World Cup of Poker: Team Mexico makes a repeat finals run
After facing an eighth place elimination in last year's edition of the World Cup of Poker, Team Mexico is back for a repeat appearance in the live finals and looking to proudly represent Latin America. An eclectic foursome with diverse backgrounds has qualified to play under the Mexican flag. One is a future industrial engineer. Another sells helicopters. One is an avid chess player and another is a radio announcer. Their road to the finals went through Argentina and Peru, Chile and Colombia, Costa Rica and Guatemala, Uruguay and Venezuela before Mexico edged out Brazil to stamp their ticket to the Bahamas. 2008 has been an explosive year for poker south of the border; meet the four players who will be carrying the torch for Latin America on the island of Atlantis.
Jose Francisco Muñoz Osuna , aka "Pythomunoz" qualified to become a member of his nation's World Cup team by attaining Mexico's second-highest Tournament Leaderboard score. The 21-year old native of Mazatlan, Sinaloa still lives with his parents and is studying to become an industrial engineer. Three years ago, Pythomunoz was playing freerolls. Now he is a Supernova VIP, via a high volume of NLHE play in cash games, SNGs, and multi-table tournaments. Though he's clearly a poker success story, Pythomunoz still views poker as a hobby.
A victory in the World Cup would be far more than just a payday for Pythomunoz. "More than the money, winning the cup would be the biggest pot I have collected, I mean, it would be the reward of (dedicating) many hours and effort to the game, and also I would be so happy if I can prove that Mexico has world class poker players" he said.
Joining Pythomunoz is Team Mexico's second TLB qualifier, David "dhubermex" Huber. Originally from Texas, Huber balances dual careers as an online poker pro and a part-time radio announcer in his adopted hometown of Mexico City. Married with twin sons, Huber built his bankroll by playing a heavy volume of mid to high buy in NLHE turbo SNGs, regularly playing 16 tables at a time. He slowed his SNG pace a bit over the last year, however and began to expand his repertoire to include multi-table tournaments.
Jorge "Kingeorge63" Lozano (at right) qualified to represent Mexico the old-fashioned way--by grinding it out in freerolls through multiple qualifying stages. Married with one son, Lozano works as a salesman and is a huge fan of soccer and car racing. He started playing online poker about three years ago after dabbling in home games decades before, but it is another game Lozano credits when it comes to the development of his poker skills--chess, which he has played since age 7.
Antoine "AntoineMex" Barriere had to wade through a 1,200 player starting field in the Mexico National freeroll to earn his seat on the World Cup team. Now living in Mexico City where he works in international sales for Eurocopter, Barriere is a French national who has lived all over the globe, from Madrid, to Norway, to Missoula, Montana. Barriere first played poker about two years ago at a family Christmas gathering. At the time, he was still living in Paris, and he soon began venturing out to the local cardrooms to develop his skills. Now that his career has taken him to Mexico, he primarily plays on PokerStars, but enjoys the occasional trip to Las Vegas to play live tournaments and a little $1-2 no-limit.
Barriere is looking forward to his time in the Bahamas, not only to rub elbows with some of his favorite pros like Humberto Brenes and Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, but to enjoy the spectacular surroundings.
"I am also very excited of the possible opportunity to swim with dolphins. And also snorkeling!" he said.