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New Jersey poker pro earns first WSOP bracelet

25 Jun 2018

Name: Matthew Mendez
Nationality: American
Birthplace: Wellington, FL
Current Residence: Sicklerville, NJ
Age: 29
Profession: Professional poker player
Number of WSOP Cashes: 4
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances: 1
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories (with this tournament): 1
Best Previous WSOP Finish: 8th in 2015 $1,500 Razz for $13,902
Total WSOP Earnings: $165,604

As the sun was coming up over the Las Vegas skyline, Matthew ‘mendey’ Mendez completed an epic comeback in the $565 online pot-limit Omaha six-max event.

Facing a massive chip deficit against Marton ‘GS.GURU’ Czuczor, Mendez turned it around and won his first World Series of Poker bracelet in the second of four online events this summer. He came out on top of a field of 657 players with 566 re-entries to earn $135,077.

With his win on Saturday morning, Mendez might have made WSOP history. Mendez is originally from Florida, but recently moved north to New Jersey. He’s a regular in the Atlantic City and Philadelphia poker rooms and hasn’t had a live cash this summer in Las Vegas yet.

If Mendez won the event while playing from the comfort of his New Jersey home, this would be the first time that a WSOP open event awarded a bracelet to someone playing outside of Las Vegas.

This was Mendez’s second WSOP final table. Even though he is primarily a big-bet player, his first final table came with an eighth-place finish in the 2015 $1,500 Razz.

The event started at 3:30 p.m. on Friday and after more than 12 hours of play, the field was trimmed down to its final six players. At the outset of the final table, it was Czuczor leading the way with a massive chip lead.

The chips started flying from the moment cards got in the air, with Ankush ‘rickrosstheb’ Mandavia doubling through Ao ‘Maimai1990’ Chen.

The two got all in on a queen-high flop with Mandavia tabling top set and was up against Chen’s nut king-high flush draw. Mandavia filled up and doubled up, which left Chen with less than two big blinds.

Chen busted a few hands later when he was all in preflop against Alex ‘3shotwonder’ Smith and Anthony ‘heheh’ Zinno. Smith made the nut flush and busted Chen in sixth.

Smith continued his ascent up the chip counts after flopping quads against Mendez. Mendez bet the river and Smith got in a sizable raise. Mendez called and muck, which put him into contention for the chip lead, just a couple big blinds behind Czuczor.

Smith would take the chip lead a few hands later but lost it after Zinno turned a straight against Smith’s trip queens.

While Smith was gaining chips, Mandavia was losing them. Over the course of several hands that didn’t go his way, Mandavia became the short stack and was whittled down to under five big blinds.

He doubled up once through Czuczor, but ultimately busted when he got all in preflop from the cutoff against Czuczor in the big blind for his last eight big blinds.

Mandavia was in the lead against Czuczor. The board ran out, which gave Czuczor top two pair and eliminated Mandavia in fifth.

Czuczor extended his lead with Mandavia’s knockout, and Mendez made a run into second after picking off a river bluff from Smith with a small flush.

After a few more hands that didn’t go his way, Smith was the official short stack with less than 10 big blinds. He fell in fourth place when he busted to Czuczor in the battle of the blinds when his hand couldn’t top Czuczor’s.

Smith’s bust which left Zinno as the clear short stack, with Mendez and Czuczor holding just over 16 million of the roughly 17.5 million chips in play.

During three-handed play, Czuczor dominated the table. Czuczor was winning pots off of both Zinno and Mendez, while Zinno was able to stay afloat by winning small pots off Mendez.

Czuczor then finished off Zinno in third. Czuczor raised on the button and Zinno defended his big blind. Zinno flopped top set against Czuczors open-ended straight draw. The turn was a brick, but the river gave Czuczor Broadway and Zinno busted just a few spots shy of his second bracelet.

Czuczor won the pot and started heads-up play with just shy of a 5-to-1 chip lead over Mendez.

That lead was promptly cut in half with a double up from Mendez. They got all in on a flop of 7c4c2h with Menez tabling a full wrap and a straight flush draw against Czuczor’s nut flush draw and a gutshot straight draw, which would’ve been no good if it got there.

The club came on the river, which looked good for Czuczor at first glance, but it gave Mendez a straight flush and a double up.

Mendez took the lead one of the next few hands when he turned the third nut flush and picked off a bluff against Czuczor who had the nut blocker in his hand.

After a few more small pots went in favor of Mendez, he all of a sudden had a better than 7-to-1 chip lead with Czuczor only sitting with 13 big blinds.

The two continued battling for about a level before Mendez flopped the nut straight to finish him off. They got the chips in the middle on the flop with Czuczor drawing to four outs to make Broadway. Czuczor didn’t improve and finished second for $82,865.

Complete results will be posted tomorrow when all the accounts can be linked to its appropriate player.

Final Table Results

1st: Matthew ‘mendey’ Mendez - $135,077
2nd: Marton ‘GS.GURU’ Czuczor - $82,865
3rd: Anthony ‘heheh’ Zinno - $57,299
4th: Alex ‘3shotwonder’ Smith - $40,256
5th: Ankush ‘rickrosstheb’ Mandavia - $28,745
6th: Ao ‘Maimai1990’ Chen - $20,859

(Article courtesy of World Series of Poker)
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