Matthew Pitt is the Editor of the PokerNews UK website, father of three young boys; dedicated partner, wannabe poker player and writer. Lee Davy caught up with him at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) as he settled down to six weeks, of the life, and this is what he had to say.
Matthew Pitt is a grinder. I’m not talking about the terminology used to describe a dedicated poker player. Nope. When I use the term ‘grinder’ in connection with Pitt, I am talking about life.
As a fellow Northerner I feel like I carry the same DNA as Pitt. His sweat, blood and tears all look very familiar to me. For those of you unfamiliar with life in the North of England, it’s your archetypal working class family structure. Well that’s life through my lens, and I know Pitt wears the same specs.
For a Northerner, the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas is unnecessary. After all, we have Blackpool just up the road. It may well be the adult’s playground, but strippers, whores and casinos are not on the menu for a devoted family man.
For the hard working grinder, Sin City can sometimes be nothing but a pretty shitty city.
“I have been here for a week now,” Pitt tells me, clearly uncomfortable with the dry heat that is smacking him in his chops outside the Rio,” I’ve settled into Vegas time and am ready for the next six weeks.”
Ah, the facade of man. There it is. Hidden, but glaringly obvious to those who know – I am ready for the next six weeks. Bullshit. Nothing can prepare you for the slog. It is what it is and you just get your head down and plough through it. Pitt is the epitome of a carthorse. Give him a field that cannot be ploughed and watch him turn it into green.
“I said I wasn’t going to come back after my last stint, but I got an offer, and above all I love poker so here I am.”
People who dream about aces, diamonds and hearts are not going to understand that sentence. I mean, why would a lover of poker not want to come back to the WSOP?
“When I come to Vegas I am not just working at the WSOP. I have other responsibilities as well. On a typical day I will rise at 7am, have some breakfast and start writing articles for the PokerNews UK site. Then when I am finished I will head into the Rio where I will cover events until 3am in the morning. After the players have left we are still tidying up the reports that will be read around the world. Then it’s back home, to try and get some sleep, before rinsing and repeating for the next six weeks.”
I guess it’s just like taking acid. You can’t really get the gist of it without actually immersing yourself in it.
It’s a tough life, but that’s how Northern boys are raised. There are some people at the WSOP who eat steak, there are others that eat minced beef; there are those that eat caviar; and those that eat gravy; then there are those that like sushi; and those that prefer a Yorkshire Pudding.
“What makes this year even more difficult is my youngest. He’s five now and he really didn’t want me to come to Vegas. I had to explain to this little man that his Dad had to go where the money was. That’s not an easy thing to do with a five year old. All I can say is thank God for Skype. I try and Skype him every day, and so far so good, there haven’t been many tears on either side.”
Pitt has three boys aged 5, 7 and 11, and paradoxically, they are the reason he is rinsing and repeating. I conducted this interview during a break in the Casino Employee’s event; a $500 event that Pitt was fortunate enough to find a backer to put him in the game.
$500 is £300 in good old-fashioned UK money. In the world that Pitt and I live in that’s a lot of dough. To win over $85,000 would be life changing. When I interview the pros, they always say that they are not thinking about the money. It’s all Pitt will be thinking about. In his mind, that car would be paid off, the kids could have some new toys, his good lady some new shoes, and most importantly, stress can take a vacation in the town of don’t come fucking back.
“I think I am a wannabe poker player and writer to be honest. I enjoy playing and it’s a pastime that seems to be profitable for me. I am never going to be a Toby Lewis, but I get an odd treat from the game every now and then. The only thing I don’t enjoy is when I am losing.”
“There are a lot of very good writers out there these days. The money is not as good as it once was. Obviously if the States comes back online-fully that will help the situation, but it’s like any job you do, you just have to keep grinding at it and hope that it’s still there in 6-12 months time.”
And that’s what Yorkshire Pudding does.
He keeps grinding.