I first ran into Matt Waxman back in 2011 when he was tearing everyone a new one in the World Poker Tour (WPT) Grand Prix de Paris. He was one of five American players that went deep that year, but for me he seemed to be the most American of them all. I imagined him as part of the cast of Grease, with a comb in his back pocket, cigarette dropping off his lip alas James Dean and a pink lady on his arm.
It was a case of old school American cool, and he needed it as the TV camera lights threatened to turn the final table players into melted wax. A final table that contained Martin Jacobson, Byron Kaverman and Hugo Lemaire. Waxman took $721,178 for that victory, but more importantly, it gave him the confidence that he belonged. He had won one of the big three, and would forever be known as a WPT Champions Club member.
Then in just the seventh event of the 44th Annual World Series of Poker (WSOP), Waxman added his second piece of serious hardware to his trophy cabinet when he won Event #7: $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em (NLHE). Once again Waxman had to do it the hard way. Not only did he have to figure out how to get through 1,827 players, but the final table included Brent Hanks, Amit Makhija and Eric Baldwin; the latter pushing Waxman to the limits of his capability with a seven hour heads-up encounter.
So with an additional $305,952 guaranteeing the man a schedule free roll, and confidence once again at an all-time high, did Waxman’s schedule change as a result of that momentous victory?
“It did…I wasn’t planning on playing the One Drop, but after the bracelet and the five cashes I decided to make a run for the Player of the Year award, and knew a score in the One Drop would help. So I sold some action and hopped in that one, but in hindsight I wish I hadn’t played.” Said Waxman.
The One Drop created an amount of hysteria like no other, so it’s easy to see why every poker player would want to be a part of it. But that’s just the view of a crazy old media moose. How does Waxman feel about it?
“It’s not even a really tough tournament. It’s a bit like a turbo. The first day is like a deep stack cash game and then after the dinner break on the first day it turns into a turbo. At the final table people were three bet shoving for their entire stack so unfortunately the structure wasn’t the best.”
The rail was impressive and the autograph hunters were out in force. From a media perspective we often go wide eyed when we see so many names taking their seat at a poker table, but are they really as good as their reputations say they should be?
“Some of the most well known pros in the field are not that great at NLHE, also there was a plethora of businessman in the field. They were good spots as well because despite being smart people, they don’t play a lot of poker…not as much as the well-established pros. The tournament was actually pretty good value. There was just 3% rake and a lot of good spots, so it was disappointing not to do better.”
The WSOP victory has put Waxman in a situation where he could now win a live triple crown. All he needs is a European Poker Tour (EPT) victory to complete the set, so has the idea jumped to the forefront of his mind?
“Yes…I am thinking about it. I am thinking the move may be to go to London and satellite into some EPT’s and try and get that third leg of the Triple Crown. I have played about 3-5 EPT events in Europe. They are very big fields, full of very tough and aggressive European players. But despite that, the tables I have had have been soft, so maybe I could go out there and ship one of these things.”