After 17 hours of poker, and getting the biggest win of his life, Matthew Davis’ night – or morning, rather – wasn’t done.
The newly crowned Mid-States Poker Tour champion made the 2-hour trip from FireKeepers Casino in Battle Creek to his home in Washington Township. He walked into the door $344,446 richer, but also pretty tired.
“I crashed for maybe three hours and woke up at 10,” Davis said. “My phone was going nuts, and I was responding all day to people. I was going to try to take a nap, but that never happened. I got to bed at 10 (Monday night), and I was out. That was the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a while.”
It was the second MSPT cash for Davis and his first at FireKeepers. It couldn’t have come at a better time, as he bested a record field of 2,409, taking the top prize in a prize pool that eclipsed $2.3 million.
Davis tops record field at MSPT FireKeepers
The end was sweet for Davis, but getting there was a bit of a grind.
After a stellar start to Day 1, Davis found himself short-stacked following the last level of the night. He said he only had enough chips for about 15-25 big blinds, but was able to remain alive by picking his spots and winning some hands as the field dwindled to about 100.
“When we got closer to the final table, it was a rollercoaster for me,” Davis said. “I was one of the shorter stacks when we got down to two tables left, but I built up to be one of the top five stacks. I lost a big hand with 10 people left, and went into the final table seventh or eighth in chips out of nine. But I was really patient and waited for my spots to pick up some chips.”
Davis was dominant at MSPT Final Table
Davis went all-in on king-10 and won to build his stack, and won a few more hands to become the chip leader with five players remaining. He knocked out each of the final four players, including Rinaldo Teodoro of Wisconsin, who finished second.
The heads-up duel between the two ended when Davis, who was holding a pair of 7s, put Teodoro all-in with ace-6 off-suit. A 7 on the flop all but sealed the title for Davis, and when the turn didn’t save Teodoro, it was a wrap.
“It was kind of a mixed emotional bag,” Davis said. “One, I was extremely exhausted, running on fumes after playing for 17 hours. I had a lot of adrenaline going. I was at the point where I was really tired, but also really excited and happy. This is something I’ve been at for a long time. I’ve been playing since I was 15. I’ve done well in tournaments and had some good scores and done well in the (WSOP) Main Event, done really well online. This is my biggest score, but the biggest thing is to actually win a tournament like this, and having a lot of my close friends there. Even now, I’m still kind of coming down off the high.”
MSPT FireKeepers final table results
Here’s a look at how the final table shook out.
|1.||Matthew Davis||Washington Twp., MI||$344,446|
|2.||Rinaldo Teodoro||Pleasant Prarie, WI||$212,511|
|3.||Jason Zarlenga||Lansing, MI||$158,796|
|4.||Adam Williams||Saginaw, MI||$123,767|
|5.||Justin Pimpedly||Taylor, MI||$94,810|
|6.||Chris Moon||Sterling Heights, MI||$74,272|
|7.||Alex Farcas||Madison Heights, MI||$58,381|
|8.||Ron Puleo||Sarasota, FL||$45,537|
|9.||Alec Magdan||Warren, MI||$36,196|
Poker now a career for Davis
The win is a huge boost to Davis’ professional poker career, something he said he’s been working toward for years.
He still owns an insurance agency, but moving to poker full-time is the goal, and it’s never been closer.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” he said. “It’s not an easy thing to do. I wanted to make sure I was in the right position and in the right place with my finances. I’ve always done well playing, it was just being able to put the volume in.”
Balancing the poker and a 9-to-5 likely prepared Davis for the long hours at MSPT.
“There were nights that I’d go home at 8 at night, then play until 2 or 3 in the morning,” Davis said. “Then I’d wake up at 6 and go back to work.”
Davis a regular in Michigan online poker tournaments
While the 32-year-old Davis enjoys playing live events, he spends most of his time at virtual tables playing online poker in Michigan.
“I love playing live, online though, there’s more value,” he said. “I can play more at one time. When I play an online session, sometimes I’ll be playing 10 tournaments at one time. It allows me to see way more hands and allows me more opportunities to have a nice score.”
Davis said that most of his time online is spent playing at World Series of Poker Michigan, and most of his time is dedicated to tournaments, not cash games.
He looks forward to the day online operators in the state begin offering interstate poker.
“I’m very excited,” Davis said. “When I was out in Vegas, I played a $1,000 online bracelet event and it was with players from Nevada and New Jersey. That one was awesome. First place was like $220,000. To be able to expand Michigan, they’re going to have tournaments like that on there, to. That’s going to make it way better.”
Photos courtesy of Matthew Davis