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Poker pro Matt Affleck shows staying power at WSOP

Updated June 8, 2017 - 7:32 pm

The two spectators craned their necks to see the final table of the World Series of Poker’s “Colossus” tournament when one noticed the player in Seat 9 wearing a Seattle Seahawks jersey.

“Good to see Affleck back,” he said to his friend.

Only thing is, Matt Affleck never went away.

Seven years after his crushing exit from the Main Event, Affleck remains a sympathetic figure to many poker fans.

But the affable 29-year-old poker pro has proven he wasn’t a one-hit wonder with a string of WSOP final tables, including this week’s “Colossus” No-limit Hold ’em event.

Affleck is slated to play in this weekend’s $1,500 buy-in “Millionaire Maker” No-limit Hold ’em tournament at the Rio Convention Center that features a $1 million first prize.

“Winning a tournament would be great. Winning a bracelet would be great,” Affleck said. “But my goal for this summer is not to win a bracelet. It’s to make money, and make decisions that make me money.”

Affleck grew up in Mill Creek, Washington, and the University of Washington graduate is easily identified at the poker table in his Seattle-area sports gear.

Affleck’s first big poker score came online in April 2009 when he chopped a PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker event for $470,500, and he finished 81st in the WSOP Main Event that summer.

The following year, Affleck almost made the Main Event “November Nine” final table until an infamous hand with eventual champion Jonathan Duhamel.

Affleck had his pocket aces cracked when Duhamel made a straight on the final card, sending a dejected Affleck out in 15th place.

Along with his success in the Main Event, Affleck has a history of deep runs in large-field, No-limit Hold ’em tournaments at the WSOP.

He was 10th in last year’s “Millionaire Maker” tournament that had 6,927 entrants and ended up eighth in the “Colossus” event (18,054 entries) that concluded Wednesday.

Affleck, who also finished third in a $1,500 buy-in No-limit Hold ’em event in 2016, has more than $1 million in career WSOP earnings despite never winning a bracelet.

“A lot of it’s just mindset,” Affleck said. “It’s no different than playing any other tournament. It’s kind of learning to bob-and-weave your way through the field, risk management. I’ve done really well, and it’s a lot of variance.”

Affleck, who relocated to Las Vegas from New Jersey in recent weeks, hopes his latest WSOP final table appearance bodes well for the rest of the summer. He expects to play approximately 20 more tournaments in the next six weeks.

“I’m just focusing on one hand at a time and one decision at a time,” Affleck said. “There’s only so many things I can control. If I’m happy with what I can control, everything else will take care of itself.”

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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