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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Interviews

The Round Table – Players to Watch - Matt ‘All in at 420’ Stout

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Matt Stout has won more than $1.5 million playing in online tournaments and over $400,000 live all without hitting a major score over $70,000. He is becoming a common fixture in the poker scene and is definitely a player to keep an eye on.

KL: How did you get into poker?
 
Matt:
My sister actually taught me how to play five-card draw when I was only four years old.  I played a lot of board and card games and would occasionally play seven-stud and five-card draw with them when I was very young, but never got too into it. Then during my sophomore year of college a friend of mine invited me over to play 25-50c limit hold'em. I won $4.25 in a four-hour session and I was hooked.  That was over four years ago, and there have probably only been a total of thirty days or so since then where I didn't play a hand...which is kind of sick.

KL: what is a typical day like for you with poker?
 
Matt:
Lately I've been putting in a lot less volume than I used to.  A year ago if you asked me that question, I'd tell you I was on 10-12 tables almost nightly playing every tournament with $75 buy-in or higher on every site from PokerStars to UB to AP to Full Tilt down to bottom-of-the-barrel Bodog. Lately I've been trying to have a life outside of poker, because I became way too absorbed in the game for a couple of years and sort of lost touch with reality to an extent. Now I play a lot less weekdays than I used to, and when I do, I just focus on the biggest tournaments and try to keep it to 4-6 tables. I still go a little overboard on Sundays because there is so much juicy action. But a lot of times on weekdays I'll just play the $100+rebuys, whatever 1k is going on, and the nightly 150s. I'll get back into "grinder mode" eventually, but for now I'm just trying to enjoy my life outside of poker a little more...which in turn helps me to be prepared and focused when I do play.

KL: How often do you travel for tournaments?
 
Matt:
Too much. I spend more than half of each year on the road grinding the tournament circuit. I live in Vegas for two months every summer for the World Series of Poker, and am usually there at least four or five other times each year for major tournaments. I've also been to Aruba and Monte Carlo twice for the Aruba Poker Classic and European Poker Tour Grand Final. I traveled to Australia this past January for the Aussie Millions, which was an incredible experience and my favorite poker trip by far. I also play in most of the WPT events and a few WSOP Circuit events each year in the United States and Canada.

KL: What is your favorite live tournament and why?
 
Matt:
I'll have to go with the World Series of Poker Main Event.  There's just nothing like it in the world. The prize pools are the largest of any tournaments on the planet. The sheer size of the field, which you can only see one flight at a time, is simply unreal. Imagine walking into a gigantic convention hall packed to the brim with thousands of players at hundreds of tables...then multiply it by four flights. Best of all, the field is easily the softest you'll ever find for a $10k buy-in.

KL: How much do online and live events differ besides the obvious things - and which do you prefer?
 
Matt:
Aside from the obvious, they're actually a lot more different than most people who don't have experience in both would think. In general people's ranges tighten significantly in live play, especially when it comes to their tournament life. Online, players with short stacks are much more willing to jam it in and gamble to chip up. Live, you will actually see players raise and fold to a re-raise when it leaves them with less than ten times the big blind. It forces you to change the ranges of hands you are willing to shove and call shoves with a great deal if you're going to maximize profits.

KL: Which are you better at and why?
 
Matt:
It's hard to say, really. While I've established myself on the live circuit to an extent, I think most people still think of me as an online player. This obviously has a lot to do with the fact that I haven't been able to close in a big buy-in live tournament...yet. I've had a few opportunities, like the 2007 WSOP Main Event (118th place), 2008 Aussie Millions (24th place), and 2008 Festa al Lago (35th place), but have either gotten unlucky or blown the opportunity with bad plays each time. For now I'd probably have to say online based on results, but I feel like I may be slightly stronger live. A lot of live players are just terrible, and even some of the best online players have a tough time adjusting to the pace of live play. I've become pretty accustomed to grinding long hours in live tournaments without getting bored or completely losing focus, even after three of four consecutive days of play in a major tournament.

KL: What do you consider your biggest poker accomplishment?
 
Matt:
Winning my World Series of Poker Circuit ring. It was in a $500 preliminary event at Caesars in Atlantic City this past March. It was my biggest win so far, just under $60k.  Although those fields are pretty soft, I had to beat a pretty tough final table that included two of the toughest tournament players from the East coast, Chris Reslock and Louie Esposito. Oddly enough, I've also since become friends with the guy I beat heads up, Tom Kim. It felt really good to finally win a ring in the town that helped me start my career. I'd also really like to thank the players of Atlantic City for all of their support. No matter where I am, I get calls and texts of support from the East coast when I'm deep in tournaments. When I got back from Australia, people I barely know were congratulating me (even though I don't remember winning the tournament) and telling me how they stayed up late during the Aussie Millions main event to get updates on me. Little things like that really mean a lot to me.

KL: What do you still want to accomplish?
 
Matt:
A lot!  Like I said, my biggest win is just under 60k. I've had three scores of about that size, I'm really dying to break through and have a huge six figure score...but skipping straight to seven figures would be fine by me, too. I guess that winning a bracelet would be the #1 thing that I really need accomplish before my career is over.  Then I'd have to go for the Triple Crown, of course...but one step at a time.

KL: Tell us about the screen name choice.
 
Matt:
I actually remember trying a bunch of different names when I first signed up for an online poker account, and all of them were taken. I didn't want to have a bunch of random numbers or my birthday in my name, so I was stumped after a while. Then I tried a few with 420 in it, since 4:20 is International Pot Smoking Time. Eventually I found that All In At 420 wasn't taken, and my screen name was born. Of course, I was a broke college student who was playing $3+rebuy and $5 multi-table tournaments and had absolutely no expectation of being known to the entire world by that name...but then again I'm pretty sure that a lot of people who root for me started to do so because they share my love for the 420.

KL: What do you do when you aren’t playing poker?
 
Matt:
I try to see my family whenever I can...which I don't do nearly enough. I spend a lot of time with my girlfriend doing normal stuff like dinner and movies. I'm a huge hockey fan and try to catch a couple of Rangers games with family and friends whenever I'm on the East coast, too.  You wouldn't know it after all these years of *health food* as a poker player, but I was actually a pretty serious ice and roller hockey player from when I was a kid through college, and I'm trying to get back into it in my free time.

KL: What’s the sickest day you have ever had?
 
Matt:
Aside from winning my ring, I'd probably have to go with the Sunday before last. I had just gotten back to New Jersey after WPT Foxwoods was over, so I went to my good friend Steve "gboro780" Gross's to play Sunday majors with him. It was around 9pm and I was having a typically brutal Sunday, with only four tournaments still running. Then I check on Steve and he's shorthanded at TWO final tables...but never bothered to brag about it. He ends up taking both of them down, the PokerStars $109+rebuys for $71k and the Full Tilt $163 for $38k.

It definitely sparked a fire in me, and I went on to take down the PokerStars Second Chance for $50k. As if that wasn't enough, while all of that was going on we were both down to three tables in the Full Tilt Sunday Mulligan. He actually took a couple of decent pots from me...I know some people can't resist the urge to collude, but it was actually fun yelling "I hate you and am going to throw things at you" while I pondered whether or not to call his river bet with ace-high.  

Anyway, I took a bad beat and finished 18th and Steve went on to finish 4th for another $19k.  We cashed for about $180k total, almost as much as the winner of the Sunday Million received that day.  Although I was a bit outshined, it was definitely a pretty sick day.

*Edit 12.30.08 - Just after talking about wanting a six figure score Matt did it three weeks later, winning the "Sunday 500" on PokerStars for $105,354 this past Sunday!*
 
Like a wheel, the Round Table is a circle of adventures and victories, beats and stories, and life as it unfolds with a cast of characters that may, or may not, have joined you in your home on a local TV program. There's so much more to poker than what you see on TV. Although I won't use canvas, I will paint the full picture for you as I follow the lives of some of your favorite (and some unknown) players. The Round Table is an ongoing series of life, viewed full circle.

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