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Adrian Mateos: "Improve Every Day or They'll Eat You Alive"
It’s been nearly 15 months since Adrian Mateos won the WSOP Europe main event and it’ll be another nine months before someone challenges him for the title.
Mateos, a 20-year-old from Spain, won the 2013 WSOPE main event in Paris for €1,000,000. At the time, Mateos was just a teenager with an Estrellas Poker Tour title to his name.
To get his 1m euro payday the young Spaniard had to battle Shannon Shorr, Andrei Konopelko, Benny Spindler, Ravi Raghavan, Jerome Huge, Dominik Nitsche and Fabrice Soulier at the final table.
Mateos started that final table with the chip lead and then eliminated Nitsche in 3rd place to start the heads-up match with a 4.5-to-1 chip lead. But he still had to battle Fabrice Soulier, a WSOP and EPT champion with more years of experience than Mateos had of life.
It was a long battle and Soulier managed to take the lead before Mateos came back and ended the tournament.
Mateos became the second-youngest WSOPE champion --Annette Obrestad won the initial WSOPE the day before her 19th birthday-- and Spain’s first WSOP-E champion.
“All the Spanish poker outlets went crazy over it,” Mateos said.
“Twitter and social media also went wild, the amount of congratulations and support I got from Spaniards was great.
“Even more mainstream Spanish outlets got interested and I did a few interviews with them.”
Soulier had the bigger rail during the heads-up match --partly due to a home-field advantage-- but Mateos had the Spanish-backed internet on his side.
While Mateos was just a teenager at the time of his victory, he says the title didn’t change him as a person, just as a player.
“As a player it really affects you because you don’t have to be so worried about downswings,” Mateos said.
“When you have a bigger bankroll you can take the losses better. More than anything it gave me peace of mind to have a good cushion.”
At the time of his victory, the young pro was already touring the European poker scene.
Mateos won an Estrellas Poker Tour main event for $137,247 nine months before his bracelet win and was already playing €10,000 high rollers.
The extra 1m euros let Mateos jump up the €25,000 high rollers and he even tried his hand at three Super High Rollers.
“The 10k and 25k [high rollers] are pretty similar because it’s usually the same player pool,” Mateos said. "But the players in the Super High Rollers --the 50ks and 100ks-- are definitely playing at a higher level.
“I’ve played three [super high rollers] but still haven’t cashed in one. I’m just happy to have the opportunity because I like playing against the best players in the world.”
Mateos has cashed in four high rollers since his victory though, including one final table at EPT Deauville early last year. He won $50,534 for finishing 8th that tournament, but what Mateos really enjoys is the experience he gets from the tournaments.
“I like measuring myself up against the best,” Mateos said. “I’m very competitive and ambitious and I like playing against people I consider good.”
Constant improvement is an integral part of the game, Mateos says, and he’s seen his own game improve considerably since he won his bracelet back in 2013.
“In this game you have to improve every day or they’ll eat you alive,” Mateos said.
Mateos still has a few months before he has to defend his title. After a one-year hiatus, the World Series of Poker will return to Europe in October for its eighth installment.
This time, the series will be held in Berlin, Germany, but Mateos will be back to defend his title from the best.