After starting the final table in short stack, Michigan poker player Harvey mathews made a spectacular comeback last Friday to capture his first World Series of Poker bracelet Las Vegas.
One of 720 players in Event # 13, the $ 3,000 Freezeout No-Limit Hold’em, Mathews won a huge $ 391,914 first prize for the effort, by far the biggest win of his poker career.
Mathews outlasts other WSOP bracelet winners, poker foes to bring victory to Michigan
Mathews played regularly at the WSOP before 2011, when “Black Friday” exclude US players from online poker for several years. He returned to Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Vegas to attend events at 2019. That summer, Mathews won a small amount of money to bring his career tournament earnings closer to $ 30,000.
Today, the 38-year-old Mount Morris suddenly increased that total to over $ 400,000.
Talking to USPoker, Mathews described the experience as “quite surreal”.
“I always dreamed and wanted to win a bracelet, but I never thought it was a real possibility,” he said. “This event was pretty starry terrain so it’s great to get the win.”
Indeed, among those Mathews had to survive at the final table was the four-time WSOP bracelet winner. Michel Gathy, who ultimately finished third. Other notables doing deep runs in the event included Niall farrell, Tristan wade, Daniel Weinman, Sergio Aido, Jerry wong, Maria konnikova, and Brock Parker.
A great hero call: “I went with my reading and I was right”
In fact, it was a big hand against Gathy that marked a turning point in the tournament final for Mathews.
Matthews reached the nine-man final table as one of the short stacks. He started the third and final day still near the bottom, fifth out of seven players. However, he scratched his way and took advantage of the chip lead as the field shrank further.
With three left, Gathy was back to the top of the scores. That’s when Mathews and Gathy made their way to the river in a heads-up pot. With the table showing 4h-5d-Jc-Qc-10s, Gathy led with a huge bet which Mathews eventually called. He was just holding on Ac-5h for a pair of fives.
The call was correct as Gathy was bluffing after missing his flush draw with Kc-8c.
“I went with my reading and I was right,” said Mathews USPoker. “At that point, I really started to think I was capable of landing the event.”
After regaining the chip lead, Mathews quickly knocked out Gathy in the third. He then maintained the lead throughout the heads-up against Gabriel Andrade, ultimately winning the final all-in to win the title.
WSOP advances with more live and online bracelet events
Mathews returns to the Michigan online poker scene this week. He plans to return to Las Vegas in November for the $ 10,000 buy-in WSOP Main Event. He’s played Main a few times before, but hasn’t managed to cash it yet.
Back home, Mathews will return to his full time job as a Database Manager. While there, he will probably find time to play online poker at both PokerStars MI and BetMGM Poker MI. He says he tries to play online three nights a week.
Meanwhile, the WSOP continues to move forward with their 88-event live program, plus another 10 online bracelet events.
Online bracelet events are only available to players on WSOP.com sites in Nevada and New Jersey. When WSOP.com comes to Michigan, expect Mathews to be one of the many MI poker players keen to start playing for Great Lakes State bracelets.