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  • Mike Matusow Takes Down 2013 NBC National Heads Up Poker Championship

    Monday, January 28th, 2013 by Ryan

As we spoke about last week, the 2013 NBC National Heads Up Poker Championship featured some of the biggest and best names in all of poker. When all was said and done though and we had officially made it into the cash, there were some major league big time names left in the action. When we were down to the final heads up match of the event though, it featured two of the biggest names out there in Mike Matusow and Phil Hellmuth. Mike “The Mouth” Matusow has fallen off the radar just a bit after Black Friday it seems, but he’s still an often talked about player, while Hellmuth has remained big in the major tournament series’ out there like the World Series of Poker. While Hellmuth may have more recent results, it was Matusow who go the best of his opponent in the final of the Heads Up Poker Championship. He walked away with an impressive $750k, while Hellmuth went home with a second place prize of $300k.

The final day of action began with eight left in the action, and we had already seen some big names walk away with some cash, including Phil Ivey, Vanessa Rousso, Barry Greenstein, Antonio Esfandiari, Joseph Cheong, Tom Dwan, Dan Smith, and David “Doc” Sands, who all won $25k. Matusow knocked off John Hennigan, but it didn’t look great at first when he was down 330k in chips to 70k in chips. Before long, Matusow was able to rally back, get the lead, and then get the win. Another match featured Daniel Cates against Scott Seiver, and Cates found himself very short stack after a rivered flush for Seiver. Seiver knocked him out on the next hand.

The two other match-up’s featured Eugene Katchalov matching up with Hellmuth, and Brian Hastings going up against Joe Serock. For Serock, he was able to win a big hand early on and simply grinded his way to a win from there. On the final hand of that match, Serock pushed all-in with pocket fives, and Hastings called turning over pocket eights. Serock was able to hit runner runner diamonds to get the flush and send Hastings home. On the other side of the bracket, Hellmuth was able to pick up a big lead after a while, but Katchalov was able to make quite a comeback to get the lead again. It went on and on for a bit, before Hellmuth grabbed the lead back and we saw one hand end it. Hellmuth had pocket Jacks while Katchalov had A-10 of clubs. Hellmuth dodged anything and moved on from there.

After this point, it was Hellmuth against Serock going heads up, and a big point in the match came when the board was showing Ac-5c-4s-Qc and Serock bet out 29k, which was called by Hellmuth. The river came down with the 9s and Serock bet out 69k, which Hellmuth called also. Hellmuth showed two pair, while Serock simply mucked his hand. This left Hellmuth with over 600k and Serock with only 200k. The match ended with Serock going all-in pre-flop around a half hour later with Q-J of hearts, and Hellmuth called with A-J of clubs. Hellmuth held on and moved onto the finals.

When checking out the other table, Matusow was behind yet again, and this time he was in a big hole. It was 680k to 120k he was down, but Matusow caught fire and couldn’t be outdone. After a big double up, it came down to a few hands after that when Seiver moved all-in with J-10 and was called by the A-10 of Matusow. Matusow’s hand held, and we had our heads up match set.

The action started quick with Matusow grabbing hold of the chip lead. This event features the final match being a best of three series. He actually hit quads and was able to get paid, but Hellmuth doubled up soon after that. At this point it was 1 million to 600k in chips, and soon after that Hellmuth shoved all-in with pocket fives. Matusow turned over A-Q of diamonds after calling, and was able to hit an Ace to win the first match, just needing one more win.

It didn’t take long for Hellmuth to even up the score though, but it wasn’t as easy as he’d hoped. Matusow was up quickly around 1 million to 600k again in the second match, but Hellmuth was able to get a few big hands to grab the lead back. They literally flip flopped the chip lead quite a bit before they got it all in. Matusow turned over pocket two’s against the pocket tens of Hellmuth, and Hellmuth was able to hold on to get the win in the second match.

The third match had a ton of anticipation around it, but it was The Mouth who got the job done. Matusow grabbed a lead pretty quickly, and just kept on building on the lead throughout the match. This third match only took 30 minutes to decide who the champion would be. On this hand Matusow raised the action pre-flop, and Hellmuth called, leading to a Kd-Js-2d flop. Hellmuth then check-called a 30k bet, and when the 6s came down on the turn, Hellmuth checked, leading to a bet of 105k from Matusow. Hellmuth decided to shove all-in at this point, and Matusow thought on it but decided to make the call. This put Hellmuth’s tournament life at risk, and Matusow showed a diamond draw, while Hellmuth had top pair. Matusow was able to hit his flush on the river though to get the big win.

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