For the last decade and then some, Matt Stout spent most of his time playing poker tournaments. The poker pro based in Las Vegas was one of the original crushers online in the early and mid 2000’s before transitioning to live tournaments after Black Friday.
In the coming months, his life is going to change drastically. His girlfriend is roughly eight months pregnant with their first child. In anticipation of fatherhood, he’s begun to cut back on tournaments while focusing on pot-limit Omaha cash games in Las Vegas and working on his Charity Series of Poker.
In the early hours of Monday morning, he got to make one last trip to the winner’s circle before his name officially becomes ‘Dad.’ He defeated 687 entries and Team Run It Up Ambassador Kevin Martin heads-up to win the Run It Up Reno VII $600 no-limit hold’em main event. The victory was good for his first piece of RIU gold and $70,000.
“I feel great right now,” said Stout. “It’s a lot of hard work and a lot of heartache in tournament and once a year or every two years you get to feel like a genius again.”
The genius feeling may only come once a year in poker, but with the effort he’s put into the Charity Series of Poker, and his general move away from being a traveling tournament pro, he will likely be able to have that feeling more often in his new endeavors.
“I’ve been moving in this direction for a while now,” said Stout. “I’ve been in Vegas working on Charity Series of Poker stuff more. I’m expanding that a lot. We are working with the Vegas Golden Knights and St. Jude now. And we have a lot of events going on and a lot to focus on in Vegas. I split my time kind of in Vegas between PLO cash and working on my charity. Other than that, I’m just kind of squeezing in a tournament here or there.”
It was Stout’s girlfriend, Brittney Barnes, who was the driving force for them to make the trip from Las Vegas to Reno. Her boyfriend may be looking to cut back on the tournaments in anticipation of the baby arriving, but she wanted to fit this one in before she became a mother.
“She actually wanted to come up here even though she’s eight months pregnant because she’s always wanted to play Run It Up,” said Stout. “I wanted to at least appease her and fire one before the baby comes and it’s a little tougher to travel, but it worked out just fine.”
Barnes came into Day 2 with more chips than her boyfriend and ended up finishing in 87th place for $1,020.
The heads-up battle that Stout endured and won pitted the old school internet grinder against the new school internet streamer. Stout built his career by playing massive volume on all of the major sites in the early and mid-2000’s, but Twitch wasn’t around back in his day. He never streamed anything.
It’s different for Martin, a member of Team RIU. Martin streams most of his sessions on Twitch and has built a name for himself as both a talented poker player and an entertaining streamer.
Despite the difference in background, there was nothing but respect for Martin’s game from the champion.
“If I were to rank all the players and who I wanted to play heads-up in this tournament with, he would definitely come up at the bottom of the list,” said Stout. “He played great the whole tournament. He had position on me a lot. He used it well. He had a huge stack and put me in a lot of bad ICM spots.”
Deb Swift, who has been at every RIU Reno in the series’ history, also was at this final table, and finished seventh for $8,170. The 687-entry field paid the top 112 entries.
Final Table Results:
1st: Matt Stout – $70,000
2nd: Kevin Martin – $48,210 + seat into Platinum Pass freeroll (RIU gear last longer winner)
3rd: Sok Chean – $33,330
4th: Anthony Yeh – $23,150
5th: Kyle Besaw – $16,190
6th: Ilana Creed – $11,420
7th: Deb Swift – $8,170
8th: Dan Chevrie – $5,945