BLOG: Turning 50 and Reflecting on Life, Loss, & Career

By Matt Savage  I’ve had an emotional few months of my perspective on life has changed immensely. My father, Ken Savage, passed away September 22nd after battling with pulmonary fibrosis which is an incurable disease that led to him not being able to breathe and eventually, his death. I was fortunate to be able to…

Matt Clark
Nov 29, 2018

By Matt Savage 

Matt Savage

I’ve had an emotional few months of my perspective on life has changed immensely.

My father, Ken Savage, passed away September 22nd after battling with pulmonary fibrosis which is an incurable disease that led to him not being able to breathe and eventually, his death.

I was fortunate to be able to spend a few weeks with him prior to his passing but was on the road during his final day. I was on the phone with him and my two sisters Kathy and Karyn when he took his final breath. His only concern was that we were going to be okay and he had us laughing and crying at the end.

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My father was a great man who was very spiritual and always put others before himself. I gave his eulogy and ended it by saying what I truly believe and that is I hope I can become half the man he was. My mother passed in 2008 and that was an extremely busy time in my career so I don’t think I was able to fully comprehend the loss like I am dealing with my father’s passing.

My mother and father were always supportive of me but, as I’m sure many young poker players experienced, they were unsure of my profession until I found success. I think about my father daily and it will be tough the first year in my life without Dad on his birthday (November 17th), Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

I and am thankful to have my wife, Maryann, and my family be so supportive in the healing process.

Though I soon went back to work I had another major life event approaching quickly that took away some of my sadness.

For the past 22 years, I have hosted an invitational golf tournament in late-May but this year the timing would be different as my wife had the idea to tie in my tournament with my 50th birthday in Cabo San Lucas November 5th.

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As passionate as I am about running poker tournaments, I believe I’m even more intense about this annual golf event because I handle all aspects from invites to format to golf, dinner, and hotel arrangements. Getting 60-plus friends and colleagues together for five rounds of golf is truly similar to herding cats and similar to poker tournaments it’s nearly impossible to make everyone happy but I do truly look forward to my golf tournament more than anything else, except for maybe seeing my wife smile.

This year because of my birthday included me getting roasted by close friends and family including Sam Quinto, Tyler Patterson, Scott Buller, Mike Noori, and Roast Master Lon McEachern who all left me feeling a little worse about myself but it was all in good fun which is most important. As it happens every year, I lost all the money on the golf course but still had a wonderful time.

Once I got back on the plane and headed back to the U.S. and straight back to work at the Commerce, I felt a bit rejuvenated and ready to jump back into poker with both feet as the WPT season rolls on as we prepare for the second half of the season. I’m especially looking forward to the L.A. Poker Classic coming up on March 2 at the Commerce.

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November 12th was my fourteenth anniversary to my beautiful wife Maryann, and while I was working that day like I have many times in the past, we always promise to celebrate when I get home.

It is that kind of understanding that has made our marriage so strong.

Like a poker player, I know my work schedule isn’t easy with relationships and spending long periods of time on the road and apart but it does make the time we can be together even sweeter. I am fortunate that the WPT has been so supportive of family and made it possible for Maryann to travel with me around the world.

I am not sure what the next chapter of life will bring but as I look back at half a century with over half of my life in poker and the people that have touched my life, I know that I have run amazingly well.