Mike Matusow

Allyn Shulman Refutes Mike Matusow’s WSOP Penalty Story

Last week I was sitting around thinking that the 2014 World Series of Poker had been going well, but things were quiet, too quiet (disclaimer: I wasn’t really sitting around thinking that, but it’s an intro). Thank goodness for Mike “The Mouth” Matusow. It had been a while since we had a good outburst from him and boy, did we get it. One of the more interesting things about it, though, was that for once, just about everybody in poker was on his side. They might have rolled their eyes a bit, but they were on his side.

You have probably heard about it by now, but to quickly review, Matusow was amongst the final 24 players in the $2,500 Omaha/Seven-Card Stud High-Low Event when he won a big pot, giving himself a good shot at the final table. As was reported, he celebrated furiously, as he is wont to do, marching around and yelling that he deserved it and the like. Reports then were that WSOP floorman Dave Lamb came over an assessed him a one-round penalty for excessive celebration. This did not sit well with Matusow, no way, no how, and upon his return he had a classic Matusow meltdown and was bounced from the tournament within an hour.

Matusow then took to Twitter, bemoaning the ruling. In a series of posts, he said (some of it cleaned up for readability):

Making no excuses on getting knocked out of o8 stud 8 tonight but after floor man David lamb gave me a one round penalty for celebrating. I tried to comprise myself and me being so emotional of a person I was not able to and I imploded.Tthis was worst ruling in poker history. When you fight for 24 hours of poker play on a nub and win a 200K pot and scream… and am forced to miss a round, this is unjust. Something really needs to be done by disgusting floor decisions that can change the outcome of someone playing for $250K. Again, no excuses, I played poorly after this unjust ruling, but as can emotional person I am, it just wasn’t right. GL to everyone left in the tournament, if [it was] Hellmuth or Negreanu or Ivey, there’s no way they make this disgusting ruling.

Other professional players, including Negreanu and Hellmuth, came to his defense. Negreanu wrote on CardPlayer.com, “For the sake of argument, let’s just say that Mike was guilty of excessive celebration according to the TDA rules. How in the world can you justify such a harsh penalty without issuing a simple warning prior to that decision? A simple, ‘Hey Mike, you have been warned. If you do that again you will get a one round penalty for excessive celebration.’”

On Monday, though, Allyn Shulman told a very different story on CardPlayer.com, becoming the lone voice to take the anti-Matusow stance in this sideshow. She described the initial situation:

When the $2500 OE tournament got down to 24 people, there was a redraw. I was moved to a table with Mike Matusow. From the moment we were seated, the players were subject to Mike’s constant stream of profanities. Whatever subject he was discussing included expletives such as Mike saying he had the worst F***ING* luck or some other F***ER did this or some ASSHOLE did this F***ING BULLSHIT. It was as if the table was his personal stage. His loud, fast-talking, ill-mannered, vulgar barrage was almost frantic like someone who had WAY too much coffee.

After about ten minutes of this, Shulman said, she began to scan the room for a floor manager, but was unable to flag one down. She didn’t want Matusow to be penalized, just warned.

Allyn Shulman (C) WSOP

Allyn Shulman

Then Matusow won the significant hand and engaged in more theatrics, dropping f-bombs left and right, pounding on the table, etc. You know the drill.

2005 called, they want their ESPN storyline back.

Shulman said at that point, “a number of players” called the floorman, sick of Matusow’s behavior. Dave Lamb arrived at the table and asked what happened, prompting Matusow, Shulman alleges, to confront him, getting up in his face. What led to the penalty, according to Shulman:

Dave calmly, quietly but firmly asked Mike a number of times to step away from the table. Not only did Mike refuse to move from the table, he was up in Dave’s face yelling and cursing with his normal diatribe of vulgarities bellowing something like you can’t F***ING give me a BULLSHIT F***ING penalty; that would be the worst F***ING ruling in the history of poker. (with emphasis on the word F***ING.) It was only at that point that Dave Lamb quietly said NOW I am giving you a one round penalty.

In the article, Shulman goes on to quote the tournament rulebook, which states that players who use foul language or speak abusively to others will be penalized. Matusow also only missed six hands, Shulman said, rather than the eight that he should have. Plus, while he was supposed to be serving his penalty, he still continued to hover around the table, swearing and complaining.

Shulman did add that she is friends with Matusow and wishes him nothing but the best, but that he was in the wrong the other day.


Following Shulman’s article, Mike Matusow vehemently denied her version of events, tweeting, “The ‘claims’ by AJS are completely false, inaccurate & unsubstantiated…it’s just a desperate attempt at trying to cover the truth!”

He added, “There were approximately 20 other players who were there and already confirmed what really happened! #subpoena”

It does seem odd that so many fellow players would have come to his defense after the incident if he was clearly at fault, but I was not there, so I do not know for sure who personally saw and heard everything and who was just going off what they were told. It looks like this whole saga may just end up being a literal “he said, she said.”

In the end, it’s not really that big of a deal. Entertaining, to be sure, but important in the grand history of the World Series of Poker? Not particularly.


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