Mission Impossible: Mike Matusow’s Boldness

The mouth goes for first win in ninth appearance


The “Mission Impossible” table of Season 4 of Poker After Dark raised the stakes in table talk and tension when the 0-8 Mike Matusow was tasked to defeat five previous PAD champs. David Williams, Gavin Smith, Clonie Gowen, Phil Laak and Phil Hellmuth each took turns needling Matusow in their own way -but ultimately Gowen won.

Hellmuth put Matusow in a negative space at the start, where Matusow mucked ace-king preflop.

Laak held pocket eights and three-bet Matusow preflop. After Hellmuth folded, he moved all-in, Laak found the fold button and Matusow tabled his hand – seven-four of spades.

Upon the table’s reaction, Matusow said, “Beating me today is going to be very, very tough.” His statement rang true a short time later in a hand against Smith where the flop went Matusow’s way.

He opened under the gun with ace-jack of clubs; Smith rose all in holding ace-queen off suit and Matusow insta-called and took a stand.

Matusow’s stand doubled him up and helped him survive Williams’ and Smith’s eliminations. Matusow cut Smith down to a short stack in hand that Smith felt Matusow played badly.

“I think his call out of the blind is pretty bad,” Smith said. “The lead on the flop is ok, except for the fact that I’m going to call him with ace high… then on the turn, he starts to play the hand disastrous. I don’t see how he leaves $5,000 behind.”

“I could have moved him all in, I was sure I had the best hand,” Matusow said. “I didn’t do it; my radar had already been off twice – if I’m wrong I’m out of the tournament. I felt like it was a safer play to call there.”

Unfortunately, Matusow did not overcome the “Mission Impossible” and fell short of clinching the win.