Matt Savage: This is my Main Event

TAGs: Abe Mosseri, Alex Bilokur, Alexsandr Denisov, audio interview, Chris Wallace, David Singer, Lee Davy, Matt Savage, Ted Forrest, World Poker Tour, WPT

Matt Savage: This is my Main Event Audio

Matt Savage: This is my Main EventLee Davy sits down with the World Poker Tour (WPT) Tournament Director, Matt Savage, to talk about his deep run in the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Low Championship; chew the fat over difficult floor decisions and much more.

Ted Forrest, Alex Bilokur, Abe Mosseri, David Singer, Chris Wallace, Alexsandr Denisov and Matt Savage.

That’s quite a table, and at the time of writing only David Singer has more chips than the man we are more accustomed to seeing confidently striding around the tables in his sharp suit.

He is one of the most respected Tournament Directors in the world.

Could he soon become a WSOP bracelet winner?

But wait.

Hold on.

This must be is shot.

So what on earth is he doing making it in a $10k?

“I have friends with money,” Savage jokes, “I have a lot of people who support if me if I want to play in these events, and so I try and pick my spots and Stud 8-or-Better is a game that I have had some success in. This is the big one I wanted to play, because I can’t play in the Main Event, as I will be managing the WPT500 at the Aria. This is my Main Event.”

It seems strange to hear Savage talk about taking his shot in a $10k. I look around and every seat has a bum planted in it that belongs to a poker player of the highest caliber.

“To be fair, they are all great players, but some of them are great players in No-Limit and Pot-Limit and this is a different game. You have to run good in this game no matter what. You have to run good in all games, obviously, but if you run well in this one, nobody can beat you.”

There is something different about the Tan Section of the Amazon Room. It feels like the uncool kid. It’s squeezed in the corner and is easily forgettable, but the atmosphere on the tables is different. People are talking, people are laughing and people are having fun.

“A lot of these guys have known each other for 20-years. I myself have also known most of the guys at the table for 15-years, so when you get to know all of these guys, there is a lot more conversation. It’s a lot more lively for sure.”

As the only non-pro in the field, I wonder if the players think Savage is the fish?

“They probably do, but I think some of them are fish. Part of the reason I play is because I think it’s important for TD’s to play in these things. You get more respect; well that’s certainly been the case for me. I know a lot of these guys, and whilst I make decisions on them all the time, they have become friends, and I don’t get a lot of people getting out of line in my events. I think this has a lot to do with it.”

Thinking back to the incident between Mike Matusow and the floor man Dave Lamb, just a few days ago, it strikes me as a wonderful idea for tournament employees to get involved in these games so they can gain more understanding of the players perspective.

“I think it helps. Obviously these guys are playing long hours and I have a ton of respect for them. I know I feel bad when I bust out of an event, so if these guys are going deep, or playing a lot of hours, it gets pretty tense – so I can understand a little bit of an outburst.

“I don’t know what happened, in that particular incident, but I know Dave Lamb has been a great floor person for almost 20-years. I think he probably went a little over the top, but at the same time gave a penalty he thinks was necessary.”

What happens behind the scenes when an incorrect call has been made? Is there a disciplinary procedure?

“There can be, but for the most part I ask that a player goes to the next level – and they could have done that in this spot. I believe Dave was the senior floor person, at the time, and he consulted other floor persons about this penalty, and they all agreed that this was the right thing to do, so they gave the penalty. I like to see that first, before any disciplinary action takes place. Obviously, if there is a major mistake then disciplinary action can be taken, but for the most part we try to back each other up and make sure the right ruling is made first.”

What constitutes disciplinary action? Can they be removed from officiating at a tournament?

“They definitely could get taken out of a tournament, but I don’t think this would happen by making a incorrectly penalty. I have overruled floor people at times. I don’t like doing it, but if they have made the wrong call I will do it. That’s the first step. The second step could be to remove them from a tournament.

“First of all Mike {Matusow} is saying that it’s the worst penalty in history, which is an over exaggeration, but at the same time you need to analyze: did he affect the play? Did he upset people? Did he upset the person he beat in the pot?

“Whether that person spoke up, or could have spoke up in this case, is rather irrelevant because Mike Matusow is the big name, so did he do something that is more one sided…maybe?

“The other thing that happened was Mike was allowed back before his penalty was finished with. Now that might not be the right decision, but at that time they felt he had served enough of a penalty and he was put back into the tournament. Again that was a judgment made by the floor staff, and it was made with the right interest of the tournament at heart.”

When playing does Matt try to reach for his ‘other hat’ when I decision goes against him?

“Definitely. It happened to me a couple of days ago. It was a decision that I didn’t agree with, but it was in my favor. They called another floor person over and he backed him up so I had to go with it. I can’t argue with the floor person even though it affected me in a positive way.”

Do players look to Matt to back them up when a decision has not gone their way?

“All the time. Fortunately, I’m not working this event. I respect what these guys are doing. They are doing a great job operating all of these events. Just let these guys do their job as well.”

The WPT seems to be going from strength to strength with another great year.

“It’s amazing. I never thought last year could be improved upon but it really did in a lot of spots. Bay 101 was up and Commerce was up. I don’t know where the money is coming from, but I like it, and I am happy that the numbers are up. Also, the WSOP is doing well. If the series goes well, poker goes well.”

The recent partnership between Bay 101 and the Global Poker Index (GPI) is an inspired play. I wanted a clarification that the top five leaders in the GPI Top 300, and the top five leaders in the GPI Player of the Year race would be invited to the Shooting Stars event?

“It will be the top five POY leaders, and the top five GPI 300 leaders. There may be some cross overs, but we will invite them and see what happens.”

As I left Savage behind, there were 40 players left in the tournament.

Could there be a more celebrated winner?

Let’s hope we get to find out.


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