With a return of live poker hopefully on the cards, PokerNews wants to make sure that you are up to date on what players could be making a splash in events and tours during 2022. Over the next couple of months, we’ll be taking a close look at which poker players we should be looking out for!
Spaniards tend to be very passionate about everything the do, from the soccer teams they support to playing poker. The online poker scene in Spain is far from ideal for Spanish grinders, which is why many of the best Spanish poker players left for landlocked microstate of Andorra, or to the United Kingdom where they could continue plying their trade.
We picked the brains of well-respected Spanish poker journalist Alex Hernando and asked him for five Spanish poker players to watch out for during 2022.
Unsurprisingly, Adrian Mateos was the first name down on Hernando’s list. Mateos has an incredible $25,214,185 in live poker tournament winnings, placing him at the top of Spain’s all-time money listing, according to our friends at The Hendon Mob. Mateos reached this massive total by winning four World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets; he won his first three by the age of 22, making him the youngest three-time WSOP champion ever.
The latest addition to Mateos’ bracelet collection came at the 2021 WSOP. He took down the 82nd event, which happened to be the $250,000 No-Limit Hold’em Super High Roller. His reward for outlasting 33 entrants? A career-best $3,265,362.
Hernando informed PokerNews that he knows Mateos is hungry for more bracelets. Do not bet against him adding to his poker jewelry stash when the 2022 WSOP takes place at its new Las Vegas home.
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Juan Pardo Dominguez is one of the most respected poker players in the Spanish community, one who has some superb live events to go with a plethora of impressive online poker performances.
Pardo already has a glowing reputation before his epic run at the 2019 European Poker Tour (EPT) Barcelona festival. Pardo won a €25,000 No-Limit Hold’em Single Day High Roller for €491,600 and followed that up by triumphing in the €50,000 High Roller for an additional €1,013,860 a day later. Not done there, Pardo then finished fourth in another €25,000 single day event for €259,240.
Online, Pardo is known as “Malaka$tyle” at PokerStars but ended 2021 with almost $1 million across two cashes playing under his actual name. Pardo was the partypoker MILLIONS Online runner-up, which came with a $591,687 score, then he walked away with $431,319 on Boxing Day after winning a $25,500 Super High Roller at GGPoker.
Pardo is “one of the end bosses in the high stakes scene at this moment”, says Hernando.
Success seems to come naturally to Sergi Reixach who has long been a massive winning in the online poker world. Reixach used to rip up the high stakes sit & go scene before turning his attention to multi-table tournaments.
Reixach gained a reputation for being a superb tournament player, but that one big score always seemed to elude him. However, all that changed in 2018 when he became the EPT Barcelona €100,000 Super High Roller champion, an accolade that came with €1,816,210. The bankroll boost was welcome, but it gave Reiach something else, according to Hernando.
“He did not win just a million euros, but the confidence he was missing.”
Full of confidence and with a bankroll large enough to sustain the swings, Reixach began grinding the highest stakes online events in addition to high buy-in live tournaments. Almost all his recent live results are in $10,000 buy-ins or more in the United States, where he has become a regular in the PokerGO Studio for their events.
Ramon Colillas was an unknown quantity until the PokerStars Players Championship in 2019 propelled him into the limelight. Colillas came out on top of a star-studded field to scoop the $5,100,000 top prize. He continued playing throughout 2019 before taking a break from the live poker world throughout 2020, partly because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the live break seemed to do Colillas’ game the world of good because 2021 ended with a bang. First, Colillas finished 14th in the WSOP Main Event, becoming the last Spaniard standing; that result came with $380,050. He then narrowly missed out on a WSOP bracelet, finishing fourth in a $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em event for $158,972, the very last WSOP tournament held at the Rio.
Colillas has enjoyed some online success, too. He finished second to Sweden’s “WhatIfGod” in the recent EPT Online Main Event, which came with $276,741 in prize money.
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Vicente Delgado is a former PokerStars Team Online player who Hernando says is “one of the most respected players in Spain because of his deep knowledge game theory, high level skill on cash games and MTT, and an ability to play ultra high volume of tables online.”
Delgado has not been active on the live poker scene for a while, but has been racking up tournament results online. Head to the highest stakes cash games at GGPoker and PokerStars during the week and you will usually find Delgado there making a real nuisance of himself.