2017 PokerStars Championship Barcelona

€50,000 Super High Roller
Zilele: 2

Mateos on the Gap in Skill Level Between Spanish Players

Adrian Mateos
Adrian Mateos

Poker is popular in Spain, there's no doubt about that. The €1,100 National Championship that preceded the Main Event at PokerStars Championship Barcelona attracted a record-breaking field of 4,557, the biggest in PokerStars history.

While the Spaniards love poker, people from around the world also still love to play against them. According to Adrian Mateos, one of the most famed and successful Spanish players in history before he's even exited his early 20s, that's because there's a lot of poker fans and poker enthusiasts, but not a whole lot of Spanish poker professionals.

"Poker in Spain has two different groups," he said. "There's a big difference between the players who live in Spain and the people who move to a different country to play."

With poker regulated in Spain, a secluded market emerged. Spanish players logging onto PokerStars.es can't play against players from other countries, similar to the situation in, for example, Italy. The result is a gap in skill level between those who stayed and played exclusively against Spanish players, and those who moved to battle the rest of the world from a different country.

"It's a big gap because you have to make a big decision if you want to play professionally and move, or stay home and play not that high," he said. "It's a big difference."

Adrian Mateos

All Time Money List:63rd        
Spanish All Time Money List:2nd        
GPI Ranking:5th        
Total Live Earnings:$9,200,682        

Mateos moved to London where he lives together with other Spanish poker players. A "grinders house," as he likes to call it. They eat, talk and breathe poker; their lives circle around the game.

"We live together and improve a lot," he said. "I think that's why professional Spanish players are really good. We play professionally and study a lot, it's normal that the gap with the rest exists. "

Mateos isn't just talking to Spanish players, he's also good friends with some of the other regulars on the circuit. The language barrier was a big hurdle to tackle, though.

When he won the Estrellas Main Event and WSOPE Main Event back in 2013, Mateos spoke hardly any English. But, he has improved a lot and now feels comfortable enough to be interviewed in English.

"Little by little, I try to improve my English so I can speak with more people," he said. "But I still spend the most time talking with Spanish players. Maybe that will change."

Six-figure live scores:

DateBuy InEventPosition Prize
October 2013€10,450WSOPE Main Event1st€1,000,000$1,351,661
May 2015€10,600EPT Monte Carlo Main Event1st€1,082,000$1,214,161
April 2017€50,000PokerStars Championship Monte Carlo Super High Roller1st€908,000$988,924
March 2017$50,000SHRPO Super High Roller2nd $413,567
June 2016$1,500WSOP Summer Solstice1st $409,171
June 2017$10,000WSOP Heads-Up Championship1st $336,656
July 2016$111,111WSOP High Roller for One Drop11th $310,550
May 2017$50,000Aria Super High Roller2nd $293,340
December 2016€25,500EPT Prague High Roller3rd€260,300$ 276,665
May 2017$100,000Aria Super High Roller7th $264,600
December 2016$25,000WPT Five Diamond High Roller2nd $247,680
December 2015€25,500EPT Prague High Roller4th€193,050$211,933
April 2016$10,000WPT Seminole Hard Rock4th $200,510
March 2017$25,000Aria High Roller2nd $186,000
January 2013€1,100Estrellas Main Event1st€103,053$137,247
July 2016$25,000Bellagio High Roller3rd $131,040
AUgust 2016€50,000EPT Barcelona Super High Roller12th€98,000$111,026
December 2016$25,000WPT Five Diamond High Roller6th $107,520

Taguri: Adrian Mateos