Poker Coverage: Poker Legislation Poker Tournaments U.S. Poker Markets

Adrian Mateos Wins 2017 Card Player Player of the Year Award

23-Year-Old Spanish Poker Pro Is The First European To Ever Win The POY Race


Adrian Mateos only sat atop this year’s Card Player Player of the Year standings for a mere 14 days. Luckily for the 23-year-old poker pro from Madrid, Spain, those two weeks were the final ones of the year. That means that Mateos has won the 2017 Card Player Player of the Year award, overtaking America’s Bryn Kenney down the stretch to become the first European player to ever win the prestigious honor. Kenney had occupied the first-place spot in the POY rankings, which were presented this year by The Commerce Hotel & Casino, since April, but Mateos put together an incredible come-from-behind effort that saw him make 10 final tables in the last three months of the year, with five final-table scores notched in the first two weeks of December alone.

Mateos ended 2017 with 22 total POY-qualified final table scores and four titles won, including his third World Series of Poker gold bracelet. That win was of particular note because it saw Mateos, who was 22 at the time, write his name in the history books as the youngest player ever to win three bracelets at the series.

2017 Card Player Player of the Year Adrian MateosDespite his young age, Mateos is hardly a rookie on the live circuit. Coming into the year he was already a two-time bracelet winner and a European Poker Tour main event champion. With that said, 2017 was definitely the year he established himself as a dominant no-limit hold’em tournament player, finding success in both the biggest buy-in super high rollers as well as $5,000 and $10,000 buy-in tournaments with larger fields.

Mateos ended 2017 with 7,220 total points and $5,664,635 in earnings. He now has lifetime live tournament earnings of more than $12.1 million, putting him in first place on the Spanish all-time money list ahead of Poker Hall of Fame member Carlos Mortensen, who has $11.9 million in career cashes.

Mateos began his 2017 campaign somewhat slowly. His first final-table score of the year was a fourth-place showing in a $2,140 preliminary no-limit hold’em six-max event at the L.A. Poker Classic at The Commerce Hotel & Casino. Less than a week later he followed that score with a runner-up showing in a $25,000 buy-in high roller at Aria in Las Vegas.

Mateos notched two more second-place finishes in March, first in a $10,300 no-limit hold’em side event at the PokerStars Championship Panama and then in the $50,000 super high roller at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown.

Mateos wins €50k high roller at the PSC Monte CarloMateos’ year really got going in April, when he defeated a field of 64 entries to win the €50,000 buy-in super high roller at the PokerStars Championship Monte Carlo. Mateos was awarded 612 POY points and €908,000 ($989,720 USD) for taking down his first title of the year, climbing just outside of the top 20 in the POY standings after coming out on top.

As the World Series of Poker loomed in the near future, Mateos kicked things into gear and made four final tables in a two-week span in Las Vegas. He began with a spree at the Aria Poker Room, where he started by finishing second in a $10,500 high roller and then four days later placed seventh in a $100,000 buy-in super high roller for $264,600. Three days after that he was a runner-up again, adding $293,340 to his earnings for a deep run in a $50,000 high roller. Mateos finished off the warm-up for the WSOP with a ninth-place showing in the $10,00 no-limit hold’em eight-max event at the Venetian DeepStack Extravaganza III.

Mateos hoists his third WSOP gold braceletMateos only made one POY-qualified score at the series, but he made the most of it by winning the WSOP $10,000 heads-up no-limit hold’em championship event, defeating a field of 129 entries to win $336,656 and 660 POY points. As previously mentioned, this was his third WSOP title, setting the record as the youngest player to ever win so many bracelets. His previous two wins came when he had won the 2013 WSOP Europe main event for $1,379,300 and the 2016 WSOP “Summer Solstice” $1,500 no-limit hold’em event for $409,171.

It was over two months between Mateos’ win at the Rio and his next final-table finish. He placed seventh in a €25,500 buy-in high roller at the PokerStars Championship Barcelona for $144,078 and 210 points. At this point Mateos was inside the top 15 of the POY standings, within reach of the top of the leader board.

Mateos kept afloat during September by making final tables in two $50,000 high roller events at the inaugural running of the Poker Masters event, a series of high roller tournaments that awarded a purple jacket to the best overall performer. Mateos finished seventh in one event and sixth in another, adding $277,500 and 298 POY points to his totals on the year.

As the POY race entered its final quarter Mateos began to pick up the pace. From Oct. 20 through Dec. 13, Mateos made 10 final tables, winning two titles and cashing for $2,568,814 along the way. This sprint to the finish line began with Mateos placing fourth in the $1,000,000 HKD ($128,150 USD) buy-in Triton Super High Roller Macau for $903,500 and 480 points.

Mateos emerges victorious in MacauLater that week, he placed sixth in the $300,000 HKD ($38,442 USD) high roller at the Asia Championship of Poker for another $154,700 and 168 points. Mateos closed out his dominant performance in Macau by winning the ACOP $80,000 HKD ($10,251) event for $302,250 and 660 points.

In November, Mateos headed to the Dominican Republic for the Caribbean Poker Party festival put on by PartyPoker LIVE. In a five-day span he finished fourth in the $25,00 high roller there for $110,000 and 210 points and then turned around and defeated a field of 215 entries to win the $5,000 buy-in, $1,000,000 guaranteed eight-max event for $250,000 and 720 points. This was enough to see him move into second place in the Player of the Year race standings.

Mateos proved to be a closer in December. He began his final push by making three final tables in one week at the Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Bellagio in Las Vegas. He finished third in a $25,000 high roller for $156,000 and 280 points and then added another $58,818 and 288 the very next day by placing fourth in a $5,200 side event. Five days after that he managed another third-place run in a $25,000 high roller for $185,500 and 280 points.

Mateos’ run at the PokerStars Championship Prague in mid-December was what finally catapulted him into the top spot on the POY leaderboard. He finished third in the €50,000 super high roller for $288,982 and 340 points. The very next day he placed fourth in the €25,500 high roller for $159,064 and 210 points. With that, his 22nd final table of the year, Mateos finally climbed into the outright lead with just over two weeks remaining in the year.

Mateos at the 2017 WSOPEarlier in the year Mateos spoke to Card Player and shared his thoughts on the modern tournament world and how hard it is to stay on top.

“I have to play study every day if I want to be at the top. I don’t know if I can be a top player for even a year, let alone the next ten years. I just focus on today and tomorrow. I think it is incredibly difficult to reach the highest level in any sport or game, so I’m just going to do my best and focus every day,” said Mateos.

Mateos’ best was the very best there was this year, and the focus he referenced certainly paid off in a major way. At just 23 years old, Adrian Mateos is the winner of the 2017 Card Player Player of the Year, the first European player to ever achieve that feat. It will be exciting to see what else this promising young star will accomplish in the years to come.

Adrian Mateos’ 2017 POY-Qualified Scores

Date Event Buy-In (USD) Place Earnings (USD) POY Points
Feb 27, ’17 L.A. Poker Classic $2,140 NLH $2,140 4 $18,510 144
Mar 03, ’17 Aria High Roller NLH $25,000 2 $186,000 350
Mar 20, ’17 PokerStars Championship Panama $10,300 NLH $10,300 2 $69,260 200
Mar 30, ’17 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Super High Roller $50,000 2 $413,567 340
Apr 30, ’17 PokerStars Championship Monte Carlo Super High Roller $54,526 1 $989,720 612
May 23, ’17 Ariah High Roller NLH $10,500 2 $75,000 250
May 27, ’17 Ariah High Roller NLH $100,000 7 $264,600 150
May 30, ’17 Ariah High Roller NLH $50,000 2 $293,340 340
Jun 05, ’17 Venetian DeepStack Extravaganza III NLH $9,725 9 $27,590 30
Jun 09, ’17 WSOP NLH Heads-Up Championship $10,000 1 $336,656 660
Aug 22, ’17 PokerStars Championship Barcelona Super High Roller $30,086 7 $144,078 210
Sep 14, ’17 Poker Master High Roller $50,000 7 $127,500 128
Sep 15, ’17 Poker Master High Roller $50,000 6 $150,000 170
Oct 20, ’17 Triton Super High Roller Series Macau $128,150 4 $903,500 480
Oct 24, ’17 Asia Championship of Poker Super High Roller $38,442 6 $154,700 168
Oct 28, ’17 Asia Championship of Poker High Roller $10,251 1 $302,250 660
Nov 21, ’17 Caribbean Poker Party High Roller $25,000 4 $110,000 210
Nov 25, ’17 Caribbean Poker Party MILLIONS $5,000 1 $250,000 720
Dec 03, ’17 Five Diamond World Poker Classic High Roller $25,000 3 $156,000 280
Dec 04, ’17 Five Diamond World Poker Classic $5,200 NLH $5,000 4 $58,818 288
Dec 09, ’17 Five Diamond World Poker Classic High Roller $25,000 3 $185,500 280
Dec 12, ’17 PokerStars Championship Prague Super High Roller $58,611 3 $288,982 340
Dec 13, ’17 PokerStars Championship Prague High Roller $30,021 4 $159,064 210

Here is a look at the final top 20 standings in the 2017 POY Race:

Rank Player POY Points Earnings
1 Adrian Mateos 7,220 $5,664,635
2 Bryn Kenney 7,173 $8,201,128
3 Fedor Holz 5,875 $6,367,213
4 Koray Aldemir 5,510 $4,105,519
5 Justin Bonomo 5,144 $4,362,250
6 David Peters 5,034 $3,139,160
7 Stephen Chidwick 4,912 $3,451,860
8 Jason Koon 4,859 $3,835,191
9 Steffen Sontheimer 4,782 $6,812,332
10 Benjamin Pollak 4,660 $4,931,902
11 Mikita Badziakouski 4,579 $4,558,290
12 Rainer Kempe 4,559 $3,002,132
13 Dan Smith 4,449 $4,031,694
14 Ari Engel 4,405 $768,353
15 Jake Schindler 4,396 $6,000,021
16 Darren Elias 4,290 $1,169,729
17 Raffaele Sorrentino 4,224 $1,621,325
18 Cary Katz 4,083 $1,840,961
19 Alex Foxen 4,025 $1,520,713
20 Steve O’Dwyer 3,983 $4,147,919

Card Player Player of the Year Winners:

Year Player Name
1997 Men Nguyen
1998 T.J. Cloutier
1999 Tony Ma
2000 David Pham
2001 Men Nguyen
2002 T.J. Cloutier
2003 Men Nguyen
2004 Daniel Negreanu
2005 Men Nguyen
2006 Michael Mizrachi
2007 David Pham
2008 John Phan
2009 Eric Baldwin
2010 Tom Marchese
2011 Ben Lamb
2012 Greg Merson
2013 Daniel Negreanu
2014 Daniel Colman
2015 Anthony Zinno
2016 David Peters
2017 Adrian Mateos