Making the Case: Carlos Mortensen and the Poker Hall of Fame

Carlos Mortensen has the resume of a Hall of Famer. (Jay Newnum photo).The World Series of Poker released the candidates for the 2013 Poker Hall of Fame Class last week. Ten players, all hoping to receive poker’s highest honor, were nominated. In the lead up to the announcement of the Class of 2013 BLUFF is making the case for each of the nominees in an ongoing series. The series continues with Carlos Mortensen.

Down to the final ten players of the 2013 WSOP Main Event, the poker world watched as Carlos Mortensen was on the verge of making the November Nine. After a few hands though Mortensen found himself in a hand with JC Tran that would be his last. Mortensen bubbled the final table but his legacy will never be defined by that moment.

But picking a single moment to define Mortensen’s career is an extremely difficult task. He won his first of two WSOP bracelets at the 2001 WSOP Main Event, outlasting a final table that included Mike Matusow, Phil Hellmuth and eventual runner-up Dewey Tomko. Two years later he won his second bracelet, in the $5,000 Limit Hold’em event, beating Limit Hold’em specialist Mark Gregorich for the title.

In 2007 the Spanish poker pro won the WPT World Championship, pocketing $3,970,415 while becoming the only player to win both the WSOP Main Event and the WPT World Championship. He has two other WPT titles to his credit; the 2004 Doyle Brunson North American Poker Championship and the 2010 Hollywood Poker Open. He sits atop the WPT earnings list, having banked $6,447,960 – $736,345 more than his nearest competitor, Daniel Negreanu.

All told, Mortensen has won 13 titles, made 47 final tables, cashed 95 times and $10,860,162 in lifetime earnings. That defining moment however wasn’t on TV and there wasn’t a million dollars on the line. It was at a bar in Spain and only $100 was at stake.

As legend has it Mortensen was introduced to the game at a bar he had been working at. Playing hold’em for the first time ever, Mortensen lost the $100 buy-in. Mortensen did his best to read as much as he could about poker strategy in hopes of learning the game. He returned to the same game and won his money back plus some. From there he began playing in private cash games in Spain before finding his way to Las Vegas where poker stardom, and millions of dollars, awaited him.

Very little is working against the 41 year old, but one thing that could cost Mortensen some votes from the living Hall of Fame members and media panel, this is the first time Mortensen has one of the ten nominees despite this being the second year he has been eligible under the minimum age guidelines.

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Lance Bradley

Editor in Chief at BLUFF.com
Editor in Chief: Lance Bradley began working with BLUFF in March 2008 and was named Editor in Chief in August 2009. Prior to joining BLUFF Bradley launched an independent poker blog, ThePokerBiz.com in 2006. Before entering the world of poker media he was the Poker Room Manager for Bodog from January 2004 until June 2006. He graduated from the Applied Journalism program Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Vancouver, Canada.
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