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Found 2 results

  1. [caption width="640"] Matt Mendez was overcome with emotion last year after winning The Big Stax XV High Roller only a month after the birth of his daughter. (Parx photo)[/caption] Winning poker tournaments can have a contagious effect. Just ask Fedor Holz. There may be no pure way to prove that “momentum” exists in poker but there is an empirical effect of confidence that some players will attest becomes apparent when they put together multiple deep runs. Matt 'MattEMenz' Mendez is one of the believers and pulled off an amazing run last year that spanned two casinos with Mendez ending up $313,000 richer in the process. He wrapped up the Parx Big Stax XV series in February with a win in the $2,500 High Roller event, beating a field of 193 of the toughest tournament players in the Northeast. After making a heads up deal with Nicholas Gerrity to take first place and lock up $100,000, Mendez was overcome with emotion that was heightened with the recent birth of his daughter, Mathai. “Winning the first tournament at Parx changed my life drastically. Before I could even take the winner’s photo, I had to go take a walk and gather my thoughts and feelings and call my wife," said Mendez. "My daughter was only a month old at the time, but since meeting her I've had a hard time controlling my emotions. When I called my wife I was just crying hysterically in a way that I can't remember doing before. That's a feeling in poker that I can't imagine ever having again and I think about it all the time.” Fatherhood is something Mendez takes seriously and is prideful about. The 27-year-old grew up without a father and was without his mother after the age of 13. He credits his aunt and uncle for molding him into the person he is today and says that being a father is something he’s always wanted from life. “Mathai is special to me. The joy I get from being a father makes every part of my life's journey worth it. My main mission in life is to shower her with all the love I have while also helping to develop her into a strong, happy, healthy, free-thinking woman that no matter what has always felt loved.” Mendez followed up his victory at Parx with a victory two months later in an event relatively the opposite of the Parx High Roller. The Borgata Spring Poker Open $1,000,000 guaranteed Event #1 drew a field of 2,527 and when the dust settled, Mendez was there once again in the winner’s circle. This time, Mendez earned $213,000 for his win and felt a new set of emotions when playing for another title. “Winning the second tournament at Borgata, I felt prepared and ready to win. A weird sense of calm that I can't really explain. I was just in the moment and trusted my gut," said Mendez. "I study a lot of different games and playing styles, so when playing, I'm comfortable in trusting in my gut when my immediate thoughts have mixed feelings on how to approach different scenarios.” While he does put in more volume live than online, Mendez says he likes to play the higher guaranteed events that run. Last month, Mendez capped off the PokerStarsNJ Winter Series by winning the $400 buy-in Main Event for almost $21,000. Mendez and his wife, Victoria, are both stay-at-home parents and take great care in raising their daughter. “As I've evolved and eventually had a child, I've realized they don't care what you do for a living they just notice the time spent together so I've cared less about my financial goals and more about quality time. My wife and I take Mathai to the mall regularly and we also go to a baby gym class once a week. [We] are basically living our dreams of being stay-at-home parents while also having our own jobs that allow us to have flexible schedules. ” Mendez thanks Victoria for all the support she has given him from the time the first met and Mathai for “showing me a level of love that I wasn't sure was possible.” The success Mendez achieved last year was a humbling experience for him given all the new variables in his life at that point. Nearly a year removed, Mendez is still grateful for his victories and considers himself blessed to have the life he does and be able to be an integral part in Mathai's upbringing. “Everyday I'm thankful that I'm good enough at a card game to be able to spend the amount of time I do with her.”
  2. The highlight of the final day of the 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure might have been the final table of the Main Event, but on one of the outer tables, Martin Zamani was putting on a show of his own in the $25,000 High Roller event. Zamani beat out a final table that included Thomas Muehlocker, Sean Winter and Dominik Nitsche to pick up $895,110 and just the second win of his career. Following Sam Greenwood's elimination in ninth place, the official final table was ready for action. It took just 10 minutes for a short-stacked Davidi Kitai to find a hand to attempt to double up with. Thomas Muehlocker raised to 45,000 from middle position before Kitai moved all in for 165,000. Muehlocker called and showed [poker card="jd"][poker card="td"] which put him well behind Kitai's [poker card="qd"][poker card="qc"]. The [poker card="kd"][poker card="ts"][poker card="8c"] flop was a safe one for Kitai as was the [poker card="5c"] turn. The [poker card="js"] river, however, gave Muehlocker two pair and sent Kitai to the rail in 8th place. Five minutes later, Sean Winter joined him in the payouts line. Winter raised to 100,000 from middle position, Tom-Aksel Bedell called from the cutoff before Zamani re-raised to 280,000 from the button. Winter called all in, Bedell also moved all in forcing Zamani to fold. Bedell tabled [poker card="ac"][poker card="ah"] while Winter showed {as][poker card="th"]. The [poker card="kc"][poker card="4s"][poker card="3h"] flop changed nothing and after the [poker card="4c"] turn, Winter could only collect his things and watch the meaningless [poker card="9d"] hit the river to confirm his seventh place finish. The pace of play took a significant hit as six-handed play continued for 2.5 hours before the next elimination occurred. Nitsche raised from the button to 60,000 and Gianluca Speranza called from the big blind. After the [poker card="qh"][poker card="3h"][poker card="2s"] flop, Speranza check-raised Nitsche from 50,000 to 185,000 and Nitsche called. The turn was the [poker card="5s"] and Speranza bet 220,000 and Nitsche called. Speranza then moved all in after the [poker card="6c"] and Nitsche called and showed [poker card="6d"][poker card="4d"] for a six-high stright while Speranza tabled [poker card="qs"][poker card="5h"] for two pair. Just 15 minutes later, two more players were sent to the rail. Markus Durnegger moved all in from the button, Bedell moved all in over the top for 1,625,0000 and Zamani called from the big blind. Durnegger showed [poker card="5c"][poker card="5s"], Bedell had [poker card="ah"][poker card="9h"] and Zamani was well ahead with [poker card="qc"][poker card="qs"]. The board ran out [poker card="8d"][poker card="3c"][poker card="2s"][poker card="js"][poker card="8s"] to give Zamani the pot and eliminate Durnegger in fifth and Bedell in fourth. A little over an hour later, Muehloecker's run was cut short. Nitsche folded the button, Muehlocker completed from the small blind before Zamani raised to 250,000 from the big blind. Muehloecker responded by moving all for 1,055,000 and Zamani called. Zamani had [poker card="ah"][poker card="8s"] while Muehloecker tabled [poker card="ks"][poker card="ts"]. The [poker card="6s"][poker card="3c"][poker card="3h"] flop was no help for Muehloecker and neither was the [poker card="9c"] turn or [poker card="8c"] river and Muehloecker was out in third. Heads-up play began with Zamani holding a 2.5-1 chip lead over Nitsche and it took just 20 minutes for Zamani to have all the chips. After Nitsche limped his button, Zamani raised to 360,000 and Nitsche called. The flop came [poker card="ac"][poker card="td"][poker card="7h"]. Zamani bet 300,000 and Nitsche called. The turn was the [poker card="9d"] and this time Zamani bet 2,000,000 and Nitsche called all in. Zamani showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="7d"] for two pair and Nitsche tabled [poker card="js"][poker card="9s"] for a pair and a gutshot straight draw. The river was the [poker card="2h"], completely missing Nitsche and eliminating him in second place and giving Zamani the first six-figure score of his career. Final Table Payouts Martin Zamani - $895,110 Dominik Nitsche - $606,360 Thomas Muehloecker - $404,240 Tom-Aksel Bedell - $331,100 Markus Durnegger - $265,640 Gianluca Speranza - $205,980 Sean Winter - $152,460 Davidi Kitai - $112,040

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