EPT10 Deauville: Mortensen Mark II? Adrian Mateos Diaz steps up for Spain
Adrian Mateos Diaz first pinged on the PokerStars Blog radar a year ago. The 18-year-old madrileño won the Estrellas Poker Tour Madrid Main Event for €103,053 in January, then followed that up with some close calls here at EPT Deauville last season: he just missed out on final tables in a €2,200 side event and the €10,300 High Roller.
Following that, Mateos Diaz clocked up five further PokerStars live event final tables, up to and including a 3rd place in the £5,200 turbo at EPT London in October. One week later, he won the WSOPE Main Event for $1m, beating a tough line up that included Benny Spindler, Fabrice Soulier, Dominik NItsche, Shannon Shorr and Ravi Raghavan. In little more than a year, Mateos Diaz has barrelled his way up into third place on the Spain all-time money list and shows little sign of slowing down. Barrelling and not slowing down? It's probably a decent description how he plays, or certainly seems to be given an early orbit of Level 1 here.
Starting from the small blind, Mateos Diaz won four pots back-to-back. Two were unopposed raise-and-take's, two were larger post-flop: one in position, one out of position. In position, Mateos Diaz opened for 250 from the cut-off and Ruben Smadja defended his big blind. Mateos Diaz fired 300 and 800 into the flop and turn of a 6♠9♠2♦4♥K♠ before checking back the river. Smadja, who was first to the left of the dealer, had to show first: A♥5♣. Mateos Diaz showed down J♦9♦ for a flopped top-pair.
It's fairly straightforward stuff, but whatever it is that Mateos Diaz is doing he seems to be doing it well. Mateos Diaz may be Spain's bright new hope, and should arguably be at the top of any first-Spanish-player-to-win-an-EPT list scribbled on the back of a beer mat, but he's still a long, long way away from Carlos Mortensen, who's packing $11.5m in live tournament cashes. In fact, there's only three countries in the world where winning the WSOP Main Event wouldn't be enough to instantly rocket you to the top of your nation's all-time money list: Spain is one.
Win the Big One, still a runner-up
1. Carlos Mortensen: $11,469,510
2. Raul Paez Corral: $1,855,567
3. Adrian Mateos Diaz: $1,695,722
1. Sam Trickett: $19,877,332
2. Dave Ulliott: $6,196,182
1. John Juanda: $15,401,770
2. Michael Sampoerna: $307,660
"I'd really like to be the first one in Spain, but Carlos has too much money won," said Mateos Diaz. "It's a really big difference, but I'll try to catch him."
Mateos Diaz, now 19 years old, certainly has youth and enthusiasm on his side. It increasingly appears that he has the talent, too.
"My life has changed so much. When I won the Estrellas Poker Tour I was not professional. I then come to Deauville and make a good run during the High Roller, so I decided to (turn) professional and move to London."
Leaving Madrid, making money in London
It was a good decision. He moved to Hammersmith in West London, where he shares a flat with a few other Spanish grinders, including UKIPT London winner Sergio Aido, and has been consistently clocking up results live and online ever since. SCOOP (Spring Championship of Online Poker) was a particular highlight. Mateos Diaz, who plays under the UserID "Amadi_017" at PokerStars, cashed in eight SCOOP events, all of which were of the high variety (big buy-in), and final tabled four of them. "It's been a really good year," he said, smiling.
Winning hundreds of thousands of dollars online in tough events can certainly be a confidence booster. Mateos Diaz went on to win the WOSPE Main Event, capping off a phenomenal first year of pro poker.
"The WSOPE is a huge tournament and I have a bracelet, which I really like, but Estrellas, for me, is really important because maybe if I don't win that tournament I'm not here playing poker," said Mateos Diaz.
Those swings of variance are ones that can't be calculated using tracking software, but you can expect to see more of Mateos Diaz. Unless, of course, he decides to truly follow in the footsteps of Mortensen, who regularly adopts hats and shades, often flying under the radar until the later stages of a tournament.
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Rick Dacey is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.