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Jenny Woo Interview with Poker Player Matt Graham

Written by:
Jenny Woo
Published on:
Jul/16/2009
Matt Graham Poker Player

The World Series of Poker was concluding with the final table to be played out in November and players are finally stepping away from their tables to make themselves available to the public.  I've been a busy beaver catching up with some of these players to talk about their time at this year's WSOP along with other topics going on in their lives.

One of those players was Team UltimateBet.com's Matt Graham.  He is known for being a skilled and solid online player but has been making waves in the largest land based tournaments as well.

JENNY:  You just recently had your biggest winnings to date where you finished 1st in Pot-Limit Omaha at this year's WSOP.  What's next for you?  Vacation or more poker?  And what tournament will you be playing in next?

MATT:  I would have loved to go straight to vacation after the win, but I had to finish up the WSOP and then the Bellagio cup is right after that. I believe there is a month break after that so I plan on taking it easy and have actually planned a vacation to Cabo with my girlfriend - so definitely looking forward to that. When I return I will be headed to Indiana to instruct for WSOP academy. As far as my own tournaments are concerned I will start back up with legends WPT, WSOP Europe, ad then Aruba.

JENNY:  What biggest challenge did you face at this year's WSOP? (If any)  And was there anything you wanted to change?

MATT:  I didn't have any big challenges besides just struggling to build stacks in anything.  I did go in the 1500 PLO, but ran my AA into KK to go out 29th.  An interesting fact about my NL Hold'em events at the WSOP is that I never put an ante into a pot.  That's right - I never even made it to 100-200-25....

JENNY:  Besides winning this year, did you have any other memorable moment at this year's WSOP?

MATT:  I stayed pretty busy so not a whole lot went on in my life other than poker tournaments.  But I did enjoy sweating my roommate, Darryll Fish, who made several deep runs getting him 7 cashes and one final table which he unfortunately finished 9th at. 

JENNY:  How has it been joining the Ultimate Bet team?  And have the other well-known pros reached out to you and offered words of advice?

MATT:  It has been great. Everyone I have encountered with UB has been very friendly and helpful. Not to mention the team of pros and UB has got to be the nicest group of guys representing any site.  

JENNY:  What was your family's reaction when you decided to drop out of college to pursue poker?  And what do they think of your success?

MATT:  I didn't rush into it so by the time I was leaving school I had made a lot of consistent money.  So I think that helped ease their concern. They both get very excited whenever I get deep in any tournament. They have been 100% supportive so I never had to stress about that.

JENNY:  Do you think you'll ever go back to school for your medical degree?

MATT:  Not a chance, but I may go back and get some sort of degree in something that interests me. I would mostly just be going for self-satisfaction, not to actually put that education to use. 

JENNY:  What's your favorite thing about the game?

MATT:  I love that it is always changing. You can never really master it because due to trends in game play the optimal way to play will always be changing. You really have to keep up with what everyone around you is doing so it's a never-ending learning process.

JENNY:  There's obviously a need of skill to succeed in the world of poker.  However, do you think there's a lot of luck involved as well or do you think it's all skill?

MATT:  It's pretty much impossible for a very skilled player not to win over time.  So in the long run luck really doesn't matter a whole lot.  However, some people will of course be more fortunate in their life times (anyone who wins the main event).

JENNY:  What's your game of choice - online and live?  And what's your style of play on both?

MATT:  I prefer live. I just feel like there is so much more information that goes into every decision.  So this allows me to play a lot more hands and make plays I wouldn't bother trying online. When I play online I play pretty straight forward, but do mix some plays in when I feel like my tight image will allow me to get away with it.

JENNY:  You're a self-taught player.  What key advice would you give someone who's just getting started in poker?

MATT:  Mostly just put in a ton of time and make sure you aren't just going through the motions, but constantly evaluating your play in order to figure out what is making you money and what is not. The game can be learned on your own but having a few friends who are as motivated to learn around you to discuss hands with will help tremendously.  

Jenny Woo, Gambling911.com Senior International Correspondent

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