The young players have by-and-large fallen off in the last few years in the United States, with the lack of the training ground of online poker. In Europe, however, the young players still have a chance to polish up their skills and even take part in most live events held in the continent.
19-year-old Adrian Mateos is one of those talented young players, and he outlasted a talented final table to get heads-up for a bracelet with French poker legend Fabrice Soulier. Mateos outlasted Soulier in a heads-up match that lasted for 163 hands, longer than the rest of the final table combined, on the way to becoming the second-youngest WSOP bracelet winner in history. He also earned the tremendous sum of €1 million ($1,380,700), especially for someone so young.
“I feel amazing, it’s incredible,” said Mateos in the moments after his victory. “I played 11 [tournaments] here, this is my first time in the money, and I won!”
With a 90 big blind average stack at the start of play, the early stages were predictably slow. Slow for everyone, that is, except for Benny Spindler. After making his second international WSOP Main Event final table of 2013, Spindler mixed it up early – he even managed a cold four-bet with nine-three offsuit on the third hand of the day, though he ran head first into Dominik Nitsche’s pocket aces and had to fold.
Spindler’s aggression came back to bite him in the end. He called a raise from Jerome Huge in a blind against blind confrontation, and called bets on both the 9 6 5 flop and A turn. When Huge bet 100,000 into a 350,000 pot on the 5river, though, Spindler took it upon himself to shove for just over 500,000, having Huge covered by less than 200,000. After a lengthy tank, Huge called with a naked A 7 and caught another big bluff by Spindler, who had just 3 2.
Spindler had a good chance to double on the next hand, getting it in with Q Q against Mateos’ K T, but the runout was a cruel one as it came down 7 6 6 6 and finally K on the river, sending Spindler out in sixth place.
Ravi Raghavan had a WPT title, two final tables and almost $2.4 million coming into this final table, but until this tournament he’d had limited success at the WSOP. He entered play as the second-shortest stack out of six, and despite taking down some decent pots never really climbed his way back into contention.
He had his chance on the 60th hand of the day as he raised to 50,000 from under the gun and Mateos called in the big blind. The flop was K T 8 and Mateos took the lead, betting 65,000, which Raghavan responded to with a raise to 175,000. Mateos three-bet to 410,000, Raghavan four-bet all in for 1.3 million and Mateos called, creating a pot worth well over 100 big blinds that would certainly impact the rest of the final table.
Mateos had K 8 for a two-pair big blind special, but Raghavan had a royal flush draw with A Q. The A further increased Raghavan’s outs, giving him an ace, queen or ten in addition to a jack or a spade to win on the river. The 3 was a blank, though, and the last American standing was sent home in fifth.
The final four players in the WSOPE Main Event were, appropriately enough, all Europeans – two French players, a German and a Spaniard. The two local players would lock horns in another big pot, and it would be the veteran Soulier getting the better of Huge. Soulier raised to 65,000 from under the gun and Huge called in the big blind, bringing a flop of A Q 3.
Huge checked, Soulier bet 75,000 and Huge called, with the K falling on the turn. Huge took the lead, betting 200,000, and Soulier called to bring the 8 on the river. Huge open-shoved for 780,000, about 26 big blinds, and Soulier thought his decision over for a couple of minutes before calling, tabling A Q for a flopped two-pair. Huge and his 4 3 could not measure up, and his bluff led him out of the WSOPE Main Event in fourth.
They’d go to the dinner break three-handed, with Mateos holding just over half of the chips in play and Nitsche and Soulier neck-and-neck with nearly identical stacks. Post-dinner play was mostly unkind for the young German and he started to slip – first below 2 million, and then under a million.
After Mateos opened to 85,000 on the button, Nitsche three-bet all in from the big blind for 950,000 (about 24 big blinds) and Mateos eventually made the call. Nitsche was behind but alive with 9 8 against Mateos’ A 7, though the J 5 3 flop was not very helpful to Nitsche’s cause. The 3 and 6 were blanks as well, and Nitsche’s quest for his second WSOP bracelet was cut short in third place.
Mateos started heads-up play with a lead of almost 4.5-to-1 over Soulier, poised to run over the French poker legend on the way to his first bracelet and the largest payday of his life by several levels of magnitude. Soulier would not go quitely, though, cutting the lead down to less than 2-to-1 in short order.
Then Soulier started pouring it on – after drawing even with Mateos he quickly hit a rush and reversed the counts, taking a 2-to-1 lead of his own. Where many older and more experienced players would have simply folded under the pressure, Mateos was able to grind away during the lengthy heads-re-establish his lead and then finish Soulier off to claim the victory
2013 WSOP Europe Main Event – Final Results
- Adrian Mateos – €1,000,000
- Fabrice Soulier – €610,000
- Dominik Nitsche – €400,000
- Jerome Huge – €251,000
- Ravi Raghavan – €176,000
- Benny Spindler – €126,000
- Andrei Konopelko – €101,000
- Shannon Shorr – €77,500
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