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Matthew Marafioti

Before we had the Moneymaker Boom the poker world was littered with characters. We had cowboys, drug addicts, professors, carrot-slicing card throwers, clowns, temptresses, nice guys and some downright nasty guys.

Strange then that a middle-aged accountant should be responsible for the online poker revolution. Responsible for the George A. Romero style changes he introduced to the poker world. For zombies read online poker players. They spread like a virus throughout the poker world. Suddenly, the zombies with their hoodies and iPods made it increasingly difficult for the characters to survive. They were banished to whatever rat holes they first climbed out of.

Zombie Killer

Thank goodness then for 24-year old, Matthew ‘ADZ124’ Marafioti. Marafioti is a zombie killer. The man who bought a $2 million house, with poker winnings, when he was just 21-years of age is running around the poker world lopping the heads of the zombies. Paving the way for the characters to return to the game.

Armed with a razor sharp wit that matches his poker talent, and an ability to get under the skin of almost anyone that dares step into his path; Marafioti – the man seemingly always steeped in controversy – is a man poker needs right now. Does he go over the edge? Is he sometimes downright rude and obnoxious to those who dare get into his face? Hell yeah…but from the outside in, it’s funny as hell and adds main stream interest to the game we all love.

Catching Up and Catching Cards

So what has the man known as Adzizzy been up to this week?

“These days I play predominantly live. Since Black Friday I have become so much more profitable that it makes sense for me to play more live poker. I am sure that a lot of people will disagree with me, but I have become one of the world’s top live tournament players in the past few years. I have earned over $2 million and I hardly ever play. In fact, when I do play it seems like I am always making final tables. In the past four years I have had consecutive six-figure cashes at the World Series of Poker (WSOP). That shows a great level of consistency, something that I believe will continue in the coming years.”

Marafioti has the face of a choirboy and a mouth like the devil. Cross him, or get into his face, and he will tear you a new one. ADZ has no filter. What he thinks just comes out, and it is one of the reasons he makes such a great live player.

“I played one tournament this week. It was the World Poker Tour (WPT) Legends of Poker event at the Bike. I made it through to Day 2 and lost with ace-king of hearts versus aces. That was frustrating, but I then went from busting that event to playing in a cash game where I was stuck $50,000 and ended up winning $93,000.”

So what types of games does Marafioti play?

“This week I have played primarily in a private cash game in Beverly Hills. It’s a mix of some good professional players and some amateur businessmen. We have been playing $25/50 Pot Limit Omaha (PLO) and I have been crushing the game. I have played in the game five times this week and I am up around $150,000 playing in a game that is not even my best.”

How many hours per week has Marafioti played in order to win $150,000?

The game will start at 14:00 and we are usually done by 01:00. I like to get to bed by 03:00-04:00, and I usually do unless I am partying hard.

So no online poker this week then?

“I haven’t played online poker since May. When I was younger I breathed online poker, but these days I much prefer to play live. When I first started out I would sleep till 18:00, play till 06.00 in the morning, and rinse and repeat. I loved the game back then. There were great games running on both Stars and Full Tilt. So many games, 25/50, 50/100 and 100/200.

These days the games aren’t that good. I feel like everyone is on Skype colluding against you. They also have this software that tracks almost everything you do. These are unfair advantages. Since 2008/09 I would say I have only made $800,000-$900,000 playing online cash games on Stars, and for me that is nothing. I don’t put the volume in anymore and people have also caught up with the way that I play.

When I play live there is no Skype, no PokerTracker or Hold’em Manager. Nobody can collude against me. The online game taught me the fundamentals and I will always love it, but it’s live for me these days, no question about it.”

Lee Davy is a writer from Ogmore Vale in South Wales. You can follow his views and opinions through his blog at or on Twitter @Chingster23

Stay tuned for part 2 of the ADZ files!


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