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Poker Stories Podcast With Jesse Martin

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Jul 29, 2020

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Poker Stories is a long-form audio podcast series that features casual interviews with some of the game’s best players and personalities. Each episode highlights a well-known member of the poker world and dives deep into their favorite tales both on and off the felt.

To listen, visit www.cardplayer.com/poker-podcasts or download it directly to your device from any number of mobile apps, such as Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, or Spotify. Catch up on past episodes featuring notables such as Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, Justin Bonomo, Nick Schulman, Barry Greenstein, Michael Mizrachi, Bryn Kenney, Mike Sexton, Brian Rast, Chris Moneymaker, Maria Ho, Joe Cada, Freddy Deeb, Jennifer Harman, and many more.

Age: 40
From: Northborough, Massachusetts
Live Tournament Earnings: $3.2 Million

Top Live Tournament Scores

Date Tournament Place Winnings
June 2014 WSOP $50,000 Poker Players Championship 3rd Place $594,570
April 2007 Five Star World Poker Classic $2,500 NLHE 1st Place $289,740
June 2013 WSOP $10,000 2-7 Lowball 1st Place $253,524
March 2017 LA Poker Classic $10,000 Main Event 5th Place $230,380
June 2015 WSOP $10,000 Limit Hold’em 2nd Place $180,114

Jesse Martin is a highly-respected poker pro and sports gambler from Massachusetts. Although he started out as a cash game player and has always competed in high-stakes mixed games, Martin has also done quite well on the tournament circuit, racking up more than $3.2 million. He has also won millions online playing under the name ‘MazeOrBowie,’ and had a fourth-place finish in the SCOOP main event for $401,600.

Martin has several final-table finishes at the World Series of Poker, including a third-place showing in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship for $594,570, along with two bracelet wins. His first came in the 2013 $10,000 No-Limit Deuce-To-Seven event, where he won $253,524. His second title came in 2017, when he pocketed $130,948 for taking down the $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw event.

In the last few years following the birth of his son, Martin has started playing less poker and while devoting more of his working time to daily fantasy sports. In December, he beat a field of 180 in the DraftKings Fantasy Football World Championship in Miami to earn a massive $2 million payday.

Highlights from this interview include catching poker right before the boom, Syracuse to TurningStone, Red Sox and Phish, talent vs. hard work, chasing a fish into a H.O.R.S.E. game, a painful finish at the LAPC, bracelet or watch?, $3,000-$6,000 game in Bobby’s Room, dirty looks from Gus Hansen, thriving in crazy games, one hand at $200-$400 no-limit, getting paid by Chino Rheem, barbershop quartet conventions in Austria, being bad at bagels, Larry Bird words, what winning $2 million feels like, Joey Chestnut, running good/bad against John Hennigan, 175 concerts, why you shouldn’t compliment his stack size, and how Rudy Gobert gave him a big COVID-19 win.

The Transcript Highlights

On His Painful Finish At The L.A. Poker Classic Main Event

Julio Rodriguez: Let’s talk about close calls. The biggest one, obviously, was finishing third in the $50k Poker Players Championship for $600k. You also have a runner-up in the $10k limit hold’em, runner-up in the $10k stud, fifth place at the LAPC, third place in a stud eight-or-better… Which one is the most painful?

Jesse Martin: That’s a fair question. Number one, the most painful would be the LAPC main event. I was in such a groove in that tournament, I was feeling so good. I still look back to the day of the final table…

The way the LAPC is set up if you are a Los Angeles resident is awesome, because it starts at noon, and ends at 8:30 or 9 p.m. So you miss traffic both ways, and get to sleep in your own bed, get plenty of rest. I was just loving it, loving the [easy] commute.

Then the day of the final table, you’re doing interviews in the morning, and it doesn’t start until 4 p.m. For whatever reason, that threw me off. I went to get a haircut before, and got new sunglasses, and all of a sudden had this whole mindset at the final table. Overall, I was frustrated with the way I prepared for that day. There were no huge mistakes that I feel like I made. In fact, I think I made a few good plays, including a tough fold. But I look back and just wish I had the whole day to do over again. I went in 3 of 6, feeling good about everything, but ended up coming in fifth. So that was a rough one.

On High-Stakes Games In Bobby’s Room With Gus Hansen

JR: What is the biggest game you’ve ever played in?

JM: I played $3,000-$6,000 in Bobby’s Room, so I guess that’s definitely the answer. I didn’t have all of my self, I had about half, but it was still playing big. I played $1,500-$3,000 a lot, but even then, I didn’t have all of myself. The most I’d have was about 70 percent. So playing $3,000-$6,000 with half of myself was pretty wild.

The game was exceptional, so it was kind of one of those things where someone says, ‘Who wants to kick it up?’ I object once, and maybe get a dirty look from Gus Hansen. So the second time it gets brought up, I don’t say anything and just text a friend [asking to buy more action.]

JR: Does it feel any different when there’s more money on the table or is everything the same decision to you?

JM: No, it feels different for sure. Basically, you want to play… It’s hard. The old cliché that if the money is meaningful to you, then you are probably playing too big. The money should just be like bullets to you. All that in theory might be true, but if you stumble upon a $2,000-$4,000, and you have the money in your box and the game is exceptional, sometimes you are going to play above your head. It’s gambling with an edge, and you hope you win. But when you lose it hurts. While you’re in the pot, you can’t ignore how much it’s going to hurt if you lose. But as a professional gambler, you try to ignore that stuff and do the best you can.

Winning Big With Coronavirus And Rudy Gobert

JM: I was playing a ton of NBA [daily fantasy sports] and doing well with that. The NBA is kind of what transitioned us into some of these lockdowns and really, in a lot of ways, changed the world.

Rudy Gobert for the Utah Jazz was diagnosed with coronavirus right before a game started in the middle of March. I was playing heavy DFS at the time, and that night, I was lucky enough to have players in four of the six games in my main line up. The two games that I didn’t really have any players in were the two games that were canceled.

JR: Oh wow! So that worked out for you, other than losing your source of income.

JM: It was a great send off. I ended up winning $100,000 that night. I came in first in a bunch of big tournaments, and came in second in the biggest tournament by only like half a point. There was a final three-pointer at the buzzer that didn’t go in. I would have won an extra $80,000 or so.

It was just one of those nights where everything went right. Basically, I would create like five different lineups, and one of them would be my main lineup, and go into every single tournament on the site, the $1,500 all the way down to the $4 tournament. So if you hit, if lightning strikes and that lineup goes off, then you are winning all of these tournaments. ♠