Mike Matusow Claims He, Ivey, Negreanu, and Hellmuth Made Poker What it Is Today

December 20, 2023
Mark Patrickson

After a bit of social media hooha over Phil Hellmuth performing another of his famous WSOP grand entrances, Mike Matusow has claimed that without characters such as this in the game, poker wouldn't be where it is today.

“If not for people like Phil Daniel , me , Ivey Doyle Mike Sexton and few others there wouldn’t be poker tourneys to play! When WPT started we had a vision even I didn’t think Phil’s vision was reality but it was…”

The conversation started with Daniel Negreanu defending Phil Hellmuth from a few minor complaints about his showpiece entrance that he does at every series.

Ike Haxton wasn’t impressed and enquired if he was in the minority of people who don’t like the distraction, even if it is only for ten minutes or so.

“Does anyone actually like this shit? If I’m in the minority I’ll just concede that this is fun for most people and I don’t get it, but I don’t think I am. The 100k at least paused for most of it but ME players had to play through it. I still have a headache 40 minutes later.”

He also expressed an opinion that if it’s only for the sake of content promotion then it could be done before play starts or during one of the breaks.

WPT Host Tony Dunst said there was a poll at the World Championship series last year from the $10,000 event players who said that the halftime show was too loud and went on for too long. For the sake of player experience, this year’s series was adjusted accordingly.

A couple of posters couldn’t help themselves with a dose of sarcasm aimed at Hellmuth and Haxton…

But is it true that Phil Hellmuth's showmanship is a positive part of the poker show? More than likely yes, but not everybody seems to think so.

And how important are these old school characters in the game? We think they’ve done a great job promoting poker over the last couple of decades and have almost certainly helped to grow the game into what it is today.

Talking about Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu said:

“Personally, I think those people should be thanking him for the color and outrageousness he brings to the game because in the end, these pros are all richer, in part, because of Phil’s antics both on and off the felt.

You don’t have to like it. You can think it’s obnoxious and self indulgent. I wouldn’t do it… but I’m glad Phil does.”

As for Mike Matusow getting hate over his statement, the truth is that he is part of a small group of players we might term original poker celebs. Think back to the old ESPN coverage we had from the WSOP in the early boom years.

Without these personalities the game would never have taken off in the same way. They were the first recognisable players for the millions of new players who were taking up the game and interested to know who the big names from the previous era were.

$2000 Bonus
30% Rakeback
$2000 Deposit Bonus