StreetAuthority

 

By Amy Calistri
June 13, 2013

On June 7, I watched the Internet video feed from Las Vegas as Mike “The Mouth” Matusow pocketed $266,503 by winning the 13th event in the 2013 World Series of Poker.

Matusow has won nearly $9 million playing tournament poker, and I’ve studied nearly every hand he has ever played. I even sat next to his mother the night he won $1 million in the Championship Event of the 2005 World Series of Poker.

During his recent tournament, Matusow seldom had the lead. But he played a disciplined game. He folded many hands while his opponents wasted chips, chasing after hands they didn’t have the odds to win. Matusow’s patience and premium hand selection over the course of the three-day event were rewarded with the first-prize gold bracelet.

I’ve played poker for more than a decade. I’ve had the opportunity to study — and go up against — some of the best professionals in the world. I’ve seen players amass big leads in a tournament, only to turn right around and give every chip back. In my experience, both as a poker player and an investor, the decision to not play a mediocre hand can be the most profitable decision you can make.

It’s easy to spot an inexperienced player at a poker table. He’ll be the guy who plays nearly every hand. He’s probably grown up watching televised poker, where folded hands are edited out to highlight the relatively few contested hands. In his limited view, he believes by playing more hands, he has more chances to win. He has no idea how many hands he’ll lose before he gets lucky.

I want this guy at my table for as long as his money lasts.