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  1. It was just before midnight when chaos erupted in the basement of Mr. Bode’s Hampton, New Jersey house. You see, his son, 29-year old Matthew Bode, who had just driven all the way from his home in North Carolina to play a little online poker, had just won his first World Series of Poker gold bracelet. “I started screaming and yelling. I was going crazy after the win,” Matt 'Bodeyster' Bode said. “I was freaking out. It was surreal…I ran like hot fire.” Once his father and step-mom ambled down the steps, once the dogs stopped barking, he did his best to explain what had happened. After nearly predicting it just days before, Bode won Event #4 of the 2020 WSOP Online series for just over $97,000. The event which took place on July 4 was designed with fireworks in mind. It took less than six hours from start to finish for Bode to claim the gold bracelet making it one of the fastest gold bracelets won in WSOP history. He was faced with stiff competition at a short-stacked final table including Kevin ‘ImaLuckSac’ MacPhee, Frank ‘spaghettiii’ Marasco, and eventual runner-up Brian ‘XcrazylegsX’ Frasca. Even so, he felt like he was the one with the edge. “I think I had an advantage over a lot of the crushers at the final table because they didn’t know who I was but I knew who they were,” Bode said. “There was no room for mistakes if you messed up in any spot you were out in that tournament. And I knew it too, at that moment. My hands were sweatin’, my balls were sweatin’…you name it and it was sweatin’ on me,” Bode said. “I knew how big of a moment it was.” “I just stuck to my guns and stuck to my charts and kept with it,” he said talking about his final table performance. “I just didn’t make any calls. Just stayed with the all-in button and didn’t hit the call button. Just made all the folds and hit all-in. That was my goal just not to hit call.” While he didn't make any 'calls' at the final table, Bode, who considers himself a part-time pro MTT player who mostly competes on America’s Cardroom, did take to Twitter, to call his own shot. “My goal back in January was to win a bracelet. So I slowly built up enough of a bankroll up. Going into the weekend I had $5,000 to my name to play for the weekend,” he said. “I had $1,500 to my name headed into the Super Turbo.” While those who take bankroll management seriously might shudder at that thought, Bode has never really lacked confidence when it comes to poker. He started playing young, around 12, and came up with a crew of friends, many of which turned into professional poker players. As an eighteen-year-old Bode was playing on Full Tilt and partypoker online and winning the first live tournament he ever played. He was even taken under the win of pro poker player Leif Force who helped him elevate his game. But even though Bode felt like he was just as good as anyone, especially when he was younger, he didn’t take the poker pro path. He found another competitive outlet in Ultimate Frisbee. In 2009, as a high school student, Bode won a National Championship in Ultimate Frisbee, and then in 2013, as a professional, he won a World Championship. At the same time, Bode has another job working with kids with autism, helping non-verbal kids become more verbal and assisting their families through Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy. “The work I do with children, it fills the bucket if that makes sense,” Bode said. “If I didn’t wake up and do something else, work with someone I feel like I’d be a miserable online grinder.” While he was playing poker recreationally from time to time over the last ten years, Bode was more focused on his work. It wasn’t until November 2019 that he decided to give the grind another chance. When he did decide to go for it, he buckled down and put in the work. “I’m super competitive so I just started studying and studying and studying and grinding super hard,” he said. He quickly got back into the scene, playing eight tables at a time, making deep runs online. “Everyone started seeing me on the ACR scene as I was making final table after final table. I was going deep in everything but no big binks.” That’s when he decided to make a run at a bracelet. He started to build a bankroll early in the year. He sold a little to his brother, who plays professionally, and his girlfriend but kept most of himself. Then for the Fourth of July weekend, he packed his car and made the trip to New Jersey to take his shot. “I knew it was going to happen. If you’re a poker player you know, you get that feeling and I had that feeling. I hadn’t won a tournament since January,” he said. “For me to sun run it at that time, I kinda knew I was due. I earned this moment. And a soon as we hit that min-cash, as soon as I saw it, I was like ‘ok, I’m going for the win’.” “This is that moment I’ve been waiting for. When you get to that spot and you have that absolute feeling like ‘This is my tournament, my time to win.’ and I put in all this effort. There’s a reason why I’m up to 4 a.m. every night. And after I’m losing I’m studying why the hell I lost and understanding all my mistakes.” In the end, he says he “ran well and made all the right jams and that’s all that matters.” As for what’s next, Bode can’t be sure. “I haven’t even seen the bracelet yet,” he laughed. After a nearly ten-year detour from poker, Bode is back - now with a bracelet. But he doesn’t regret taking any of that time off. “If I were to have tried to grind my way through at twenty when I knew I was really good at this game, I wouldn’t have been able to have this bracelet now,” he said. “The poker gods wouldn’t have had my back until I had gone and gotten life lessons. They wouldn’t have given me this bracelet, I had to be mature enough to embrace this.” As for what’s next Bode is still basking in the glow of a bracelet. “Leif wants me to fly out to Vegas and go to Mexico with him to finish out the whole series and try to earn a bunch of points. But I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m in this ‘what the hell just happened??’ kind of moment.”
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