At just 30 years of age, Matt Kirby of Bemidji, Minnesota just might be one of the best American poker pros you’ve never heard of. Unless you follow the Midwestern poker circuits, he’s probably failed to show up on your radar, but Kirby’s prowess on the felt has been proven time and again, trumped by his latest $84,502 victory at the 2014 Fall Poker Classic Main Event at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, MN.
Kirby shredded the opposition throughout the Fall Poker Classic, billed as the “midwest’s premier poker tournament”, from opening day right up until the finish. Kirby whittled his way into three final tables (prior to the Main Event) during the two-week long, 17-event poker tournament series, including an outright win at one. By the time the Main Event got underway on Saturday, he had already earned himself the venerable title of, “King of the Classic”. That label is awarded to the player who achieves the most success throughout the first 16 events of the series. As such, Matt Kirby was awarded with a free ticket into the Main Event.
The young American poker pro’s first cash came during Event #1 of the 2014 Fall Poker Classic. A $340 NL Holdem tournament that attracted 417 entrants, Kirby found little difficulty in routing the field, eventually defeating fellow US poker player Robert O’Gorman in heads-up to earn the 1st place prize of $28,516. One week later, Kirby found himself seated at the final table of Event #9, $550 NL Holdem, where he was eliminated in 6th place before collecting another $5,345. David Abramowicz would go on to win that event ($23,201).
On October 15th, Kirby’s skills on the felt resulted in another final table appearance, this time at Event #13 of the Fall Poker Classic, a $550 6-Max NL Holdem tourney. Once more, Matt Kirby was ousted from the table in 6th position, pocketing $4,540 for his efforts. Another American poker player, Mario Hudson, took the top prize of $20,427 in that event.
Finally, on October 18th, the big day came. Matt joined a field of 363, where everyone (except Kirby, who won his entry) dished up the $1,100 buy-in to participate in the 2014 Canterbury Fall Poker Classic NL Holdem Championship Main Event. It took three days of intense concentration and calculating to get the job done, overcoming the likes of Jon Hanner, Thao Thiem, Tony Hartmann, Andrew Dick and Dan Hendrickson at the final table before facing off with relative newcomer, Chris Pehler.
Although Pehler had only cashed in three major poker events up to that point, harvesting just $1,951 since 2013, he proved a worthy opponent throughout the Fall Poker Classic Main Event. In the end, though, it was the Matt Kirby, indisputable master of the poker tables at Canterbury Park, that claimed all of the chips. Kirby added $84,502 to his extensive winnings for the victory – a grand total of $122,912 pocketed throughout the entire series – bringing his career earnings to $772,749 across 42 cashes dating back to May of 2010.
Matt Kirby’s previous claim to fame was a being a 2x winner of the Mid-States Poker Tour. He took down the MSPT Main Event in Walker, MN in 2012 for $47k, followed by a win at the MSPT Main Event in Onamia, MN for $46,970 later that year. The largest cash for Kirby came in January of 2013 at a WSOP Circuit Main Event at the Choctaw Casino in Durant, Oklahoma, where a 2nd place finish earned him $192,751.