August 30th, 2005 – San Jose, Costa Rica – The game is foosball and Carlos Cespedes Martinez is the name.
Martinez, a 38-year-old Costa Rican native, is a master of the table game that’s played in sports bars, frat houses and family basements. In 2003, Martinez won foosball’s world championship and he is gearing up for another title run in Texas.
On his side will be bodoglife.com. The online gambling giant announced its sponsorship of Martinez today, just days before the start of foosball’s premier event. The 2005 World Championship of Foosball takes place from Aug. 31-Sept. 5 at the Hyatt Regency DFW, near Dallas.
“We are excited to be backing Carlos. For most of us, foosball is a fun pastime but when you see it played at its highest level – as Carlos plays it – you gain a higher appreciation for the game,” said Bodog Founder and CEO Calvin Ayre.
On Aug. 22, Martinez warmed up for the world championship by taking first place in singles and doubles competitions in a tournament played in Denver.
Martinez started playing foosball in a little neighborhood store in his hometown of Heredia when he was 13. He played every day after school and during the subsequent four years became highly adept at the game. However, he stopped playing when he was 17 because of work and family commitments. After an 11-year hiatus, he took up the sport again at age 28 when he was approached to enter a partnership. Martinez said he wasn’t sure about team foosball at first, but after investigating the opportunity he accepted the invitation to play.
Like any sport, however, the road to the top was not easy.
In their first international tournament, Martinez and his pairs partner were beaten in the blink of an eye by two older men who both looked to be near 60. Despite practicing strategies and moves, and entering the competition with confidence, Martinez was ousted in his first match. Like poker, foosball has no age requirement: Anyone can play, anyone can win.
After several other international competitions, Martinez ascended. He started traveling across the country to take on players who claimed to be undefeated. His success landed him as one of the favorites entering the 2003 championships. He followed his victory in singles that year with a fifth-place finish in 2004 and a runner-up showing in doubles with partner Eduardo QuiÒones.
“Foosball is a sport about demonstrating and not talking, and people or friends who watch you play will be in charge of letting the others know your ability,” said Martinez, who has five children – three daughters, two sons; all involved in foosball.
bodoglife.com, located in San Jose, Costa Rica, is federally licensed by the Costa Rican and UK governments. One of the pioneers in the field, bodoglife.com is the top ranked US facing online gambling brand, with the highest site traffic amongst multi-product US gaming web sites according to Hitwise.