Published on December 9th, 2005 4:21 pm EST

Mike "The Mouth" Matusow is one of the most popular poker players around. He talks constantly at the poker table, but does so in a way that endears himself to other players and viewers alike. He is what Phil Hellmuth wishes he were; charismatic without being whiny. Confident in his game without being too overly cocky.

Matusow is having a big year. He final tabled the World Series of Poker, banking a million dollars for himself, and then went on to capture the Tournament of Champions, ousting such competitors as Phil Hellmuth at the final table.

Matusow says that he "and Phil Ivey are the two top No Limit Hold'em players in the world" right now, and we can't disagree. Matusow famously served time in a Las Vegas jail for a drug offense, and is, by his own admission, "a compulsive gambler."

What makes Matusow so good? He is unbelievably good at picking up tells on fellow players. He picked up a huge tell on Hoyt Corkins at the Tournament of Champions and took full advantage of it, moving all-in everytime Corkins was weak, and winning pots uncontested.

You can expect to see Matusow at more final tables in 2006.