Adrian Mateos says he is proud and happy after becoming the Global Poker Index #1 after a year that has seen him earn close to $5m and become the youngest ever player to win three World Series of Poker bracelets.
As I walk along the back streets of Tujunga, the decrepit rusted rungs of fire escapes surrounding me like a futuristic hanging garden. I think about my boy.
When I was 16, I decided to watch the clock on the classroom wall move backwards was not my future. I left and found employment with British Rail. I was a boy, frightened, not sure how to fit into the adult world.
My boy has decided to take a different route. He’s staying in school. He’s taking math, physics and business studies. As I leapfrog a fire hydrant, I feel a sense of pride, and gratitude that I don’t have my sister’s concerns, who has a fight on her hands trying to explain to her 16-year-old that fighting on the frontlines of war might not be the best idea.
Maybe, my boy could become a professional poker player?
Like Adrian Mateos.
At 23-year-old, it feels patronising to call him a boy, but I’m sure that’s how his parents feel in between brief bursts of FaceTime. Poker isn’t the army, but to the uneducated parent, I am sure all they see are landmines.
It’s all about shame.
“What does your son do?”
Professional poker player.
There is an alliterative grace about those three words that make them roll off your tongue like cotton balls. But I imagine a lot of parents dare utter them. And then the money comes rolling in, consistently. The realisation that he must be doing something right.
Shame turns to pride.
“At the beginning, it wasn’t easy,” said Mateos when asked about his parent’s views on his decision to pursue a poker career. “My parents didn’t like my decision to quit university and leave Spain to live in London. It was the hardest decision of my life. I decided to go all-in for my dream, and now I am delighted I did, of course.”
Today, aged 23-years-old, Adrian Mateos, is the Global Poker Index (GPI) World #1. If his parents are reading, it means he is the best live tournament poker player on the planet.
The Spaniard, who had to move away from his country of birth to make poker his living, has earned $4,988,681 this calendar year. It’s the third successive year he has seen his annual earnings grow, quite a feat when you consider he made $1,784,406 two years ago.
His roll of honour includes 30 ITM finishes and four victories:
April – Mateos beats 64 entrants to win the €908,000 first prize in the €50,000 No-Limit Eight-Max Shot Clock event at the PokerStars Championship Monte Carlo.
June – Mateos becomes the youngest person to ever win three World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets after winning the $10,000 No-Limit Heads-Up Championship for $336,656.
October – Mateos beats 124 entrants to capture the $297,927 first prize in a Mini High Roller at the PokerStars Asia Championship of Poker (ACOP) in Macau.
November – Mateos tops a 215 entrant field to win the $250,000 first prize in a $5,300 buy-in event at the partypoker Caribbean Poker Party and with that win replace Bryn Kenney as the world number one.
“I feel amazing,” said Mateos. “To become the GPI #1 has always been one of my goals since I began playing high stakes, and now I am there, I am proud and happy.”
So what next for someone so young?
Will Mateos learn to play the mix-games and one day beat Phil Hellmuth‘s bracelet record?
Will he become a member of the Poker Hall of Fame?
I don’t think so.
Poker will change drastically in the future, before disappearing altogether. The smart players will invest wisely. The conscious players will use the money to improve the fate of the world. I believe Mateos will fall into both of these barrels.
I don’t want my boy to be a poker player.
Not because there’s no future in the game, but because, come on, how are you ever going to beat this guy?
A Brief History of the Global Poker Index #1
Adrian Mateos is the 17th person to emerge from the claustrophobic mass of the GPI ranks to land in the sun-splashed number one spot.
The most prolific GPI #1 of all time is Jason Mercier. The PokerStars Team Pro is currently taking a break from the breakneck speed of the game to be a father, but he has spent 63 weeks in the top spot and has been the world number one on nine separate occasions.
When it comes to streaks, you can’t get better than Fedor Holz, who once spent 30-consecutive weeks on the highest rung of the ladder.
GPI #1 (Weeks at Number One)
1. Jason Mercier – 63
2. Ole Schemion – 41
3. Dan Smith – 38
4. Fedor Holz – 30
5. Nick Petrangelo – 25
6. Steve O’Dwyer – 22
7. Daniel Negreanu – 19
8. Marvin Rettenmaier – 18
9. Bertrand Grospellier – 18
10. Erik Seidel – 15
11. Byron Kaverman – 15
12. Byrn Kenney – 14
13. David Peters – 7
14. Scott Seiver – 4
15. Vanessa Selbst – 2
16. Anthony Zinno – 2
17. Adrian Mateos -?
*A big lovebite to Eric Danis for the GPI Stats x