Carlos Mortensen wins 1st Prize - 2001 World Series of Poker
by Greg Cavouras  

A record 613 entries turned out to Binion’s Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada for the 2001 World Series of Poker. After many long hours of poker, the dust had settled and the Poker world had a new king. Longshot Spaniard Carlos Mortensen beat the odds as well as a slew of top professionals to take home the 2001 World Series of Poker in the marquee event, $10,000 No Limit Texas Hold’em.

Mortensen played an aggressive and fearless game to take title, but he also had lady luck on his side; his victory hand, which was followed by a fist pumping celebration, saw him catch a 9 on the river to make a 9-K straight, outdrawing Dewey Tomko’s favoured Pocket Rockets. Despite this lucky break, the outlandish Spaniard richly deserved his victory, as he played an incredible tournament, often calling out some of the best bluffers in the business, while delivering a few of his own along the way. One that stands out is his devastating bluff on Mike Matusow; with the action six-handed at the final table, Matusow made it 60,000 to go, pre-flop. Mortensen saw the opportunity and came over the top at $150,000. Matusow came back and tried to steamroll Mortensen with a $350,000 bet. With the trap baited, Carlos came back with an all-in that would have eliminated Matusow had he lost; sure enough Mortensen came back with an all in. Matusow begrudgingly laid down his hand, only to see Carlos turn over a Q-8 unsuited.

From there on, Mortensen marched confidently into the record books, and was crowned the World Champion of 2001 taking home a nice $1.5 million dollar payday for his troubles. Carlos’s exciting play was culminated with a classic poker draw out on the last hand, when his K-Q suited had flush and straight draws but no chance of overpairing the Aces he was up against. The crowd sat in suspense, and when the 9 came on the River, Carlos had hit one of his many outs to take the title.

While this was the feature event, many other champions were crowned, and Scotty “Win” Nguyen and Nani Dollison each won two events. Perhaps the most impressive overall performance belongs to Phil Hellmuth, who won the $2000 No-Limit Hold’em championship, and in the end had placed no lower than 15th in SEVEN different events! Despite coming up short in the feature event, Phil confirmed his status as a true master, displaying versatility as a threat at any table.

With record attendance and a total prize pool of over $6 million, it’s safe to say this event was a resounding success, providing exciting poker action and crowning some very worthy champions.

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