Under The Gun: Inside the mind of Matt Hunt

Mo Afdhal
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Posted on: January 6, 2024 9:00 am EST

Matt Hunt started playing poker as many of us do: casual games for fun and a little extra living money while completing his studies. Unlike most of us, however, he eventually found that his skills at the table were enough to earn a living as a professional tournament player.

Hunt kept up his studying, only now it was on his poker game. His thoughtful and analytical approach to the game have brought him success as a coach for sites such as SolveForWhy, while 2023 also saw him make deep runs in the $25k PSPC, WSOP events and the WPT World Championship.

What’s one bit of essential prep you do before a big tournament or cash game session?

“I always do a guided mental warmup before playing. For the last couple of years it’s been Jason Su’s ‘Ultimate Warmup’ audio exercise; that one has really helped me stay present and focused.”

What piece of strategy advice did you get when you first started playing that you wish you had ignored?

“I wish I’d been more willing to take shots and trust my skill set.

For a long time I thought I had to be super-conservative and not battle with tough players, but I probably showed them too much respect.”

What’s the dumbest thing you’ve seen or done at the poker table?

“That’s a tough one. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything really crazy, but I’ve certainly seen players torch massive amounts of tournament EV for no reason a bunch of times.

Maybe the dumbest was an online tournament where a player was sitting out for the final two tables but ended up getting fifth because so many people punted before they blinded out.”

Poker player Matt Hunt wears mirrored glasses and a hoodie at the poker table

What’s your most memorable hand?

“I’ve lost heads-up for a bracelet twice [in 2018 and 2021], so there’s at least two lost hands which are burned into my memory! Hopefully they don’t stay that way for too long.”

What’s your single best piece of advice for poker players?

“Understand that poker isn’t supposed to feel comfortable, and most of your ability to win in the long term will depend on your willingness to put yourself in uncomfortable situations and trust yourself to perform.”

If you owned a poker room, who’s the first player you’d want to sign as an ambassador and why?

“Ideally, you’d want someone who brings new attention to poker.

Probably the best plausible option would be MrBeast, or to be more ambitious, someone like Logan Paul, who seems to be a marketing machine these days.”

Images courtesy of the WPT