The saga of Matt “High Five” Kelly


My favorite story of the 2007 World Series of Poker occurred during the $3000 Limit Hold’em event. It is what I call the saga of Matt “High Five” Kelly and of course it has to start with Phil “The Poker Brat” Hellmuth.

Our ability to do hand updates was limited by Poker News’ paid for monopoly on such info, so my friend Anthony and I just looked around for fun stories and blow ups, and when all else failed hung out near Mike Matusow or Hellmuth, who were never boring.

We also kept our eye on the Poker News feed when we saw this

Hellmuth’s Aces Cracked, Mega-Tilt Ensues

Phil Hellmuth and Linda Ryke-Drucker capped the action pre-flop. The flop was Qs 8c 4d and they capped it again. The turn was the 10d. Drucker bet and Hellmuth called. The river was the 3c. Drucker checked and Hellmuth checked behind. Drucker showed Qc Qd for top set and Hellmuth slammed his Ah Ad on the table.

Immediately after the hand “Crazy Mike” Thorpe ran over to the table and asked “Hey, are you Phil Hellmuth? Can I shake your hand?” Fuming, Hellmuth called for the floor.

“I lose a huge pot and I have to deal with this guy coming over?” Hellmuth roared. Thorpe was escorted back to his table and reprimanded while Hellmuth was left to steam.

This just sounded too insane. Someone runs up and bothers Hellmuth right after he has his aces cracked? I ran to check it out.

I talked to Thorpe and he’s this bratty internet kid talking all kinds of shit, but he claims that he had no idea about the hand Hellmuth had just lost and was completely innocent, just a fan looking to say hello.

Well, I believed this about as much as I believed that I had a chance with all the hot women poker players I tried talking to at the Series.

During this melee I met this nice talkative guy named Matt Kelly, who seemed to be your average bald New York talkative Jewish guy, but really nice. We chatted for a while and I told him that I was going to be rooting for him.

Eventually, they are down to like 30 players and it’s looking grim for Matt. He’s down to about $10,000 in chips and the blinds are around half that. He calls pre-flop against Greg “Full Blown Tilt” Mueller and it’s pretty apparent that they will be all in post flop and that this could be Matt’s last hand.

I tell Kelly not to give up hope that I’m on his side, which never worked for me with my own money. After Phil Laak busted out of the HORSE event, I told him that I had been rooting for him too. Laak said tearfully, “I was rooting for me too.”

Meanwhile, Mueller has just a mountain of chips probably over $200,000 and he’s near the chip lead.

The flop was Kh Qd 9s . Kelly checked, Mueller bet, and Kelly called all in. Mueller showed Ah Kd. Matt had Qc Js.

Matt was in huge trouble. Mueller was a 67% favorite. I look at Kelly and hopefully he starts rooting for a ten to come to make a straight and amazingly on the turn it comes and on the river he avoids the jack that would have given Mueller a better one.

Kelly, ecstatic, looks at Mueller and lets out a whoop of joy and throws his hand up for a high five!

Mueller, completely disgusted, looks at Kelly as if he were insane and with the utmost level of condescension says, “Look dude, I know you’re excited, but I’m not high fiving you. I just lost the pot. That exhilaration you feel is only matched by my depression over you sucking out on me!” Kelly, innocently, actually looks at Mueller like a sad teddy bear. “C’mon dude, look at all those chips you have. This pot was nothing. C’mon high five.”

Mueller looked at Kelly as if he was insane as I sat back and laughed.

Here’s the kicker though. Kelly goes on to outlast Mueller, in fact he finished in 5th place and wins over $46,000! High five karma if you ask me.

Here’s the best part. Kelley lobbed me a hundred after he busted out for my support and unfortunately at that point I needed it.

Well, done Mr. Kelly

1. Alexander Borteh, $225,483

2. Brandon Wong, $135,615

3. Shawn Keller, $92,316

4. David Pham, $62,906

5. Matthew Kelly, $46,567

6. Vivek Rajkumar, $36,763

7. Mike Byrne, $27,777

8. Marco Johnson, $20,424

9. Petri Pollanen, $14,705

10. Jonathan Tamayo, $10,212

11. Chad Brown, $10,212

12. Guy Kenworthy, $10,212

13. Gary Leibovitz, $9,395

14. Max Pescatori, $9,395

15. Joanne Liu, $9,395

16. Serena Liu, $8,578

17. Clifford Spiro, $8,578

18. Jeff Siegal, $8,578

19. Dean Tran, $7,761

20. Greg Mueller, $7,761

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