out because he was playing so well, and he even said, “I made laydowns that no one else in the world would make” but still got knocked out. Uh, yeah. Problem is, Phil, those laydowns were bad laydowns that you dishonestly rationalize away. For instance, he laid down QQ twice in a row and both times, as he himself wrote in his column in Card Player, he had the lead. Here, I’ll let him describe it:

It is now announced that they will break my table, and I’m dealt Q-Q under the gun. I make it $1,800 to go, and now I’m freaking out thinking I’m going to lose this pot to K-K. Everyone folds to the big blind, who is the guy who beat me with Q-9 earlier in the day. He moves all in for my whole $18,000. Finally, I fold my hand faceup, and he shows me A-K.

The very next hand, at a different table now, I’m still talking about throwing away pocket queens when I pick up pocket queens again and open for $1,800. Incredibly, the big blind moves me all in! This time, I feel that my opponent has J-J or worse, but I still fold my hand faceup. The big blind shows 7-7. I don’t mind this at all. After all, I could have gone out if he hit a 7. Besides that, who in WSOP history will ever lay down Q-Q in back-to-back hands for a single reraise?

Wow. The ability of the human mind to rationalize away stupidity is absolutely staggering. Phil, no one in WSOP history will ever lay down QQ in back to back hands, especially to weaker hands, unless they plan on losing a lot of money. You screwed up. You made stupid laydowns to weaker hands and you could have used those hands to build your stack up so you could be a factor. But you didn’t and you lost. Stop your infernal whining about it.

Even better than that, however, was Mike Matusow, known as Mike the Mouth in the poker world, and for good reason. He drinks while he plays and as he gets drunk, he becomes more and more obnoxious. Now some people see this as some sort of brilliant strategy to put people on tilt, but the truth is that he’s just a drunk and an asshole, and poker players can tell you lots of stories about him losing his cool in tournaments, blowing off big stacks of chips and getting knocked out. So here’s what happened last night…

Matusow is in a hand with Greg Raymer, who was this year’s eventual champion (that hasn’t aired yet, of course). Raymer makes a raise, Matusow moves all in on him and Raymer folds. Matusow starts strutting and crowing like a rooster, talking about how big his balls are and what a pussy Raymer is. Raymer just sits there calmly and pulls out a notebook and writes something down in it. At that point, Matusow has the gall to extend his hand for a handshake, which Raymer understandably brushes aside, at which point Matusow starts crowing some more. Raymer just sat there stone-faced, no reaction. What makes this really funny is that Raymer is the one who knocks Matusow out of the tournament later (that will probably air next week) and he goes on to win the $5 million championship. And that, my friends, is karma in action.

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