Known for his elaborate chip towers and aggressive play, Juan Carlos Mortensen (Carlos Mortensen for short) was born in Ecuador before making the move to the United States in the 1990s to play poker. It didn’t take long for Mortensen to make a name for himself. Not only did other top players begin to know who Carlos Mortensen was; they respected and feared him on the tables.
After taking his shots in tournaments while grinding away at the cash tables, Mortensen finally broke through in 2000 when he cashed in a WSOP event for over $20,000. A few smaller cashes followed and then in February of 2001, Carlos outlasted the entire field in an event at the L.A. Poker Classic to win over $116,000. Shortly thereafter, he took down the Shooting Star Tournament for another $44,550 and an entry into the WSOP Main Event.
Playing his best poker ever and feeling more and more confident with each hand that he was dealt, Carlos put the seat he had won to good use. In fact, he profited the maximum amount when he bested a field of 613 entrants to win the 2001 WSOP Main Event. His win earned him a big $1.5 million payday and title of the world’s best.
Carlos was able to secure himself another bracelet in 2003 in the $5,000 Limit Hold’em event. As the first and only ever Hispanic player to win the Main Event, Mortensen completed another first in the poker world when he won the WPT Championship in 2004. This win made him the first player to win both the WSOP Main Event and the WPT Championship.
With over $8.5 million in tournament winnings, most consider Mortensen to be the last true professional to win the WSOP Main Event. The following years after his win have all seen amateur players take home the most coveted gold bracelet of them all.