My guest on The Mental Game Podcast is perhaps the one person in the world who has spent more time than me talking tilted poker players off a ledge. Matt Savage is without doubt the most accomplished Tournament Director in the industry and his opinion on rulings is second to none. If you follow him on Twitter you’ll know he kindly devotes a great deal of his personal time giving his advice on contentious live poker decisions.
Matt is the tour director for the WPT, the founder of the TDA, tournament director of the Commerce Casino and host of the poker show Inside Poker. His job involves making decisions which affect people’s money and life, which as you can imagine is its own sort of pressure similar to what the players face.
In this podcast we discuss:
- Why he spends so much time answering player questions in his spare time
- The reasons why he is striving to standardize the rules in poker
- How he manages the expectations and emotions of poker players during high stress moments
- Comparisons with his job and the people making ruling decisions in the PGA
- Balancing enforcement of the rules with the spirit of the game
By his own admission he has probably heard more bad beat stories than anyone on earth and in many ways he and I have very similar jobs. We both make it our role to take some of the variance that poker players don’t immediately think of, in his case with rulings in my case with mental game issues.
What really comes across in this interview is how much fairness and professionalism are the cornerstone in Matt’s work and after listening to him speak there is little wonder he is today regarded as the best TD in the business.
In the podcast I referenced video of Dustin Johnson’s penalty during the final round of the US Open in 2016. It was a terrible ruling on a number of levels. Here’s video and if you want a full analysis on why the USGA got it wrong, check out this article.
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