Carlos Mortensen Profile

General Bill “zimba” Seibert
Carlos Mortensen is the most decorated Hispanic professional poker player ever. He won the 2001 WSOP Main Event, won another bracelet and has 21 cashes to bring his live tournament winnings to nearly $10 million. Mortensen has won three big WPT titles, including the Season Five World Poker Tour championship event for nearly $4 million and most recently the 2010 WPT Hollywood Poker Open. Mortensen was born April 13, 1972 in Ambato, Ecuador, moved to Madrid, Spain when he was 15 and currently calls Las Vegas home.
Things you might not know:
  • Mortensen's mother was Spanish and his father was a Danish international diplomat and they owned several farms.
  • Mortensen studied in Paris and even attended military school.
  • Mortensen's hobbies were playing chess and pool, and at various times worked in a pizzeria, selling leather goods and bartending.
  • Mortensen met and married Cecilia Reyes while in college studying mathematics and physics.
  • Mortensen first played poker in 1997 at a local bar, taking $100 from his wages and losing it all. He returned the next night, doubled his money, then won the next four evenings before deciding to leave his job to start playing poker.
  • Mortensen claims he never read any poker books, rather relying on his instincts.
  • After action dried up in Madrid due to his constant winning, he moved to the US where Americans had a hard time understanding his name and thus Carlos replaced Juan Carlos.
  • The final table of his 2001 WSOP Main Event victory included Phil Helmuth, Mike Matusow, Phil Gordon and his heads up opponent Dewey Tomko.
  • The final table of his WPT Championship event included John Juanda, Erik Seidel, Hung La, Thang Pham, and David “The Dragon” Pham.
  • Mortensen is the only player to ever win the World Championship events at both the WSOP and WPT.
  • In 2006, Mortensen was divorced from his fellow professional poker player wife Cecilia Reyes Mortensen.
  • Mortensen is first on the all-time WPT money list, and tied with Gus Hansen for most WPT titles with three.

Carlos "El Matador" Mortensen is known for his loose and aggressive style. He focuses on playing for first place, taking calculated gambles to attack when he smells weakness. "Anytime I can bust someone, that is the right thing to do. If I smell weakness, I attack. Either I bust them or they bust me.” Although he is famous for his unpredictability at the tables, Mortensen knows what is important to maintaining his success, saying that staying focused is the most essential part of being a winning player. Mortensen also claims that a major contributing factor to his success is his ability to remember opponents’ betting patterns and tells.
“I believe that poker is a people game played with cards, not just a card game played by people,” Carlos once explained in an interview. “I think that all players have limits, or situations where they become uneasy, and that is when I put them to the test.”

Mortensen interview and final WSOP Main Event poker hand:

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