For the rest of the year, Mike "The Mouth" Matusow can pretty much say whatever he wants about his game. Known for his outbursts filled with either half-joking criticism or self-depreciating humor, Matusow can get under the skin of his competition with his words, which can either result in great success or, more ranting and raving. Early Saturday morning in Las Vegas, the only words out of Matusow's mouth were his dedication to earning the victory in the $5,000 seven-card stud high-low split eight-or-better Event 13. Being down in chips early at the final table, Matusow fought back to outlast Matthew Ashton for his fourth WSOP bracelet and $266,503.
"I felt like I was the best player at the table the whole way," said Matusow to the WSOP after his win. " Once I got (into a 4:1 disadvantage) I said, just stick with your game. Be patient. Don't force it. Hopefully the cards would come my way. And, I'm not going to deny it - the deck hit me in the face. I'm speechless. I'm so happy."
The win was Matusow's second time in the money at the 2013 Series. He finished 14th in Event 5 and now has $3.5 million in career WSOP earnings on 38 cashes. Earlier this year, Matusow defeated Phil Hellmuth to win the 2013 National Heads-Up Poker Championship. After a stretch of tough times in 2012, he seems to be back on track once again.
A field of 210 players was reduced to the final eight late on Friday night in Las Vegas. Vladimir Shchemelev and Matusow started the final table with just a few big bets to their name. In 2010, Shchemelev emerged onto the scene with a dominating Series, but made his first final table in two years in this event. His stay at this one would last only four hands, as Mike Leah needed only a pair of sevens to beat the Russian's ace high.
Tony Cousineau sits on top of the unfortunate list of most cashes without a bracelet and hoped change that honor this past weekend. He was on his way as he eliminated Gavin Smith in seventh, but fell to Leah in sixth to add a 55th cash to his WSOP resume. Leah and Ashton chopped the pot to knock out 2012 WSOP main event 23rd-place finisher Yuval Bronshtein in fifth, and Matusow sat back on the short stack, just waiting for an opening.
Baker, making his second final table of the WSOP, couldn't hold on against Leah on seventh street as his two pair was bested by Leah's two pair. Earning $79,078 for the result, Baker now has $1.5 million and two bracelets in his WSOP career.
Three-handed play offered a different dynamic. The high limits created pots that resulted in numerous chip lead changes and Matusow finally was able to capitalize off a couple of big hands against Ashton to get out of the cellar. Leah, who had initially extended his lead to nearly half the chips in play three-handed, fell quick and hard. He lost a couple of big pots to Ashton and was finally eliminated by Matusow who hit runner-runner fours on fifth and sixth to give him trips and enough to top Leah's aces.
Ashton, trying to rebound from a third-place finish in Event 5, held a 3:1 lead to start heads-up play, but Matusow remained determined. The cards hit him at the right time and with a scoop after bets all the way through seventh street, he evened the match. The lead became insurmountable after another big scoop and after another 15 hands, Matusow had a huge grin on his face and a new bracelet on his wrist.
"Well I did it," said Matusow on Twitter. "Bracelet #4 in the books thank you to all my friends family and great fans who supported me. I love u all!"
Ashton, who turned 22 during the final table, has now made three final tables in non-hold 'em events and has $392,831 in WSOP earnings. "Thanks for the support everyone," he said on Twitter following the final table. "I'm getting closer!
Other notable finishers include Eric Rodawig (10th), Brian Hastings (16th), Joe Tehan (17th), Eugene Katchalov (22nd) and 2007 WSOP Player of the Year Tom Schneider (23rd).
Below are the complete results of Event 13 at the 2013 World Series of Poker:
Event 13: $5,000 seven-card stud high-low split eight-or-better
Prize pool: $987,000
Players in the money: 24
1. Mike Matusow ($266,503)
2. Matthew Ashton ($164,700)
3. Mike Leah ($108,412)
4. David Bakes Baker ($79,078)
5. Yuval Bronshtein ($58,835)
6. Tony Cousineau ($44,543)
7. Gavin Smith ($34,268)
8. Vladimir Shchmelev ($26,757)
9. Tuan Vo ($21,190)
10. Eric Rodawig ($21,190)
11. Jose-Luis Velador ($17,025)
12. Richard Chiovari ($17,025)
13. Marco Johnson ($13,877)
14. Ryan Miller ($13,877)
15. Eli Elezra ($11,528)
16. Brian Hastings ($11,528)
17. Joe Tehan ($9,583)
18. Timothy Finne ($9,583)
19. William Thompson ($9,583)
20. Ognjen Sekularac ($9,583)
21. Frank Mariani ($9,583)
22. Eugene Katchalov ($9,583)
23. Tom Schneider ($9,583)
24. Sam Feinberg ($9,583)