Over the weekend, we reported on an incident involving Mike Matusow at the 2014 World Series of Poker. True to his nickname, Matusow had been given a one-orbit penalty deep in the $2,500 Omaha/Seven-Card Stud High-Low event, reportedly for excessive celebration, after which he had one of his old school blow-ups and busted out of the tournament. On Monday, new information about the episode came to light courtesy of Allyn Shulman (pictured) and CardPlayer.
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To quickly recap the controversy, with 24 players remaining in the tournament, Matusow won a big hand and began celebrating wildly, screaming, and parading around. After that, he reportedly received a one-round penalty for his demonstration. Upon his return, he busted out of the tournament within an hour. Later, he posted the following rant on Twitter:
“This was worst ruling in poker history. When you fight for 24 hours of poker play on a nub and win a 200K-pot and scream… and am forced to miss a round, this is unjust. Something really needs to be done by disgusting floor decisions that can change the outcome of someone playing for $250K. Again, no excuses, I played poorly after this unjust ruling, but [given the] emotional person I am, it just wasn’t right. GL to everyone left in the tournament, [but] if it were Hellmuth or Negreanu or Ivey, there’s no way they make this disgusting ruling.”
The vast majority of players in the poker world came to his defense, including the aforementionedPhil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu. While people might not have been enthralled with Matusow’s antics, virtually nobody thought he deserved a penalty.
Nobody, that is, except for Shulman. In a recent article on CardPlayer’s website, the 2012 WSOP Seniors Event champ said the story we have all heard is wrong. She was at Matusow’s table and has a different account of the incident, saying that Matusow was not penalized for excessive celebration, but rather for boorish, obnoxious behavior toward WSOP floorman Dave Lamb. This behavior, she said, had been going on for a while before the climax of the encounter between Matusow and Lamb. She described what the scene looked like well before the hand that prompted his celebration:
“From the moment we were seated, the players were subject to Mike’s constant stream of profanities. Whatever subject he was discussing included expletives such as Mike saying he had the worst [expletive] luck or some other [expletive] did this or some [expletive] did this [expletive]. It was as if the table was his personal stage. His loud, fast-talking, ill-mannered, vulgar barrage was almost frantic, like someone who had way too much coffee.”
“After Mike (pictured) won the pot,” she said, “he started screaming he was the greatest [expletive] player in the world, no one [expletive] deserved this like he did, etc. He pounded on the table, making the chips shake, and then started running around the room whooping, hollering, yelling, jumping, and swearing.”
According to Shulman, Lamb did not come over on his own. Instead, he came over because the players at the table were so tired of Matusow’s act that they summoned him. And when Lamb did arrive at the table, he did not assess a penalty. He simply asked what happened. In response, Shulman, said, Matusow got up in Lamb’s face. Lamb allegedly kept his cool and asked Matusow to step away from the table to talk about what was going on.
Shulman narrated, “Dave calmly, quietly, but firmly asked Mike a number of times to step away from the table. Not only did Mike refuse to move from the table, he was up in Dave’s face yelling and cursing with his normal diatribe of vulgarities bellowing something like you can’t [expletive] give me a [expletive] penalty; that would be the worst [expletive] ruling in the history of poker. It was only at that point that Dave Lamb quietly said now I am giving you a one-round penalty.”
If we were to believe Shulman, Matusow received a penalty for his inappropriate behavior toward Lamb, not for merely celebrating a victorious poker hand.
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