Latest UltimateBet Aruba Classic Winner Matt Brady: No Monster Truck Yet!

Written by:
Jenny Woo
Published on:
Matt Brady

I'm sure a lot of you read my "all in good humor" article on UltimateBet Aruba Classic Winner, Matt Brady. Well sweet Matt tracked your ever so irresistible Jenny down and insisted on doing an interview. Ok, so maybe that's not exactly how it went. But a girl can day dream - can't she? WTF? Either way, Matt opened up and gave me a good laugh all the while explaining his love for poker.

JENNY: How did you get your start playing poker?

MATT: I've always been a very competitive person and always played sports and different types of games growing up. Played a little poker and card games when I was in high school or whatever in small home games with friends but it was never anything serious although I did like playing them and usually did pretty well. Then basically went to college and didn't play for awhile but then got back into it toward the end of my college life when it became real popular with it being on tv and the internet and moneymaker and all that stuff. I was fortunate enough that when I first started playing online I had some success right away in some tournaments. Looking back on it now I was very lucky cause I didn't know what the hell I was doing. But basically having a little early success kept me interested and motivated to keep playing and get better and better and that's basically what I did.

JENNY: You're fairly young...Did your parents ever have a problem with you playing professionally?


MATT: It was definitely not the easiest thing for them to accept when I told them I was gonna quit my job and play poker for a living even if deep down they may have known it was coming. They knew I had been having some success and that I really didn't feel like going to work from 9-5 every day. But like any parent would, they had their concerns and reservations. But they also knew that when I put my mind to something, I'm usually pretty successful at it and they've been very supportive of me the whole time and very helpful in so many ways throughout the early stages of my career in poker.

JENNY: How long do you plan on playing professionally?

MATT: Well I really don't know what the hell else I'd be doing if I didn't play poker. Plus I really do enjoy it so yeah I have no plans on quitting anytime soon.

JENNY: You were born in Ireland's 33rd county, Havertown, PA. How important is the "luck of the Irish" when it comes to winning in poker?

MATT: You guys have a hell of a research team coming up with that nugget about Havertown! As far as luck of the irish goes, sure it definitely doesn't hurt to have luck on your side. But really as a professional, all I'm trying to do is to continually put myself in the best situations possible and then whatever happens happens.

JENNY: Do you believe in leprechauns?

MATT: Sure why not.

JENNY: What good luck charms did you have with you in Aruba?

MATT: No real "good luck charms" necessarily but I def do do a few quirky things when things are going good to not mess anything. For instance, I walked the exact same path to the tournament every day which was behind the hotel down by the beach on the path, cut thru a little patch of sand by where people rent the jet ski's or boats or whatever then cut thru a little patch of grass then up the stairs by the Radisson pool and around to the tournament room. There were probably easier ways to go but that's how I went on day 1 and I didn't want to screw it up. Also, after the tournament each day me, Allie (Prescott-finished 4th), and our friend Mike Beasley went to the same hotel bar and drank till like 1230-1 just cause we had to! People would try to get us to other places or whatever but we just couldn't risk that it would be unlucky! lol

JENNY: My sister lives in West Virginia and I noticed that you graduated from West Virginia University. What was your major?

MATT: Graduated with a degree in sport management.

JENNY: Do you do anything else besides poker?

MATT: Sure I do other "stuff". Professionally-wise, poker is my only "job" but i have started to get involved with a little real estate and whatnot. But outside of poker, I'm basically just a regular guy who likes to have a good time, grab a beer or a steak, watch a baseball or football game and really just enjoy life.

JENNY: You've been so close...yet not close enough in these major tournaments. Has it been frustrating for you? And if so, what was the most frustrating part?

MATT: Tournaments are in general basically always frustrating unless you win which just happens so rarely because of the variance involved and the sheer number of people playing these things. And yeah I'd been close before in some big events and on top of that I'm a player that generally takes a lot of tough beats cause I tend to be a little "trappy" and whatnot. Of course it's gets frustrating at times. But as you get a little more experience in these things, you learn to deal with the losing aspect a lot better. I just try to go into every event with a clear mind and just go play as well as I can at all times-- that's really all i care about is if I play well. If I get screwed cause I get unlucky when I get a guy to put it in as a 4:1 dog then there's nothing I can do about it.

JENNY: You just won your first major tournament, UltimateBet Aruba Poker Classic 2008, in which you won $1 Million. How did you feel (finally) to win?

MATT: It really did feel amazing and it honestly wasn't just the money although obviously that is great. You just deal with so much adversity playing tournament poker for a living, and you just take loss after loss and bad beat after bad beat that when it finally just all comes together and you're able to win a big event like this, it just makes it all the more gratifying. I was happy with my results and proud of things I had accomplished before aruba and knew I had the respect of a lot of people within the industry and fellow players or whatever. But deep down I really felt I wouldn't be happy till I knocked off a major and to finally be able to do that just felt amazing. Also, this event was particularly rewarding because of the quality of play that went on basically from 5 people to go where all the players played really well and were really good. As well as the fact that the structure was amazing, as all of Matt Savage's tournaments are, which led to some great great plays. Johan is obviously a seasoned pro who played well, Allie is a good friend of mine who just plays sick and played awesome in this event, and Jeff and Brandon are just ridiculously good young superstars in the making that played great and were tough as hell also.

JENNY: What type of new toys have you bought yourself with that $1 million? Maybe a monster truck?

MATT: Haha.....a friend of mine sent me a text saying I heard you bought a monster truck and I didn't know what the hell they were talking about. Then another friend sent me a link to that ridiculous story you guys wrote about me and I thought it was very funny. Honestly, haven't really bought anything cool yet but I should be able to come up with something good soon.

JENNY: Now that you're a millionaire, will you ever visit another Eat N Park (West Virginia eatery) again?

MATT: Haha....think I've only been to Eat N Park once or twice anyway, but I'm def not above going to an Eat N Park.....especially if we have drank all day in Morgantown or something before hand!

JENNY: How have your family and friends reacted to your win?

MATT: Everybody has been ridiculously supportive and were just really really happy for me. They know how frustrating it can be at times, and everybody was going nuts back home and all over following the blogs and everything. It really did make winning even that much more special knowing how many people were pulling for me and it really just felt awesome to get it done with that much support.

JENNY: Lots and lots of sports celebrities come from your home town (Brendan Hansen, Olympic medalist; Billy King, one time GM of the 76'ers; Speedy Claxton, NBA referee Joey Crawford). Have you ever bumped into the most infamous of all - Tim Donaghy (NBA referee caught up in betting scandal)?

MATT: Again, you guys and research dept are awesome! I know Brendan even though I haven't seen him forever....we actually played liitle league baseball together growing up and he comes from a good family. I don't know Joey Crawford himself but I know some of his family also who are good people. As far as the other NBA ref goes, I don't know him and am pretty sure it's a good thing that we never crossed paths or else maybe I woulda ended up in trouble also! lol

JENNY: Are you now considered a local celebrity?

MATT: No, not at all! I may have a little bit of poker "celebrity" now or whatever but believe me my friends will put me right back in my place if I show even a hint of acting like a hotshot or whatever! haha

JENNY: Who would be best for the online poker industry? Obama or McCain?

MATT: I honestly don't really know enough about the online poker industry anymore or the candidates views to even comment on that.

JENNY: What's your opinion on the changes this year that have been made for WSOP final table happening in November?

MATT: I think it's kinda neat I guess and we'll see how it ends up. It was worth taking a shot....if it doesn't really work or generate the buzz it's supposed to or whatever then they'll go back to the way it's always been which I guess I'd probably prefer.

JENNY: Who do you look up to in the Poker Industry?

MATT: No specific names but I basically respect anybody that can be successful over the long haul and also handle themselves with class at and away from the table.

JENNY: I just did an article on Underground Poker Rooms. Have you ever attended these rooms? And if so, do you still?

MATT: There was a small club or 2 in Philly that I went to for a little bit when I was first starting out in poker. But I haven't been to an underground club like that in years.

JENNY: What's next for you?

MATT: I just really want to keep playing and keep doing what I've been doing for the last couple years. I'm happy, life is good and I just want to continue to be consistent year in and year out in poker and keep putting up results with hopefully some more big wins sprinkled in there in the future.



Jenny Woo, Senior Correspondent