Mike Matusow Claims Black Friday Cost Him $186 Million

The fallout from Black Friday cost Mike Matusow $186 million

Online poker’s Black Friday occurred 10-years ago today, on April 15, 2011. It changed the industry’s landscape forever. Black Friday had a significant effect on Mike Matusow, who claims he is $186 million out of pocket.

April 15, 2011, otherwise known as Black Friday, is the day PokerStars and Full Tilt stopped offering their services to American customers. Both companies allowed U.S. citizens to use their sites for five years after the signing of the UIGEA into law.

The U.S. Department of Justice seized the .com domains of PokerStars and Full Tilt, replacing them with a take down notice. The DOJ allowed both companies to use their domains again once they pledged to stop servicing the USA.

Online poker changed overnight. Billions of dollars were wiped off the value of publicly traded gambling companies. PokerStars survived, but it was the final nail in Full Tilt’s coffin. The site eventually went bust, leaving thousands of players’ account balances in limbo until PokerStars came to the rescue 14-months later and bailed out Full Tilt.

Matusow was one of many Full Tilt sponsored pros. “The Mouth” appeared on a recent edition of The Orbit podcast, where he made some major revelations.

“The biggest mistake I ever made was not going with PokerStars. Howard, Erik, and John took tremendous advantage of me. I trusted them, and I believed what they had to say and that they had my best interests. As it turns out, they really didn’t.”

The Howard, Erik, and John Matusow referred to are, of course, Howard Lederer, Erik Seidel, and John Juanda. All three men were heavily involved in the creation of Full Tilt.

Bounced Checks After Black Friday

Matusow vividly remembers Black Friday because he was due to fly to London to film some Late Night Poker episodes. Production of the poker show shut down the following day.

“I asked why and they told me the check bounced. A $1.1 million check from a company that rakes $2.5 million every day.”

The four-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner revealed he had a $400,000 bankroll tied up at Full Tilt. The site going under meant Matusow no longer received a sizeable salary for representing Full Tilt. He became penniless overnight, but the experience changed him for the better.

“Now I have respect for money. $1,000 used to be like $1 to me, but now I wonder how I was ever like that. I wonder how I could live like that. $1,000 feels like a lot to me now, and that’s made me a better person.”

$186 Million Worth of Bitcoin at Today’s Prices

$1,000 would still be like $1 to Matusow had he kept hold of his bitcoin. He received $10,000 worth of bitcoin at $27 per coin in 2012. Matusow was considering becoming involved in a bitcoin poker site called Get Lucky Poker. The poker community had already turned on Matusow and the other Full Tilt pros for being part of a perceived Ponzi scheme. Matusow opted not to get involved in Get Lucky Poker, and sold his bitcoins.

“That $10,000 in bitcoin would be worth $186 million today. Who knows what I would do if I were to have had $100 million. Maybe I’d have gone back to doing drugs. I might have ended up dead.”

We will never know what could have been because Black Friday indirectly lost Matusow a $186 million fortune.

What Next For Matusow

Matusow has endured a torrid time over the past few years due to suffering from ill-health. He appears to be over the worst of it now; he needed a motorized scooter to get around the WSOP a few years back.

His best poker days may be behind Matusow, especially compared to today’s top players, but Matusow is entertaining. Poker needs characters like Matusow. Here is hoping he gets back to winning ways soon.

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.


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