Q&A with poker media man Kevin Mathers

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Kevin Mathers, a.k.a. Kevmath, is a member of the poker media and a poker enthusiast. Mathers built a reputation as one of the go-to guys for poker information on Twitter (@Kevmath). Our own Mike Owens of CheckRaze.com chatted with Kevmath about a plethora of topics.

Where are you from? I was born in Ithaca, N.Y. on Sept. 11, 1970. The family moved to Syracuse, which is where I’ve lived ever since. It’s a nice enough place, but there’s times when you want to get out and see the world, which is something that poker has really done for me the past few months.

Before you found poker what did you want to do with your life? My previous employment was working in call centers, being one of the cube monkeys attempting to assist people with a variety of customer service issues.
I certainly enjoyed my work with TurboTax, helping people resolve various issues with the program and answering questions. Working with AT&T and attempting to sell people cell phones, not so much. That was a soul-sucking job and since I’m not really good at closing the deal, my performance suffered and I was gone in just a few months.

How much poker would you say you play? Before Black Friday, my poker consisted of playing a bunch of small buy-in turbo tournaments online and some $1-$2 no-limit hold’em live. I haven’t played much since Black Friday with so much news out there and not too interested in the hassle of depositing money on smaller sites.
Since all of the online shutdowns, what significant changes have you noticed in the 2+2 community? Besides the increase in traffic from people looking for news, there’s plenty of speculation and rumors running wild on 2+2. The numerous delays by Full Tilt Poker to provide timely information regarding the release of funds to U.S. players has angered the community as a whole.

What’s your opinion of some of the smaller poker sites still available to U.S. players? It’s nice that there are still some options available for players like the Merge Network. I think a lot of players wonder what happens if the DOJ decides to go after these sites, will they be able to get their funds back quickly like with PokerStars? Full Tilt Poker’s problems getting money back to U.S. players should set up warning signals to not put your entire bankroll onto sites for fear of losing your money. If you look at pokerscout.com, the smaller sites have risen since Black Friday; but there are thousands of players who have disappeared from the online poker economy. That’s because their money is tied up, have trouble getting money onto these smaller sites as deposit options aren’t as prevalent with the major sites, and they’re worried about their funds.

Do you have a favorite casino or poker room? My favorite casino is the one closest to me, Turning Stone in Verona, N.Y.

About how many tweets would you say you send out a week? It sort of depends on how busy a news day it is, but I sometimes throw up some personal tweets as well. On a typical day, I’m averaging about 35-40 tweets a day, but expect it to ramp up substantially in the coming weeks during the WSOP.

What does a typical day look like for you? I try to get my day started around 8 a.m., and check my emails and look at my Twitter feed to see if anything interesting has happened overnight. Then it’s taking a look at 2+2 and going through threads, removing inappropriate posts, etc. Then it’s a lot of Internet browsing, writing articles, chatting with people on Twitter. Recently, I’ve tried to get in a walk every day to get myself away from the computer for a while and get some needed exercise. One thing I really wish I could do better is manage my time, when I try to do too many things at once, plenty of things I work on don’t go as well as expected.

If you could snap your fingers and make some changes to the world of poker, what would they be? Legalized and regulated online poker; it’s the one thing that has to happen in the United States to help grow the game and bring back the players who’ve left in the wake of UIGEA and Black Friday. The glory days of the “poker boom” are long gone as games continue to get tougher.