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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Interviews

The Round Table - Matt ‘ch0ppy’ Kay

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Playing poker seriously for 2 years, 20 year old Canadian Matt Kay is a rising superstar of the game. He has won over $1.3 million playing online tournaments and is currently traveling the world playing events outside of the US until he turns 21 next June.

KL: How did you get started playing poker?

Matt:
Home games with friends. I found it pretty fun. I was getting lucky at the time; we were all clueless on the game. I decided I wanted to get better and beat my friends so I started playing online for free and then eventually I moved to real money and then eventually I won a couple of tournaments and just started from there.

KL: How quickly did you move up?

Matt:
I won a $10 freeze out in December of 2006 I believe, and a week later I won a $22 180 person and they paid $1,300 and $1,000. Then I went to cash games and ran up like $8,000. That was huge money at the time so I was very happy at that point. Then I started going on a downswing so I cashed out, got kind of scared. I started playing again soon after that, played mostly cash games and some tournaments. In September I went to a university where I live in Ontario and there I met my friend Mike McDonald, Timex, and I learned more about tournaments just from him. I started focusing more on tournaments and then come January I won the Sunday Million. That is how I got started.

KL: What was that like, winning one of the biggest online tournaments?

Matt:
It was pretty exciting. I didn’t really play them weekly at that point. I played the $10 rebuy satellites and won half the rebuy tournaments I played I guess, so I got multiple seats. I usually just took the cash in them because they are easy tournaments. I played the Sunday Warm up, I did pretty good, I didn’t cash but I felt like I was playing good so I decided to play the Sunday Million. I had played it like 8 other times before that, but not on a regular basis. I guess I ran good early, I kept getting it in good with 70-30 and 80-20. I kept re-stealing a lot, the same strategy would not work today because everyone’s so over aggressive now. I was top 5 for the majority of the tournament. The final 100 I ran into a bit of trouble. When there were 64 left I was 63 of 64 and I just won multiple hands to skyrocket up again; eventually for the win, unchopped.

KL: Why didn’t you do a deal?

Matt:
It never really came up. I was doing pretty good at the final table, I felt that I had an advantage. My bankroll at the time was like $10,000-$20,000 so anything would be good for me.

KL: How did you feel at the final table? Were you nervous or excited?

Matt:
Nervous and excited. I was in residence at the time so I had like 10 people watching me, all cheering me on. We went wild afterwards. We got this really big pizza from this place nearby and broke out the beer and everyone stayed up all night basically.

KL: When did you realize, ok I’m good at this, it’s something more than just for fun?

Matt:
After the Sunday Million I played more, I tried to play every Sunday. I was still in university at this point. I was going to see how the summer went and go from there. It went good; I was on the upper end of variance at that point. I have a good amount of money at this time, but not quite enough to play live on my own so I looked into backing for live tournaments. I have played 14 live tournaments so far over $5000. I haven’t been running nearly as good.

KL: How have you felt playing live?

Matt:
It’s not that different really. The players are a lot worse, and you can do things you can’t get away with playing online. Bet sizing can be different.

KL: A lot of online players aren’t big on reads; they don’t think reading people is as important. Do you feel the same?

Matt:
Pretty much. I know some basic ones or stuff that I look for. Mostly bet sizing. Bet sizing is first and then getting reads is after.

KL: What do your parents think of you playing poker?

Matt:
They turned around after the Sunday Million and started to see it my way.

KL: Are you anxious to turn 21 so you can play in the states?

Matt:
Oh yeah, I am getting really sick of traveling to Europe all the time. Everything is so overpriced and I really hate the no free refills! That really bothers me; it’s a little tiny cup that you pay like 6 Euros for in Monte Carlo and you don’t even get anything at all.

KL: What are your future plans in poker?

Matt:
I hope to make some more money playing poker, maybe open up my own restaurant or business. I really like the restaurant Denny’s but there aren’t any within 100 kilometers from where I am so I think it would do very good with two universities nearby. I would like to do that if I can, I just need some more money first. I am going to continue to play even though it is frustrating at the time because I’m not running good but hopefully it will turn.

KL: How do you ride out the downward swings?

Matt:
I don’t know but I know I am profitable and I just hope it will eventually turn around for me.

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