Matthew Anthony Roth, of Fairbanks, Alaska, made a living from playing online poker since he was 18 and had a very bright future ahead of him, but his life (and many others) changed drastically on April 15, 2011 when online poker was shut down in the U.S. by FBI (Poker's Black Friday). Roth (in the middle of the picture) spent months reclaiming his funds, which were spread around several poker sites. Although he recovered most of his money and graduated in 2012 with a degree in finance - his life never became what it once was.
Roth had battled anxiety and self-esteem issues for years, but after Black Friday he stopped fighting and became very depressed. He stopped going to the gym and began hiding his body in heavy jackets or hooded sweatshirts, Bill Roth (his father) told Las Vegas Review-Journal. He was scrawny and often picked on in grade school, his father recalled, but he packed on 60 pounds of muscle in high school. After school, poker and the gym became his life.
His family (two sister, father and mother) supported him through the tough times and made sure he visited a doctor and received medication, but nothing seemed to help the young poker pro. Bill Roth drove his son to the airport on April 23rd and wished him good luck in Las Vegas. It was the last time he saw his son alive...
Matthew Anthony Roth was found dead two days later in the parking lot of the Wild Wild West Gambling Hall and Hotel at 3330 Tropicana Ave. He had committed suicide at the age of 26 with a handgun that he had taken from a friend in Las Vegas.
"He was carrying thousands of dollars with him when he died, but nothing seemed to make him happy happy. He always felt alone. Money doesn't buy happiness. It doesn't. Happiness comes from within. The next time we see a homeless person sitting on the street, I know that there's not one event that made them get there. It's a series of events. We need to have more compassion," Bill Roth said
Bill Roth thinks that Black Friday is partly to blame for his son's death...
"The federal government two years ago shut down his site, took his money, and with that - they didn't know it - but they took my son," Bill Roth said. "They took his livelihood, self-esteem, drive. They took his focus. Imagine all of a sudden your job is just not there. All of a sudden, your money is taken away and you're struggling to find work."
Bill Roth told Las Vegas Review-Journal that his son's money and possessions will go to groups that promote humanity. Rest in peace!
Source: The Las Vegas Review-Journal