Mateos Tops Vietnam Vet John Smith to Win 3rd WSOP Bracelet

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John Smith shakes Adrian Mateos' hand.

Veteran John Smith and Spanish poker prodigy Adrian Mateos faced off in the final match of the elite $10,000 buy-in Heads-Up Championship Friday night with a 48-year age gap between them.

In the end youth was served, but only barely.

After swapping the chip lead back and forth numerous times, Mateos finally landed the knockout blow by turning a flush in the final hand.

Mateos picked up his third World Series of Poker bracelet and $336,656 for the win. At just 22 years old, Mateos is the youngest player to win three WSOP bracelets.

“It feels really good for sure,” said Mateos. “I think it’s pretty hard to win three bracelets and I’m happy that I managed to do it.”

Second Runner-Up Finish for Smith

Over the course of the tournament the 70-year-old Smith became the media darling.

Incredibly it was Smith’s second runner-up finish in the tournament - and back-to-back no less. He finished second in last year’s edition for a $198k payday.

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John Smith

Smith’s feat is made even all the more impressive by the fact the $10k Heads-Up tournament is considered a “pro’s event” with some of the best players in the world competing, many of whom are young stars from the online world.

“It’s really impressive,” said Mateos of Smith’s runner-up finish. “He played really different than I expected him too. He changed his game every hand. He was really hard to read.”

Smith also finished 11th in this same event back in 2014, which means he’s nearing half a million in earnings just from this particular WSOP tournament.

At the final table Smith developed a fervent rail who were boisterous in their support for the La Habra Heights resident.

Smith, who received the Purple Heart for his service in Vietnam, has been playing poker for more than 50 years, which means he’s been playing the game for more than twice as long as Mateos has been alive.

Mateos Enters Elite Territory

It’s staggering how much Adrian Mateos has been able to accomplish in his relative short time playing poker.

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Adrian Mateos' third bracelet.

Mateos only started cashing in 2012 and won the prestigious World Series of Poker Europe Main Event for €1,000,000 in 2013. He was just 19 years old at the time.

Since then Mateos has won an EPT Main Event, an EPT High Roller and another WSOP bracelet to bring his total earnings to $9.1 million.

Mateos is currently second to Carlos Mortensen on the Spanish all-time poker earners list but he’s done it in a fraction of time.

It seems that it will only be a matter of time before Mateos takes sole possession of the all-time Spanish winner’s leaderboard.

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