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Huge August Propels Leechburg, PA’s Matt Berkey Up State’s All-Time Money List


A huge August propelled Leechburg, Pennsylvania native Matt Berkey up to seventh on the state’s all-time tournament poker money leader’s list.

Berkey earned just shy of half a million dollars in August. As a result, he leapfrogged Michael Martin and Russell Thomas to move from ninth to seventh on Pennsylvania poker’s all-time money list.

Wallingford, PA’s Thomas finished fourth in the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event for $2.8 million. Martin, who hails from Washington Cross, PA, won the European Poker Tour London Main Event in 2008 for $1.8 million.

However, Martin stepped away from the major live tournament scene in 2010.

Matt Berkey now over $3.7 million

Berkey’s $491,618 haul in August 2017 pushed his total live tournament earning’s up to $3,760,545. Berkey is still close to $1 million behind Altoona, PA native Dan Ott on the list. The majority of Ott’s $4.7 million in tournament earnings came from his runner-up finish in the 2017 WSOP Main Event in July.

North Wales, PA native and 2015 WSOP Main Event winner Joseph McKeehen tops Pennsylvania poker’s all-time money list. He has $13,862,958 total live earnings. Bryn Mawr, PA, poker pro Jake Schindler sits second with $13,063,062.

There are three other players sitting between Berkey and the leaders. They include hedge fund manager and part-time high roller Dan Shak, veteran player John Hennigan, and Poker Night in America producer Matt Glantz. Each has above $6 million in total live tournament earnings.

Berkey’s blog and documentary series

Berkey is primarily a high-stakes cash game pro who rose to prominence in the live tournament scene making three final table appearances at the 2013 WSOP. He gained even more notoriety publishing a blog chronicling his rise from the son of a drug addict to college baseball player and success as a high-stakes poker pro.

In addition to his live tournament earnings, Berkey has close to $1 million in online poker tournament cashes. He played under the screen name Berkey11 at online poker rooms including PokerStars and Full Tilt.

Berkey finished fifth for $1.1 million in the $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl in 2016. His preparation and run in the tournament was chronicled in the PokerGo documentary series Dead Money: A Super High Roller Bowl Story.

Poker After Dark

Berkey’s August 2017 exploits included a third-place finish in the $5,250 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Championship in Hollywood, FL for $341,618.

Plus, he emerged victorious from a winner take all $25,000 Poker After Dark sit and go in Las Vegas, NV. For his efforts, he pocketed $150,000. The Poker After Dark event also aired live on the upstart poker content subscription site PokerGo.

Poker After Dark on PokerGo is the revival of a late-night NBC poker show. The show aired from from January 2007 to September 2011.


Martin Derbyshire has more than ten years of experience reporting on the poker, online gambling, and land-based casino industries for a variety of publications including Bluff Magazine, PokerNews, and PokerListings. He has traveled extensively, attending tournaments and interviewing major players in the gambling world.