BetMGM Poker recently kicked off the March Poker Mania series for online poker players in Pennsylvania. Adding to the excitement, the Keystone State’s own Matt Berkey, a self-proclaimed “Yinzer,” will be hosting part of the series at his Solve For Why YouTube channel.
The $397,000 guaranteed series began on March 20 at BetMGM Poker PA but plenty of action remains. Berkey will live stream his own action along with some other fun entertainment beginning March 24.
In addition to streaming tournaments like the $535 Main Event and the $1,060 Heads-Up events, Berkey will also:
- Live stream cash games
- Do online poker giveaways for the audience
- Handicap some college basketball
Interview with Pittsburgh’s Matt Berkey, poker pro and content creator
Recently PlayPennsylvania.com was able to catch up with Berkey. We discussed his poker beginning and his plans for the future.
Berkey calls Leechburg, PA his home and first found the love for the game in between games on the diamond.
I started playing poker on baseball trips in college. From there I found local games as well as traveled to local card rooms in Salamanca, New York and Niagara Falls, Berkey explained. Having had early success both online and live my first two years, I decided to stick with it after graduation in ’05.
He attributes a lot of his success and ability to grind the game to his upbringing in Pennsylvania.
Growing up in a steel mill town of 2000 people definitely instills a blue collar mindset and work ethic that I think has helped me throughout my career.
Berkey has come a far way from those college baseball trips. He has gone on to win over $4.3 million in tracked live poker tournaments and is currently ranked seventh in the all time biggest winners for the state of Pennsylvania according to the Hendon Mob.
Berkey credits a few key moments that helped propel his game and his bankroll. That includes back in 2013 when he scored over $450,000 in less than 30 days.
In the 2013 WSOP, I made three final tables. Tournaments aren’t really where I focus many of my hours so the scores I’ve had along the way just feel like a bonus.
Other notable cashes in his poker journey include crushing some high roller events:
- 2016 Super High Roller – 5th, $1.1 million
- 2017 SHRPO Championship – 3rd, $341,618
- 2015 Aria High Roller – 1st, $315,180
- 2017 WSOP Little One for One Drop – 3rd, $240,588
Online Pandemic Rush
He considers himself more of a live player, but during the pandemic Berkey had to jump into the online realm.
The pandemic forced me back online where I hadn’t really played since Black Friday. The good news is that was true of most Americans and there was a massive short-term boom.
I was able to play a lot of high stakes poker online, which generally doesn’t exist, and do exceptionally well. It feels bad to say, but in a lot of ways the pandemic forced me to adapt and succeed in ways I otherwise wouldn’t have.
Solve for Why
Berkey takes the game very seriously and puts a lot of work into a training site he founded called Solve For Why.
Solve for Why was born out of what I felt was a hole in the training industry. Back in 2016, and even still today, very little of the material out there focused on live games. I felt we had a unique product that could scale in that realm.
Berkey focuses on the up-and-coming players and has built one of the top notch training sites in the industry today. He still makes time to sharpen his game as well.
The majority of my study now is split between creating content that I think will best serve the average mid-stake live player, and studying deep stack live cash play. Two very different, but similar worlds. Generally, I start with very broad theoretical concepts and test them through solver study, hand reviews and database analysis.
Besides building one the best platforms out there, he also grinds at some of the highest stakes in the cash game world.
Once you start playing a certain stake level, volume just isn’t really something within your control any longer. The player pool for $50/$100 and up is quite small, so it’s my job to be ready at a moment’s notice to play in games when they arise.
Last year, I put in about 600 hours at high stakes. I anticipate this year will be similar.
Tips for aspiring poker players
Matt Berkey may have come from a small town, but he has learned a lot about breaking out of his comfort zone. His advice to up-and-coming grinders:
Don’t be afraid to take risks. The only way to find success is to be uncomfortable with just getting by.
Players can take some small risks this month and catch up with Berkey as he hosts the online MGM poker series.
Remaining BetMGM PA March Poker Mania schedule
|Wednesday March 23||7 p.m.||Event 9: Phase 1 to Phase 2 Main Event||$55|
|Wednesday, March. 23||8 p.m.||Event 10: NLH Eight-Max||$320|
|Thursday, March 24||7 p.m.||Event 11: Phase 1 to Phase 2 Main Event||$55|
|Thursday, March 24||8 p.m.||Event 12: NLH PKO Six-Max||$320|
|Friday, March 25||7 p.m.||Event 13: Phase 1 to Phase 2 Main Event||$55|
|Friday, March 25||8 p.m.||Event 14: PLO Six-Max||$215|
|Saturday March 26||6 p.m.||Event 15: Heads-UP Bracket 32 Max entries||$1,060|
|Saturday March 26||7 p.m.||Event 16: Phase 1 to Phase 2 Main Event||$55|
|Sunday March 27||5 p.m.||Event 17: NLH Main Event Eight-Max||$1,060|
|Sunday March 27||6 p.m.||Event 18: Phase 2 Main Event||$535|
|Sunday March 27||7 p.m.||Event 19: MLH Turbo Second Chance||$215|
Lead image via Solve for Why YouTube channel.