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6 Things About Tournament Director Matt Savage You May Not Know

Matt Savage is a world famous poker tournament director for the USA. He has officiated for the World Series of Poker (between 2002 and 2004), along with a number of other high-profile televised gambling events. In 2001, he founded the Tournament Directors Association alongside co-founders Linda Johnson, Jan Fisher, and David Lamb. The Tournament Directors Association has helped to standard the rules for poker tournaments around the globe. In 2003, he was inducted into the Poker Room Manager’s Hall of Fame. Here are 6 things you may not know about Matt Savage.

1. Matt plays poker.

While Matt is best known as a tournament director, and has made most of his money that way, he is a player himself; his largest cash-in was in 2009 at the 40th World Series of Poker, where he walked away with $32,396 and came in 5th place. Most of his other winnings have been fairly modest, but he does have experience at the tables. His favorite formats are mixed games like O/8, Stud 8, and HORSE.

2. Matt loves interacting online with players and fans.

On his Twitter account, Matt regularly answers questions from followers concerning rulings in events—including those he has not officiated over. While these questions sometimes make him uncomfortable (for example, in situations where his comments might change rulings), he has stated that he loves answering questions and providing a resource for the poker community.

3. Matt is trying to expand WPT tour events.

Matt has stated on more than one occasion in answer to fan questions that he is hopeful about expanding WPT tour events to underserved locations, including the Midwest in North America and also South America. He regularly encourages players and fans to try and get their local casinos interested in the idea and give the WPT a call.

4. Matt has been in a movie.

As an interesting bit of trivia, Matt Savage has appeared in the 2007 movie “Lucky You” starring Drew Barrymore, Robert Duval, and Eric Bana. A number of real life poker pros appeared in the film, many playing themselves—several playing fictional players. In the film, Matt plays the World Poker Tour Executive Tour Director.

5. Originally, Matt wanted to become a professional bowler.

Matt grew up in San Jose. His first job was at the age of 14 at a bowling center with 60 lanes. Initially, he was so enthusiastic about bowling that he considered a career as a professional bowler. He lost interest, but at the age of 21 his competitive nature was rekindled, this time by poker. He has stated that he is not very good at poker, which was why he decided to get a job at the poker room where he was first inspired to compete. While he worked there, he performed in a number of roles: dealing, floorman, and eventually lead floorman. It wasn’t until the late 90s though that Matt discovered he loved directing tournaments. It was a long journey to discover his passion, but it was worth it. When he realized that there was a lack of standardization in the world of poker tournaments, he saw a need he could fulfill, and found a perfect niche for himself in the poker community.

6. Matt has appeared on more than 300 televised poker shows.

Matt ascended to become the top poker director in the world thanks in part to walking straight into the poker boom, but he was also in part responsible for that boom by creating a set of standardized rules. Those rules helped tournament directors around the world to get organized and draw attention to their events. Standardization is a critical component when it comes to getting competitive play broadcast on television, so the step he took was an essential one. He has been on numerous channels, including ESPN, Fox Sports, GSN, and the Travel Channel. He also hosted a show called “Inside Poker” for a while.

Matt Savage is at the forefront of the poker world thanks to his competitive nature, which has certainly paved the way for his business success—even if he never did become a pro bowler and is only an occasional poker player. His ingenuity and powerful networking skills have transformed the pro poker world and helped to create the explosion of popularity in televised poker games.

While Matt is best known for his professional achievements, he is also a very personable individual who loves to chat with other poker players and enthusiasts online and offline. “I would like to be known as a person of high integrity and someone who was fair and treated everyone with respect,” he stated once when asked how he would like to be remembered. Judging from his accomplishments to date, that is exactly how he will go down in history.