The story of Juan Carlos Mortenson is a long and interesting one.
He was born in 1972 in Ambato, Equador to a Danish father and a Spanish mother and has five siblings. He started playing chess as a young man after his family moved to Spain, but when he learned poker, there was no turning back.
Carlos Mortenson started playing no limit hold ‘em because he was waiting for his wife, Cecilia Reyes Mortenson and a game started up. When he lost, and lost badly, he could not get it off his mind. He kept going back, winning more and more. He was hooked.
Then, there were the games of poker he played with friends. Betting on poker was illegal in Madrid, so it was a touchy situation. They would always tell the police they were playing for fun. His playing ability convinced him he should go to the US to play.
He had a bankroll of $10,000. He decided not to bring it all. Instead, he only took $2800 with him to America. Carlos Mortenson quickly lost over half of his money on the first day. He went back and played it up to a profit of $10,000. However, he could only spend three months in the states on his visa and so had to go back to Spain.
While Mortenson was in Spain, he took to playing in a private club. The routine in the club was to play no limit for an hour at a time. At the end of an hour, you cashed out. Then you started all over again. This sharpened his skills and gained him the admiration of his fellow players. They decided to foot the bill for a trip for him to the WSOP.
In the 1990’s, Carlos Mortenson came to the US from Spain to play poker. By 2001, he had won the WSOP main event for a prize of $1.5 million and his first WSOP bracelet. This victory came only after wearing down a field of seasoned veterans in an 8-hour final table session.
Carlos did not speak or understand any English when he arrived in the US. What he did understand, though, was the facial expressions and body language of the players he was up against. He could work out their cards without understanding their words.
In 2003, he won his second WSOP bracelet in a $5,000 Limit Hold ‘em event. He followed that up in 2004 with the WPT’s Doyle Brunson North American Poker Championship where he cashed $1 million.
2006 brought Carlos to three final tables at the WSOP. He finished 9th in two No Limit Hold ‘em events at over $70,000 each. He also placed second in the Razz tournament for almost $95,000.
In April 2007, he entered and won the season five WPT Championship event. The money was over $3.97 million for Carlos Mortenson. It also made him the first player to ever win both the WSOP and the WPT world championship events.
Nicknamed “The Matador,” Carlos Mortenson seems aggressive and even crazy at times. He plays loose, bluffs, and loves to see how he can stack his chips.
With total tournament winnings of over $8.4 million, he is one of the top 10 tournament money makers of all time. He is part of the FullTilt Poker team and often available for play and chat at the Full Tilt Poker tables.
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