The country of Argentina has turned out many a poker player, but until this year, no one from the nation could claim a World Championship of Online Poker bracelet. That changed in the very first event of this year's festival when Ezequiel "ezepoker90" Vazquez won the $215 NLHE Six-Max event on Monday.
"Being the first Argentine WCOOP winner, it's something that won't happen again," Vazquez mused as it he took it all in. "Some others will win from now on, but I will always be the first one, and I'm very proud of it."
As you consider Vazquez's role as Argentina's only WCOOP bracelet-winner, you should also consider this: just a month ago, he had next to no online bankroll. Just a few weeks ago, he had $50 in his account. Today, he has more than $189,000.
"It's the most important thing that happened in my life up to date," he said, "and it will change my life forever."
Vazquez, 22, comes from the city of Miramar on the east coast of Argentina, a surfing city of 30,000. He's spent his entire life there, and at age 18 thought he might become an accountant. He quickly figured out it wasn't the profession he hoped it would be. He quit his studies and focused on poker. It wasn't a popular plan in the Vazquez home.
"I thought that poker could be my livelihood, although it would be hard for my family to accept it," he said.
What's more, he didn't have a bankroll to support his efforts. Still, he buckled down and worked at getting better. Then came the 2012 WCOOP, and a victory that has turned his life upside down in the best possible way.
"This win is really life-changing, and I think after this my family will accept it," he said. "I can...make a living."
Indeed, this is heady time for the young man. Though he's lived his whole life in the same seaside city, he's in a different place now. He has more money than he's ever known, and he doesn't have a clue what he's going to do with it. That aside, he knows one thing: he's happy.
"People are constantly looking for happiness in their lives," he said. "I'm really young but very proud that I can say I already found it on the poker tables."
Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging