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The poker oracle, the font of all poker knowledge, the WSOP Media Czar…Kevin Mathers has been called a lot of things. To people in poker, he is simply “Kevmath,” a portmanteau which simultaneously conveys how he is both a celebrity and your friend.
For over a decade, the @Kevmath Twitter feed was the go-to place for poker information, as it appeared that Mathers neither slept nor ever tired of helping others, no matter how inane the question.
Earlier this week, if it was possible, Mathers took his dedication to the poker community up a notch, as he made a big announcement on Twitter:
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A man of many roles
Over his time in poker, Mathers’ roles have been numerous. He was a 2+2 Forum moderator. He was the Manager of Poker information for Bluff. He was the Pocket Fives community manager. He has written for the Pokerati blog. He wrote online tournament recaps for the PokerStars blog. He was the “shadow editor” for PokerNews.
the beauty of Mathers’ output is how everyone can hang their hat on it
In all of these roles, one rare quality shone through. Mathers is a facts man. With the instincts of a data journalist, he has never offered flowery prose or opinions. A poker encyclopedia in human form, the beauty of Mathers’ output is how everyone can hang their hat on it.
A newsletter will therefore drag Mathers out of his comfort zone as it will require him to opine. Is the poker world ready for Kevmath’s hot takes? The simple answer is yes, because even though his views may occasionally surprise, he will always be a straight-shooter, basing his views on the facts.
On a recent episode of Unibet Poker’s talking head three-hander “The Lock-In,” Mathers flexed those muscles, proving that he is more than capable of weighing in with strong opinions on the industry.
In one segment of the show, Mathers talks about the very small possibility that the ever-changing COVID-19 situation could mean that the WSOP will be scrapped this year. There is a non-zero chance that the WSOP would have been happy to hear him say “there is a non-zero chance of cancellation” but such is the measure of a man who refuses to enter the spin zone.
Outside his comfort zone
In 2016, Mathers won the jury prize at the GPI American Poker Awards, a recognition of his enormous contribution, but it is easy to neglect people who give of themselves so much. In an exclusive interview with Mathers, we asked him if there have ever been times when he felt unappreciated. “Likely,” he answered, “but there are more moments when I’ve felt overappreciated. I’m nowhere close to being a great writer or a great live reporter. Long ago, I realized there are certain things that I do well and have continued doing those things in my poker media career.”
The humble Mathers expressed curiosity but also some reticence about The Kevmath Report.
“I figured it would be interesting to try something outside of my comfort zone and see how it goes,” he said. “The numbers so far are well beyond what I expected after the first issue.”
When he made the original announcement, Mathers had a goal in mind:
Unsurprisingly to others, even if it is to himself, Mathers has already blown past his target. Modesty is a trait that comes naturally to him, but it also illustrates how when you are held in such high esteem by a community, the act of tackling a new project comes with added pressure.
“Can I maintain these numbers in the next few weeks, especially when in Vegas for the WSOP? I’ll have my fingers crossed for sure,” Mathers said.
Inaugural issue is out now
Issue #1 of The Kevmath Report dropped on Tuesday and it did not disappoint, a well written digest of the week’s big stories replete with a preview of upcoming events.
Mathers told us that the jobs that he has enjoyed the most were in customer service: “While I appreciate the times I’m actually playing poker, what gives me satisfaction in helping others gain knowledge that will help them enjoy poker more.”
The Kevmath Report is the latest example of Mathers expressing that raison d’etre and with it, he has created something for poker fan and industry wonk alike. Unsurprisingly, the positive testimonials have already begun to flood in.
Over the entrance to the temple of the Oracle at Delphi was a famous maxim: “Know Thyself.” In 1750, Benjamin Franklin, in his Poor Richard’s Almanack acknowledges the great difficulty of knowing one’s self, saying: “There are three things extremely hard; Steel, a Diamond, and to know one’s self.”
I would contend there is a fourth and it is to be universally popular and respected in the poker world. Mathers somehow manages it, though.