Professional poker player Mike Matusow defeated his friend Phil Hellmuth in a “best of three” heads-up poker match to emerge as the 8th champion of the NBC National Heads-up Poker Championship. When he won, Mike “The Mouth” Matusow shouted, “You gotta go for it, baby!” As the champion of the 2013 NBC event, Matusow collected $750k and 504 Card Player Player of the Year (POY) points. The runner-up Phil Hellmuth, who had become the NBC champion back in 2005, collected the runner-up prize of $300,000.
Speaking about his achievement to NBC, an exhilarated Matusow said:
means a lot to have Phil alongside me. All you hear from the young kids is ‘Mike and Phil used to be good, but they can’t keep up with us kids, with our generation.’ But where are they standing today?
Most of the 64 poker players who had taken part in the NBC poker championship event were young pros, and the most widely renowned old-school pros Hellmuth and Matusow made it to the “best of three” final heads-up matches.
Matusow’s way to the top, however, was not that easy as he had to defeat a number of talented players such as Barry Greenstein, Michael Mizrachi, and others. He first defeated Michael Mizrachi, thrice winner of the prestigious World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet and twice winner of the World Poker Tour (WPT). During round two, he defeated Viktor “Isildur1” Blom, the high-stakes poker player. During round three, he defeated Barry Greenstein, thrice WSOP bracelet winner, and during the semi finals, he defeated Scott Seiver, who had just come back after winning $2 million at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) Super High Roller event. As the semi-finalist, Seiver won $100k plus 294 POY points, which pushed him to position ten on the POY leader board.
When Matusow finally started playing heads-up against Phil Hellmuth, the tournament format had been converted from “single elimination” to “best of three.” Although both players played extremely well, it was Matusow who ultimately won two of the three matches, the second match having resulted in a tie.
Speaking about his success, Matusow said,
I’m on top of the world right now. There is nothing that feels better than winning a tournament. Nothing I hadn’t won one since 2008. I have only played about 40 since then, and these guys play about 40 a week. But, you know man, I feel good.