Troubled poker pro Matt Marafioti commits suicide at 33

Haley Hintze
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Posted on: August 17, 2021 12:56 am EDT

Famed online and live poker player Matt “ADZ124” Marafioti has been confirmed by New Jersey authorities as the man who fatally plunged from the 28th floor of a high-rise apartment tower near Fort Lee, New Jersey, on Friday. Marafioti, who battled mental-health issues for much of the past decade, was described as “distraught” in local reports about the incident. The Canadian-born Marafioti was 33.

Marafioti was one of online poker’s brightest stars in the late ’00s and early ’10s before his inside struggle took its toll. Playing as “ADZ124” on Full Tilt and PokerStars, among other sites, Marafioti dominated high-stakes cash games and logged numerous impressive results in online and live tourneys as well.

Marafioti is generally believed to have won several million dollars online during the height of his career. When he added live-event play to his repertoire he was just as successful. Marafioti won at least $2.8 million in live tourneys, headlined by his win in one of his first major events at New York’s Turning Stone casino, in 2007. Marafioti’s biggest live cash, $381,507, came in a runner-up finish in the 2010 WSOP $10,000 Pot Limit Hold’em Championship.

Troubled personal and social life

Despite his poker success, the brash Marafioti encountered troubles elsewhere in his life. He was always controversial, such as in 2012, following his very public breakup with fellow pro Lauren Kling. Both sides took to Twitter and other platforms in a legendary online spat that left no one involved in a good light.

For Marafioti, though, the incident prefaced his coming personal struggles. By 2016, he was posting how certain groups and agents were “out to get (him).” His alleged pursuers included the Mafia and the Illminati. That same year, he disappeared completely for 45 days, even making an official missing-persons list. Marafioti reemerged into public view, however, and resumed his poker career, both live and online.

Custody battle may have trigged episode

Marafioti’s recent battle for partial custody over his young son likely factored into Friday’s tragedy. He traveled to a friend’s 28th-floor apartment to retrieve personal items, and an Instagram post he made just before jumping from the window revealed his state of mind. “If I leave this apartment they are going to make me go missing,” he posted. “If I stay they are going to say I’m crazy and won’t leave.”

Instead, he chose to jump from the apartment’s high-rise window, landing near a pool outside the apartment tower. Medics responding to the scene confirmed the jumper’s death. An online thread at the PokerFraudAlert forums offered anecdotal evidence that the jumper was “ADZ,” as his friends called him. However, Marafioti’s identity as the jumper wasn’t confirmed until Monday.

Numerous pros expressed their grief and disbelief online as news of Marafioti’s suicide began to spread. Ryan Fee’s post on hearing the news was one of several such messages:

Featured image source: Instagram/adzizzard