Matuson: Good WSOP run, then a ‘unique experience’

Almost everybody has been on the wrong end of unsportsmanlike acts at the poker table, but rarely is it during the World Series of Poker. And even more rarely when it’s for a player’s tournament life.

But that’s the storyline that has overshadowed an otherwise stellar run by Stacy Matuson, of Delray Beach. She eventually finished 169th out of the field of 6,737, earning $42,285.

Matuson said she just kept grinding for more than four days, making solid decisions and not experiencing wild high and lows.

Until she was dealt pocket queens on Day 5. William Kassouf of London, an opponent she had pegged as “obnoxious but entertaining,” called. Matuson raised each street on a rainbow board of 5-3-2-8-10 and Kassouf shoved all-in after the river. By then the ESPN cameras had made their way over and he heckled Matuson with “”You don’t want to be eliminated in front of the whole camera crew, do you? The whole world?” and “you show, I show.”

“I’d never seen anything like it, no,” she said a week later, discussing the events.

He continued after the floor was called, and even as tournament director Jack Effel stepped in. Kassouf was told he’d receive a large penalty if “one more word” came out of his mouth.

So Kassouf then made animated gestures at Matuson, including zipping his lips and motioning for her to fold.

Just as the ruckus was clearing, Matuson, still holding her queens and with about 500,000 in chips, pondered her move.

Then another player at the table called the clock on her, meaning she had two minutes to either call or fold.

She eventually folded face-up and Kassouf showed his bluff. He was assessed a one-round penalty.

“I feel completely disappointed in myself,” she said. “I have no one to blame but myself.”

Matuson runs a dealer school in South Florida and helped train dealers for the WSOP. And that background probably didn’t help, she said, reviewing the day.

“I got so wrapped up in the floor’s decision because that’s my business,” she said., noting that at one point she suggested his hand be killed because of his antics but understood why it wasn’t. She also noted, in retrospect, she and others could have called the floor on Kassouf during earlier hands but didn’t. Now with time to research, turns out Kassouf has a reputation for being chatty, including a time when reports say he put Vanessa Selbst on tilt.

Anyway, Matuson thought it was justice she was dealt A-A the next hand but with only 500,000 or so chips an opponent with K-J made the call after the chips got in the middle and flopped two kings, eliminating Matuson.

Overall, she’s still pleased with her showing.

“The whole tournament I never flopped a set, my aces didn’t hold up but I clawed my way,” she said. “It was still a great, great journey.”