Raul Olympic WebSpain woke up to a new era yesterday, a new leader to steer like-minded people through a new climate of prosperity. We refer of course not to new Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, but of Raul Mestre, the first official IFP World Poker Champion, and new icon of Spanish poker.

To be fair, Mestre (right) was already one of Iberian poker’s leading figures before he stepped onto the threshold of London’s County Hall to “Outskill the World”, winning a first prize of $250,000. His victory though was a reminder of what it takes to count yourself among the best.Since 2005 Mestre has sought to prove just that.Since turning his back on studying the science of chemistry to study the science of poker, Mestre has since not only earned fortunes online, but has helped others to do the same, providing the inspiration and the know-how to new players across the region thanks to the online poker school he co-founded – EducaPoker. Poker’s riches are illusive to but a few, and many Spanish players can credit Mestre for their share.

But in this post-modern poker age real success is measured not in the virtual world but in the public world, where live results maketh the man. Mestre’s result on Sunday does just that.

It was perhaps for those reasons that Mestre’s expression, one of relief and pride, was so obvious in the moments after he collected the The Table trophy (jokingly trying to bite through it). For a professional poker player having a “1st” in your entry in a results database is not just about a big payday, it’s about vindication, in the eyes of both your peers and, for players with the determination and drive of Mestre, for yourself.

He took on the world, and won.