BODspotlightFinalThe BetOnDrew Spotlight looks to draw focus to poker players’ feats, attitudes, opinions, and more.  Read, enjoy, and find inspiration.  Feel free to email us if you or a friend deserves to have some spotlight.

We recently got to catch up with Juan Mendoza (@JuanMendozaV) who recently made WSOP circuit history by repeating as circuit casino champion in Cherokee, NC (2013/2014).  Juan is a North Carolina native who is very passionate about the game of poker.  Below are Juan’s thoughts on his poker path, recent successes, and plans for the future.  Enjoy!


1 – Can you tell us a little about you and how you got started in poker?  I started playing $5 dollar games in college.  I was always very competitive and it fit into my hobbies. – I really enjoyed it.  At 1st I didn’t know what I was doing and I would always lose and lose.  The competitiveness in me knowing that you could beat your friends, is really what drew me the most to poker.

2 – Do you play poker full-time and/or do you have other passions that you pursue on a regular basis?  At the moment I play poker fulltime and it is what I spend most of my day doing, or studying and going over hands.  I spend most of my time playing poker and poker related things.

3 – Congrats on winning back to back casino champ at the Cherokee, NC WSOP circuit stop! How does it feel to accomplish this?  It feels really great and is a nice accomplishment obviously.  The past year has been very difficult and until I got to Cherokee I was really determined to do well here.  It feels great after all this hard work and it’s finally paying a little bit. 

4 – What do you think helped you to achieve this success in back to back years?  I don’t know exactly what it was that helped me to accomplish b2b championships.  It was mostly I had already done it so I knew I was capable of doing it again.  

5 – Was winning casino champ again something you were aiming to do?  No I wasn’t aiming to do so, but after FT 1st event it helped a lot, it made me realize it was something I could accomplish and it was really doable. JuanBOD

6 – Has poker impacted your life in other ways?  What have you learned from it if so?  Poker has effected my life in a lot of negative ways.  The negative ways I’m trying to get rid of, and trying to have a schedule and balancing my life.  I’m Trying to not be a degen, and then finally accomplishing it.  A book that helped me a lot to get to this point and work on my mental game, was this book by Jared Tendler The Mental Game of Poker 1 and 2.  These books were very very helpful.  It helped me realize I can be real strong with my mental game and my everyday life.

7 – We’ve also heard that you’ve won bovada’s 35k guaranteed nightly tournament a handful of times in the last couple of months.  Are there adjustments you make when transitioning from live to online poker?  If there are I don’t really realize. I don’t think there are that many adjustments, just to be more patient live cuz you get much less hands.  Playing online you don’t play as patient going to live and you get impatient and can make a lot of mistakes playing live.  I don’t know what it is I won it like 3 or 4 times and have run really well and it helped me build my bankroll.  I’m very proud of it.

8 – Any poker idols, or major influences that you feel have helped you to get to this point in your poker career?  There was this guy and I’ve always admired him.  He’s a really good poker player, his name is Ryan Franklin (hitthepanda online).  I love the way he plays very aggressive and very well timed and stuff.  Out of all the poker idols, I really enjoy watching Phil Ivey and Phil Galfond.

9 – Seems like things are really going your way right now, so the big question is this… What are your plans moving forward?  My plans moving forward are to go to Philly to play the circuit and get ready for the national championship and get more live tourneys in for the championship.  I also want to get coaching (as I’ve talked to @DrewPeacoq8), I know it’s going to be beneficial to me and I need to get it in.

10 – Any shout outs you’d like to give?  I want to give a shout out to my wife, she’s always been there for me in the good times and bad times, and I’m now breaking thru and I’m very thankful to her for everything she’s done and being there for me.


Thanks again to Juan for sharing his thoughts with us and we wish him nothing but the best moving forward.  We hope you all enjoyed and found some value in this article, and have some new motivation to accomplish your goals.