Online Poker Tournaments

Being The Aggressor with Carlos Mortensen

Born in Ecuador, Carlos Mortensen moved to Spain at age 15. It's ironic that he has become a professional player: For many years, he lived in a country where poker was illegal.

Moving to Las Vegas to further his poker career, he has gone on to become one of the biggest names in the game.

Question: How do you become the big stack at the table? Do you wait for big hands, or do you bluff a lot and try to pick up the pot?

Answer: It depends on how the table is working at the time. Sometimes the table is too tight; sometimes it's too loose. It just depends, it depends who is playing and on a lot of things.

Question: Once you are the big stack, do you play aggressive and maintain the chip lead, or do you play conservatively?

Answer: I try to play aggressive because it is the best moment to do so. I play aggressive with the chips against the short stack, especially.

Question: What if you are on the bubble? Do you change your style of play?

Answer: Not really. The last two tournaments, I finished in the bubble. They paid 27 places, and I finished 28th. I play for first place. That is the only prize I like to see. Maybe the first three places, that is where the real money is. But I like to play for first place.

Question: And you think the only way to get there is to play aggressive and not just hang on?

Answer: I try to use that advantage on other players. If one more player has to go out to make the money, they fold a lot of hands. They just want to make it to the money, so that is one advantage, and you can get something out of it. If the player is weak, you just take advantage.

Question: How do you play on the bubble? Do you get aggressive and force people to make decisions?

Answer: The last two times I did that, it didn't work! I can't say that I am very good at that. I keep finishing in the bubble. I like to play for first place, and if I see an advantage there, I just do it. The difference is that I can make $4,000 or $7,000, but first place, maybe one million. Maybe I'm short stack, and I don't play a hand. Yeah, I can win $10,000, but I don't have a chance to go on in the tournament and make more. You have to make a decision. It's part of the game, but that is my opinion.

Question: Is the beginning of a tournament the best time to act aggressive, because people play tight early on?

Answer: At the beginning of a tournament, I try both. Sometimes I play aggressive, and it works very well when I catch some cards. Everybody's in the same situation where they are not tired, they are ready to go, everybody is fresh. They are players, too. They can play good. There are two different ways to do it: One is playing aggressive all the time, from the beginning, and then if it works, you can make a lot of chips, but you have more ways to lose your chips, too. The other way is to play very passive, you know, getting respect from the table. I think that is the best way to play. Getting the respect from the table, don't play just any hand. Once the blinds go up, you can try to steal a pot, take the blinds with any hand, and it's going to work but if you are playing every hand, nothing.

Carlos has two World Series bracelets and is constantly gunning for another. He also has a WPT first-place finish from the Doyle Brunson Tournament in 2004.

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