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New Jersey now has its hero. Matt Mendez has managed to notch up a golden bracelet at the World Series of Poker in the summer, becoming the first resident of the state who has achieved this. We take a look at what led up to his victory.

Matt Mendez, aged 28, is a dedicated poker player, one who may not have won much in his career, but who has definitely displayed the making qualities of a professional. He’s been actively involved with the circuit and his winnings have amounted to several hundred thousand dollars. With relatively few titles under his belt, Mendez is still a known face on the poker scene.

Much has occasioned Mendez partial appearance in the world of poker. He’s both a full-time husband and a stay-at-home father, which has narrowed down the scope of any future poker endeavors he may undertake – both in terms of logistics and, of course, finances

Dad’s Going to be Back

His responsibilities to his family did not keep Mendez from participating in the $565 Pot-Limit Omaha 6-Handed event in New Jersey last weekend. Mendez managed to score a respectable victory and bagged $135,000 in the process.

Playing from home, he has effectively transformed himself into the first player to win such an event outside Nevada, which is also a great harbinger of what may follow next for players across the United States, i.e. the liberalization of the market.

Mendez battled it out all throughout the competition, achieving victory in Event No. 47, which is the second of a total of four WSOP events that feature the bracelets. Rest assured that Mendez did not have an easy run at it either. He had to overcome fierce competition, which consisted of 657 players. But even then, there were additional 566 re-entries, which put the total tally at 1,223 participants.

Blasting his through the comeptition has been a tall order and one that definitely needed Mendez’s full dedication. The final 99 players all shared a piece of the $635,960 pot. The final six players seemed to bag the most significant sums from the competition:

  1. Matt “mendey” Mendez – $135,077
  2. Marton “GS.GURU” Czuczor – $82,865
  3. Anthony “heheh” Zinno: $57,299
  4. Alex “3shotwonder” Smith – $40,256
  5. Ankush “rickrosstheb” Mandavia – $28,745
  6. Ao “Maimai1990” Chen – $20,859

The Big Regulatory Upheaval

It’s been a watershed event for New Jersey, indeed. Legislation is still changing, and in April, Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada were all allowed to combine their player pools in order to increase the sums that can be paid out as prizes.

Mendez was not alone joining the Nevada pow-wow. He participated along with 107 of his fellow players from NJ. However, the important thing here is that none of the 107 NJ participants would have been allowed in if the restrictions between states were still intact.

With this in mind, the liberalization of the market is now helping create a climate where merit, not location, matters. As the best players flock to claim the most respectable titles and accolades, so is the industry making a stronger push for a legal carte blanche.