Exclusive interview with the 2018/2019 PP LIVE Dollars Leaderboard winner Marty Mathis

2 years ago ● Becky Levers

We talked to PP LIVE Dollars Leaderboard winner, Marty Mathis, about how he got into poker, why he loves PP LIVE Dollars and how he's chasing down the MILLIONS Loyalty promo for a free MILLIONS UK seat. All this and being the MILLIONS South America Main Event winner in March..... what a phenomenal year it's been for him so far. 
How long have you been playing poker?
I started playing poker as kid with my grandparents. We played home games regularly with relatives and neighbours. This was mostly stud/draw, all limit. But it was a lot of fun. I started playing NLHE when I was 15 with my friends at school and the comic book store I played YuGiOh and Vs. System at every weekend. I could never win though. It wasn't until late 2007 during my first year of college that I was able to finally bet online. One of my friends I played Yugioh with online bought me a program called SNGPT (Sit and Go Power Tools) for my birthday. I have been making my living playing poker ever since. 
How long have you been living in Mexico?
I have been living in Mexico since July 2011. I was among the first Americans to move here and helped lots of people move here to play poker over the years. I love Mexico and plan to build a home here for the future.
What was it that struck you the most about this partypoker LIVE currency?
I think what struck me most was that I had intended to try to play more live poker in the next couple of years. The PP LIVE Dollars aligned well with what I wanted to do, and offered me a lot of future flexibility while giving me something to play online every day.
How did you begin to build your bankroll in PP LIVE Dollars?
I began to build my bankroll last July after the WSOP. It started with a $530 game which overlayed where I won $5,000 PP LIVE Dollars. After I found out about the Leaderboard I started playing games across all of the stakes.
Has fighting for a position in the PP LIVE Dollars Leaderboard been your goal from the very beginning?
After the first 3 days I knew I would like to compete, but never thought I would get the top spot. The top two guys at the time had already won over $150,000 so I didn't think I would be able to catch #1. It wasn't until guy that was in first place took a lot of days off in January that catching him felt realistic. It was early February when I took the #1 spot on the Leaderboard, which I held for the entire time until the end.
Did you use any specific strategy?
I used several different strategies. Of course I have strategy in the way I play. But grinding a year long leaderboard requires a lot of strategy even outside of the decisions you make while playing. I had calculated out how much I had estimated to spend, the remaining buyins, my lead, and played a sensible registration strategy. There was a point in the promotion where my motivations changed a lot, it was just as good for the person in second place to not win money, as it was for me to win money. So I'd say I definitely the way I played against him changed as well as my behaviour in starting games. I did whatever I could to protect my lead as we came down the stretch.
What would you tell those wishing to take their first steps in the world of PPLIVE Dollars?
I would tell them that PP LIVE Dollars is a great way to look into getting into live events at a discount, while sharpening their skills online. You can't go into it without trying to think and study satellites though. The correct way to play satellites is very different than other forms of poker. I think Dara O'Kearney's new book on Super Satellite Strategy is a great introduction for any aspiring players out there. I read it myself with a month left in the leaderboard and wish it had been released 8 months prior to save me a lot of costly mistakes and heartache!
How hard is it to win the $400,000 in PP LIVE Dollars that got you the top spot on the Leaderboard?
To be honest I wouldn't say it was hard. It just took a lot of dedication and sacrifice. It meant playing all the time, even if I didn't feel like it. It meant skipping social engagements, it meant playing $11 hypers on my phone at the bar with friends. I just had to show up, I guess that was the hardest part
Considering your Main Event win at MILLIONS South America and you securing top spot on the PP LIVE Dollars Leaderboard, how much has your life changed in the past few months?
Life hasn't changed much for me. The money is nice, but I've been comfortable for a while already, and I am a firm believer that if you truly love what you do, the money doesn't matter. I've been in poker for a long time and while these are nice achievements/accolades/milestones, the grind doesn't stop. I am hungrier and more driven than ever I guess winning MILLIONS South America helped a lot to turn my investment into PP LIVE Dollars back into liquid cash way faster than I had planned for.
Did you buy-in to MILLIONS South America using PP LIVE Dollars?
Yes. I was actually the first person to pre-register for all of the MILLIONS stops this season with my PPLive Dollars, I am very excited to chase the promotion for the free MILLIONS UK seat. I received a nice $1,000 bonus up front for all of them just for using my Dollars. It has been very easy to use my PP LIVE Dollars for all of the events I've played so far, especially in Rio. I emailed my flight and hotel expenses ahead of time, and I had the cash in my partypoker account on my second day in Brazil.
I just wanted to add....... I want to give a shoutout to partypoker LIVE. They run amazing live events which I have enjoyed going to, and I am looking forward to all of the upcoming stops as well. I've always had a good time, whether I win or lose at every stop. I also want to congratulate all of the other Leaderboard competitors - it was a battle amongst all of the regulars for months. There were so many strong players I had to compete with every day, and I wish them all the best in converting their PP LIVE Dollars into a big score.
Look out for the value added PP LIVE Dollars promotions at each stop of the partypoker LIVE tour.