As I watch him play, I type his name into my Notes on the iPhone and look down at it. The auto-type function has been a little cheeky.
Matt ‘Pez’ Perrins is no ‘Mary.’ He’s a World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet holder, and a damn good poker player. He is bossing one of the toughest events in the series: Event #57: $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em (NLHE), and he knows it. He has an air of cockiness about him. He’s like a peacock, and his feathers are fanned far and wide. They are poking everyone in the face.
There are just 11-players remaining in the field and the table that Perrins has a seat on is as tough as old boots. Seth Berger is looking for his second final table of the series. He’s sitting in the one seat. Next to him is the cherubic looking Randal Flowers playing the short-stack. Then you have Mr. America – Matt Berkey. He has a white baseball cap turned backwards and a pair of stars and stripes shades clipped at the top of his t-shirt. Philipp Gruissem has the four seat. He is carrying a serious demeanor. His black scarf tied loosely around his neck and trademark black leather jacket keeping him warm and cozy. Next you have Perrins. His immaculate Tin Tin style crop doesn’t have a hair out of place and he’s wearing a smooth black jumper. He looks the business…until he steps away from the table to reveal a pair of shorts and flip-flops. You can take the kid out of Rochdale, but you can’t take the Rochdale out of the kid. Finally, occupying the sixth and seventh seats is the horizontal looking Joe Serock. If this kid gets anymore comfortable he’s going to fall asleep.
“I have bubbled pretty much every tournament I have played except for the four-max where I cashed after getting sick unlucky against Juanda. So although it’s not been going great I have been happy with the way I am playing. I knew a deep run was coming.” Said Perrins when we caught him during the break.
Stuart Rutter once told me that Pez is the most fearless player he has ever met at the tables.
“Not mindless aggression…I mean cold calculated fearlessness.” Said Rutter.
When we catch him in action he is using Philipp Gruissem as a punching bag; and that’s no mean feat. I guess that’s the fearlessness Rutter was talking about.
“I haven’t had a hand every time, but I have found good spots where I can rep pretty good, and have been able to put him into a coffin a few times.” Said Pez when we discuss his battles with the German.
Perrins wins two consecutive hands against the German before Gruissem once again opens the button, Pez once again three-bets from the small blind and Gruissem once again calls.
Flop: [Ad] [Kh] [Jd]
Pez checks and the action is on Gruissem. Pez if a chip riffler, but Gruissem hasn’t got time for any of that shit. He just sits stoic with his hands crossed over his cards. He never looks at Pez when Pez is looking at Gruissem, but once Pez turns away the German’s eyes instinctively maul the young lad from Rochdale.
Pez checks for a second time and Gruissem bets fairly quickly. It’s 110k. Pez takes a tower of green chips out of his stack and moves 500k across the line. It’s enough to put Gruissem all-in and he instantly draws this, “are you fucking kidding me,” face from nowhere.
Gruissem eventually folds what he tells Perrins is ace-ten, and Perrins later tells me that he had king-queen with the king of diamonds. I guess that’s one of the spots he was talking about…and that’s what he means by putting him in a coffin.
Pez is the lad who decided to enter a WSOP $1,500 2-7 Lowball event, despite not knowing the rules, and then went on to win it. He is also the lad who later went out and blew most of that haul playing Blackjack.
“Most of my downswings have nothing to do with poker. Instead it’s my poor spending habits. I don’t play nowhere near as many events as the other regs. Possibly 20-events in the past few years, so I have a decent track record. So it’s not the poker. It’s trying to curb the spending that’s the big issue for me.”
I guess it’s difficult to find balance in the poker lifestyle when you come into it as such a young age. I’m 38-years old and it’s difficult to put myself in their shoes. What would I have done with all of the money and adulation had I been in a similar spot? I guess I would have been in one of those coffins that Pez has been putting Gruissem in?
“It’s really tough to be a professional poker player. The best thing to do is to get good playing online – as there is a lot of help in the guise of training sites and tools – and then play as much live poker as possible. Big live cash games are the place to be. But its not like it used to be.”
Barny Boatman’s recent bracelet victory has put a bit of a spring into the British step – something that has been missing in the build up to this series. Let’s hope that Perrins can follow in Boatman’s footsteps and once again give the British Isles something to cheer about. Whatever happens it’s going to be one hell of a rail, and who knows, with the right amount of luck, Pez might just find himself with more WSOP bracelets than anyone else that lives in Rochdale.
Perrins will be the chip leader when the final nine players come back tomorrow to battle it out for the WSOP bracelet and nearly $800k in prize money in Event #57: $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em.
Seat 1: Antonio Buonanno – 1,185,000
Seat 2: Seth Berger – 1,698,000
Seat 3: Thomas Muehloecker – 1,434,000
Seat 4: Kent Roed – 482,000
Seat 5: Matt Berkey – 1,585,000
Seat 6: Joe Serock – 1,211,000
Seat 7: Randal Flowers – 619,000
Seat 8: Matt Perrins – 1,946,000
Seat 9: Arthur Pro – 1,610,000