Poker Spotlight on Carlos Mortensen

Truly one of the more international poker players to achieve success at the highest levels of the game, Carlos Mortensen was born in Ecuador, but has Danish origins and lived most of his early life in Spain. It was there in Madrid that he first learned how to play the game of poker after graduating with a math and physics degree. Accidentally finding an underground poker room in the city, Mortensen decided to try his luck and promptly lost $100. Fascinated by the game and the other players, he returned on a regular basis and began to see a profit until he could no longer find players that would gamble against him. This hard knock introduction to poker is much different than most of the professional players on the circuit today, but it gave Mortensen the ability to develop his own style, one which has served him well in his poker career, and he is now associated with the successful online poker room, PokerStars.

Moving to the United States for a better chance at a true poker career, Mortensen came without being able to speak English, but his prowess at reading body language was more than enough to make him a winner in the Atlantic City games. He spent more and more time at the tables, honing his skills and developing the aggressive style that he would become known for. The first chance at stardom for Mortensen would come in 1999 when a group of Spanish players bankrolled him for the Main Event at the World Series of Poker. His backers clearly knew a good thing when they saw it, but they were slightly ahead of themselves. Mortensen would not cash that year, but would come back in 2000 with several minor cashes. The next year, he set his eyes on the Main Event and would never look back.

The 2001 Main Event was Mortensen's breakthrough tournament and would see him claw through a tough field of professionals that were at a loss as to how to counter the Spaniard's aggressive style. At the final table, he and well known player Dewey Tomko found themselves heads up for the title. Mortensen found a pair of Aces on the last hand and took down the bracelet, earning himself a place in poker history as well as a $1.5 million payday. This major win would spark a run of event cashes and several big wins in major tournaments. His biggest paycheck to date was a win at the WPT World Championship that awarded nearly $4 million, a big chunk of his over $10 million in career tournament winnings.

When asked to describe the playing style of Carlos Mortensen, most fans and players will use the adjectives of wild and unpredictable, but there is a science at work behind the madness. One of Mortensen's greatest talents is a superior ability to pick up on tells and translate them into valuable information. Understanding the strength of an opponent's hand allows him the chance to put extreme pressure on them, many times with less than premium cards and just a natural poker instinct.