As a famous pork-based cartoon character once said, "That's all, folks," but what an epic battle it was, the day exploding out of the blocks before transforming into what was undoubtedly a real slug. But ultimately, this merely added to the prestige of victory and made Matt Matros' triumph that much more satisfying.
Having burst onto our scenes in 2004 when he finalled the WPT Championship, Matros has been a prominent figure in poker for the last several years (despite his deceptively youthful looks), yet never quite emulated the live success that he enjoyed amid the poker boom. But today, he finally achieved his goal of joining an elite group of players, and when that final card hit, you could tell how important victory was to him. He was one more heart-tug away from tears. Whatever critics say, bracelets will always be a measure of how successful a player is, and Matros was elated to have gotten off the mark.
Whilst Matros took home the wrist jewelry and the small matter of $189,870, a shout out must also be given to the plucky never-say-die attitude of runner up Ahmad Abghari, as well as third placed Terrence Chan who went one step further to justifying his moniker as 'king of limit'.
Matt Matros raised his button and Ahmad Abghari, now reduced to his lowest point chip-wise since the heads-up match began, reraised out of the big blind. Matros called and they saw a flop.
Abghari bet out, Matros raised. Abghari paused very briefly before calling.
Abghari bet out again and this time didn't hesitate when Matros raised. Abghari called all in, and they were on their backs.
Abghari: a now speculative
Matros: for two pair
The pot was shipped to Matros, and to a round of applause, Abghari became the runner up.
Ahmad Abghari made somewhat of a recovery, but it was short-lived.
First, Abghari's made a straight on a board. Matt Matros just mucked.
Then, after calling a preflop button raise from Matros. Abghari proceeded to check-raise the flop, and then bet out on the turn. Both players checked the river and Abghari turned over to take the pot and put him back up to 900,000 or so.
However, next hand and Abghari raised, then called a reraise from Matros. Several more bets found their way into the pot on the flop (these two are playing at admirably high speed) and Matros bet out on the turn, then called a raise from Abghari. Matros just check-called on the , and soon found out that his was good. Abghari just mucked, and dropped right back down to around 350,000.
Ahmad Abghari raised and Matthew Matros called. Abghari then continuation bet on the flop before conservatively checking back the turn. He then check-raised the river, Matros reluctantly conceding his hand and enabling Abghari to scoop in a small, but crucial pot.
Matthew Matros - 2,275,000
Ahmad Abghari - 450,000
Matthew Matros raised from the button and Ahmad Abghari called in the big blind.
Abghari bet and Matros called.
Again, Abghari bet and, again, Matros called.
Abghari fired out once more, but was unable to shake off his foe, Matros making a good call with which was good enough to pick up the pot.
Matros has been gradually grinding down his foe and now boasts a comfortable 4:1 chip lead lead.
The players appear to have settled into a familiar pattern of one player raising the button, and the other folding before either check-calling the flop, or calling one street and then check-folding the turn. Now and then something fruity happens, but at the moment it's a back and forth battle in which the player in position seems to be winning the majority of pots.
Matt Matros raised from the button and Ahmad Abghari called.
Abghari check-called a bet on the flop before both players checked down the turn and river, at which point Matros revealed for king high and Abghari mucked.
Since then, Matros has been slowly whittling away at Abghari, winning several very small pots in a row, mostly with preflop raises. With the blinds this big, that means that Matros has moved back into the lead, on 1.6 million to Abghari's 1.2 million.
Matt Matros raised his button and Ahmad Abghari called to see a flop. Abghari check-raised, Matros bet and then called.
The turn was the and Abghari bet out this time. Matros raised, Abghari speedily made the call, and they saw another card.
The river was the and Abghari went back to checking. When Matros bet, though, Abghari raised. Matros called, and then promptly mucked when Abghari turned over for a flush.
With that, Abghari snuck back the chip lead on 1,600,000 to Matros' 1,200,000.