When it comes to poker, having the chance to become a professional player and travel the world making money from the games you play is the dream for most players. Sadly, a dream is all it is likely to become for the vast, vast majority of poker fanatics around the world but there are those players that manage to break through and live the dream. When it comes to poker playing, few match up to the legend that is Carlos Mortensen, who is a bona fide legend in the World Poker Tour circuit. In fact, Mortensen, as of March 2011, was the poker player with the highest level of winnings from the WPT.
Born in Ecuador in April 1972
Carlos Mortensen was born on April 13th, 1972 in Ambato in Ecuador. As a teenager, Mortensen moved to Spain and it was there that his love affair with the game begun. He continued to develop his knowledge and skill of the game before deciding to move to Atlantic City in the United States to play poker, a move he undertook in the late 1990s. This was a brave move for anyone to take but Mortensen has shown that it was a move that was well worth taking.
Atlantic City is a great place to hone poker skills
There are few finer places to hone your poker skills than in Atlantic City and the grounding that Carlos learned here obviously stood him in good stead. In 2004, Mortensen triumphed in the Doyle Brunson North American Poker Championship winning a prize of $1,000,000. This was followed up with the fifth WPT Season WPT Championship event where Mortensen managed to pick up the prize cheque of $3,970,415.
By this point, Mortensen had also won the WSOP Main Event, which meant he was the first and so far only winner of both the WSOP Main Event and the WPT Championship. It remains to be seen if anyone will ever be able to match Mortensen in this feat but given the number of poker players competing for these titles, it would have to be considered unlikely. This feat alone would mark Mortensen down as a poker legend but the fact that he has continued to triumph says a lot about the man.
The nickname of El Matador is well suited
It is said that Mortensen is a mild-mannered man away from the poker table but at the table, he has an intensity and desire to win. This is symbolised in his nickname of El Matador and although his Hispanic roots make this an obvious nickname for the player, it captures his style of play very well.
A season 8 win at the WPT Hollywood Poker Open saw Mortensen pick up his third WPT title and the $393,820 winners cheque was another major landmark for the player. It pushed him to the top of the all-time leaderboard with regards to WPT winning and this is a position he continues to hold as of March 2001. In overtaking Daniel Negreanu in prize money and levelling with Gus Hansen on three WPT titles, Mortensen found himself being labelled the best player in WPT history.
Is Mortensen the best player in WPT history?
Given that Mortensen is still a young man in poker terms, it is not surprising to find that he has no intention of resting on his laurels. This gives an indication that the player enjoys poker and wants to play as much for the competitive spirit and edge as much as the money. With over $6m in winnings from the WPT alone, Carlos Mortensen is not in dire need of financial support but when you are referred to as El Matador; there are issues like pride and courage to live up to. It is hoped that Carlos Mortensen will have many more years and triumphs to come on the poker table although the chasing pack behind him may not be too happy if he continues to show his golden streak at the poker table.
As of the start of 2011, Mortensen had won over $10m in total poker winnings, a sum of money that few will ever hope of rivalling abut also indicates the strength and quality of the player. With over 25 money finishes at major poker tournaments, it is hard to argue with the consistency of Carlos Mortensen and he is quite rightly considered to be one of the best poker players of the modern era and of all time.