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At the rate Pablo Mariz is going, he may never leave Vegas.
The Montreal native originally planned to go to Vegas for the first week of June but Mariz and his friend David Guay promptly finished runner-up in the $1k Tag Team event for $46k each. They quickly extended their trip by another week.
Now Mariz is on the verge of running over the final table of the $1,500 buy-in Millionaire Maker and taking down the $1.2m first-place prize, which amounts to a staggering $1.59m in Canadian currency.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Mariz about his situation.
“I’ve always dreamed about this. I’ve been coming here for six years and thinking about this.”
Scorching Start to 2017 WSOP
There are very few players who have had the sheer amount of success that Mariz has had at the WSOP in a little over a week of play. So far Mariz is a perfect 4-4 in the events he’s played with two final table appearances.
“I’m pretty sure that’s on pace for a record,” he said. “I’m going to keep doing my thing.”
The WSOP always draws people from around the world and you might assume Mariz is part of the large contingent of South American players but he’s actually from quite a bit farther north.
“My father is from Uruguay and my mother is from Brazil,” he said.
“That’s why my name is Pablo Mariz. Hernandez is actually my second last name.”
The 27-year-old has been playing poker for a little over a decade but this is the first time he’s had success like this.
“Like most of us I got into the game in high school,” he said.
“Just playing $20 Sit & Go’s on Fridays. When I got to University I just grinded low and mid-stakes cash games mostly. Every year I come here I come here for the chance to win some life-changing money. Maybe today is the day.”
Mariz got his Bachelors Degree in Business Administration and Finance from L’Université du Québec à Montréal (UCAM) but has yet to put the degree to use.
“I didn’t really look for a job because I was mostly grinding online,” he said.
Vegas an Impromptu Trip for Hockey Fan Mariz
Mariz has started to look more seriously for a job in the last couple years but he couldn’t turn down a chance to go to the WSOP with his friends.
“I put off the job hunting for a little while,” said Mariz.
He’s been on fire in the Millionaire Maker, which always offers a guaranteed $1m first-place prize, and had over 1/3 of the chips in play to start the final day of the contest with just 11 players left.
You’d assume Mariz would be a die-hard Montreal Canadiens fan since he hails from Montreal but he was actually wearing a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey yesterday.
Today Mariz showed up wearing a Montreal Canadians shirt, which just confused matters even more.
“I’m not a fan of just the Montreal Canadiens, I’m a fan of hockey,” he explained.
“So every time I see a team that is doing well or doing something I like I tend to buy a shirt or something. I probably have like 30 hockey shirts at home. I mostly follow the players I draft in my fantasy pools.”
Mariz was particularly critical of the PK Subban trade and said he thinks the Leafs are in a much better place than Montreal right now.
“Mitch Marner right now is one of my favorite players,” he said.
“I love what the Leafs are doing. I think they are going to win a cup before Montreal does.”
At this rate Mariz has a much better chance at collecting some hardware at the WSOP than either team has at winning a Stanley Cup.