Each summer, there are events that draw the eye of the best players in the world. Big buy-in, prestigious events, where sometimes the bracelet is more meaningful than the actual prize money at stake. To each, the list of events on that list could differ but the $10,000 Heads-Up Championship is likely on everyone’s list.
The $10,000 Heads-Up Championship regularly draws a star-studded cast and this year was no different. Former WSOP Main Event champions, multiple bracelet winners and High Rollers from around the globe started in a 128-man bracket and by Day 3, just four players remained.
That Final Four couldn’t have been more diverse. Ryan Riess, one of those former Main Event winners, was in the mix, along with fan favorite John Smith, who finished as this event’s runner-up in 2016. They squared off in the first semi-final, with a European pairing, Charlie Carrel and Adrian Mateos, dueling in the other.
In the end, Smith and Mateos would square off in the championship of the $10,000 Heads-Up Championship and the young Spaniard would make Smith settle for another silver medal, while he claimed $336,656 and hoisted his third WSOP gold bracelet.
“It feels good for sure. It is pretty hard to win three bracelets and I have, I’m pretty happy.” Mateos said after taking his winner’s photo, before commenting on the event itself. “This is a special event. It’s an event I really want to play, I really like to play heads-up. It’s very fun.”
When Mateos has gotten heads-up in WSOP events, he has not disappointed and has never lost. In 2013, at the age of 19, he won the WSOP Europe Main Event for €1,000,000 and last summer, he bested Koray Aldemir heads-up for the $1,500 Summer Solstice bracelet, his first on US soil.
Now, 22-years-old, Mateos has a third WSOP bracelet and is living a dream many around the world share.
“It was always a dream, I used to watch all the World Series final tables.” Mateos said, before later adding, “I know it is insane. I know it is really difficult to win bracelets but I try to play my best every day and that is all.”
Over the last few years, that is all Mateos has done. He has amassed over $8 million in career earnings and has quickly solidified himself as one of the best young players in the world. The only question left, where does Adrian Mateos go from here?
Immediately from the main stage, Mateos is likely going enjoy the night with his Spanish comrades that made up a rowdy rail. Looking further ahead, when asked how many bracelets he wants to win before his career is done, he simply replied, “Infinite.”
That concludes Poker Central’s coverage of the $10,000 Heads-Up Championship. Relive all the action with live event replays on PokerGO and watch exclusive WSOP final table streams, including tomorrow’s $1,500 No Limit Hold’em 6-Handed final table.