Matt Stout Interview -
COMPNCARDS: Matt, thanks for taking the time to talk to us today and congratulations on your final table appearance.
MATT STOUT: No problem, James, thanks for having me. Always a pleasure to sit down with one of the funniest guys in poker media.
COMPNCARDS: Matt, tell us a big about your start in poker. I know you grew up in New Jersey and got your start in AC, but elaborate a bit on that if you will.
MATT STOUT: Yes, I grew up in Bayonne, NJ, and my sister taught me how to play five card draw when I was four years old. It was just one of the many card and board games I grew up playing, but never got really serious about poker until college. My buddy Nick Luisi at The College of New Jersey asked if I wanted to play some .25-.50c limit hold'em. I had no clue what he was talking about, but I loved cards, gambling, and general merriment, so I showed up. I grinded out a big fat profit of $4.25 and was instantly hooked. I played in every game on and around campus that I could get into, and when that wasn't enough I started playing play money and eventually low limits online.
After shedding my gills I had some moderate success over the next year or so both online and in some $50-200 home game tournaments around the state. After turning 21 I started grinding it out in Atlantic City and had some success in cash games and the daily tournaments at the Tropicana and Taj Mahal until I'd built my roll to over $10k just in time for the WSOP Circuit event at Caesars in Atlantic City in March of 2006. I won a $75 single table satellite into a $560 preliminary event and ended up making the final table. I was second in chips to Matt Glantz (who has since become a good friend of mine) and chopped it five ways for ~$34k; more than second-place money. I went on to win two seats to the $10k main event (before WSOP-C main events were changed to $5k) in that series, which marked my very first sick heater and the start of my pro career.
COMPNCARDS: You have had a great run so far this year. You opened the year with a WSOP Circuit final table, finishing 3rd in Tunica. You then took down an event during the California State Poker Championships. Over the summer you cashed three times at the World Series of Poker. In the last month, you have had two deep runs in the World Poker
Tour with a 13th at Festa al Lago and a 3rd at the World Poker Finals. What has been the key to your run so far this year?
MATT STOUT: I guess in short it'd be patience, positive energy/thinking, and playing a ton of tournaments and even the blind squirrel eventually finding the nut! I've been working really hard on my tournament game lately, especially with the fields becoming tougher and tougher with the breadth of information available to players now. There just aren't as many soft spots in tournaments as there were a couple years ago, especially in the big buy in events. I was able to play a tight and solid game and consistently beat the games back then, but it was only in the past year or so that I've been able to reach the next plateau and consistently go deep in some of the toughest fields in the World and truly feel like I belong there.
COMPNCARDS: Let's talk about your 3rd place finish from Tuesday. You entered the final table 4th in chips and ultimately took 3rd. Tell us about your play. Also, tell us about the sick suckout you took to get crippled.
MATT STOUT: I have to say that this is probably the first time in my career that somebody has actually ASKED ME to tell them a bad beat story! Weird...well, I was the chip leader when we reached the ten-handed final table, but lost half of my stack to Soheil Shamseddin when his pocket nines cracked my pocket aces and Tommy Dobrilovic's pocket kings in a three-way pre-flop all in for 2.8 million of the 10.6 million chips in play. I was left with 1.1 million after that hand and was back up to 1.6 million when we started the TV final table of six. I had a slight chip lead when we got down to three-handed play, but the stacks were all pretty close when following hand came up.
I (3.685 million) raised to 200k on the button at 40/80k (10k) with the 5-6 of hearts. Cornel Cimpan (3.615 million) folds from the small blind and Soheil Shamseddin (3.24 million) called from the big blind. The flop came Kd-Kh-4h, and Soheil led out with a tiny bet of 150k, which I called. I turned a flush with the 3h, and he lead out for 300k. I raised 420k (hehe) more, and he moved in for 2.88 million total. I insta-called, and he showed Ks-9c.
I was one card away from being heads up with a 2:1 chip lead against Cornel and guaranteed another $200k+, but it wasn't to be as he rivered the 9h.. I was crippled down to 445k and the blinds went up to 60/120k on the very next hand. I never gave up and got back up to 2 million while Cimpan slipped to under 1.5 million at one point, but then I shoved K-J of clubs into his pocket queens and re-crippled myself. I was unable to make another sick comeback, and busted out on the next hand.
Although I got unlucky for a ton of equity, I guess I took it better than a lot of people would have/seem to think I should have. I was very happy with my performance and did everything I could to give myself an opportunity to become the next World Poker Tour Champion, so how can I be upset? I can't control the cards that come after I get the money in, and the game is the game...I'm at peace with my play.
COMPNCARDS: You won $265,710 for your 3rd place finish. We all know that it was your biggest live tournament cash to date, and from what I have researched, it appears to be your largest poker cash to date overall. Is that indeed the case? Also, do you have any special plans for the extra money or are you planning on bankrolling it?
MATT STOUT: Yes, it was definitely my biggest cash by a wide margin. I have a couple of plans, but probably not what you'd expect from a 24 year-old poker player I suppose. I plan on buying new equipment and playing more roller hockey, getting LASIK eye surgery, finding good health insurance (which I've just been putting off for a while), and probably buying a house. I've never been a big gambler or partier and already am in love with my car (Infiniti G35, nothing crazy but it's a great car...I'll never be that guy spending six figures on a car), so I'm more focused on the major life purchases and focusing on vacation time and my health.
COMPNCARDS: Do you consider yourself a true poker junkie or have you gone corporate like many "pros" out there? (Don't laugh Matt.)
MATT STOUT: I'd have to say that I am and always will be a true poker junkie, but despite years of ignoring corporate opportunities I've finally become affiliated with a couple of companies that I really believe in. It started when my friend-turned-agent from the Atlantic City area, Randy Kasper, wanted to start representing me because he felt that I was wasting my marketability. He and Gene Castro eventually formed Poker Players International, which is best described as a cross between a poker players' union and a representation firm which also supports charity tournaments. You can check it out at www.ppipoker.com.
COMPNCARDS: Recently, you singed a sponsorship deal with Lock Poker. Tell us about that.
MATT STOUT: Poker Players International also landed me a great opportunity to work with a new Partner on the Cake Poker Network, Lock Poker. In September, I became a Lock Pro and am heavily involved with the site. They've got a lot of promotions in the works from deposit bonuses to one-on-one training by the hour from Lock Pros such as myself, and are really trying hard to focus on what the customer wants...because they know that's what matters. Even current Cake Network players can still sign up through me and receive a 110% deposit bonus up to $600, which is good on transfers as well as deposits. Interested players can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
COMPNCARDS: So what are your upcoming plans? The United States Poker Championship is coming up as well as some circuit Main Events. Also, how long will it be before we see you in the live winner's circle of a major event?
MATT STOUT: I headed to Borgata after the WPT final table was over for the $1500/$500k guaranteed deep stack tournament there, but busted about halfway through day one. I just got home to Vegas and grinded all day in the Venetian $2500 main event on Monday but never got it going and busted late in day one. I'm just hanging out at home now with my girlfriend and roommates, and we're going to have Thanksgiving dinner in Vegas for the first time. Then I'll probably stay here for some prelims and the $15k WPT main event of the Five Diamond at Bellagio before heading home for the holidays. After that I'll be heading to the Bahamas for the PCA and probably back to Jersey for Borgata's Winter Poker Open, followed by the LAPC at the Commerce. At some point I'm going to find some time to take a non-poker vacation, too....maybe. =)
COMPNCARDS: Matt, thank you for taking the time to talk to the Poker Junkie nation. Hopefully we will be reporting on a win for you soon.
MATT STOUT: Thanks again for having me, and maybe if I stop forgetting my jar of rungoodsauce when I get down to three-handed in big buy in tournaments you will!