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Seven Years After Winning Two World Series Of Poker Bracelets At Age 21, Jeff Madsen Not Stressed Anymore About Getting The Third

Poker Pro Says He's Content With Where He's At In His Career


At the age of 21, Jeff Madsen won an improbable two World Series of Poker bracelets and made two other final tables, en route to about $1.5 million in winnings and being named the player of the Series in 2006. Seven years later, he is still sitting on two bracelets.

Madsen hasn’t crashed and burned like others in the game, as he has remained a fixture on the tournament circuit, winning other events over the years and cashing in dozens, but he keeps coming up empty handed at the annual summer festival – the place that launched his poker life.

He acknowledged that if it hadn’t been for that remarkable summer he likely wouldn’t be where he’s at today. He might not even be a poker player anymore.

“It made my entire life,” Madsen said. “When I came in that year I just wanted to make a little bit of money. It was life-changing when that happened.”

In some sense, Madsen is still kind of new to the World Series. After all, he did start playing as soon as he was of legal age. At 28, he still has a whole poker-playing life ahead of him, if he wants to keep pursing it. For him, there’s no panicking.

“I’m still kind of like…my fundamentals are good and my raw game is good, but I can still feel a little immaturity, emotionally dealing with wins and losses, but I’m a lot better than I used to be,” Madsen said. “Some people are more machines than I am. In that respect, I don’t feel fully ‘grizzled veteran’ yet, but maybe I just need to win that next bracelet.”

Summer 2006 cemented his status as someone who knows the ins and outs of card playing, and that he’s one of the best. His skill set hasn’t diminished. Madsen said the drought is partially attributable to players today being better than they were before. He plays all the games, but the WSOP is heavily skewed toward hold’em. It’s the discipline that almost everyone has a better grasp at these days than they did when they were playing during the poker boom.

Still, Madsen carries with him a bit of an admission that he hit the jackpot in 2006.

“When anyone wins a lot right away in poker it’s first going to seem like a fluke…But I think when anything miraculous like that happens it kind of is a fluke at first, and then it’s like ‘OK, he’s a poker player and did well that year, and it doesn’t mean he’s a bad player that he hasn’t won since,’” Madsen said. ‘He was really good back then, and he’s still good.’"

In the year or two following his breakout, Madsen felt the uncomfortable pressure to win a third. Over time, however, he became more acclimated to the nature of tournaments and how challenging it is to be the one sitting with all the chips at the end. It’s incredibly common for the game’s best players to brick tournament after tournament, as oftentimes everything comes down to winning coin flips with a tons of chips on the line, not to mention being on the right end of a suck-out or two. Many top pros don’t have a single bracelet. Ironically, Madsen beat Erick Lindgren heads-up for one of the bracelets when Lindgren had zero to his name.

“You can’t put increasing pressure on yourself year after year,” Madsen said. “It’s life. You aren’t supposed to do anything. You just do what you do. I’m lucky to have won already. I’ve had other success since then. You might get second in a tournament, but is that something that should cause you to put more pressure on yourself? You just have to worry about getting better at your game. You have to be grateful for what you have.”



over 8 years ago

things went south when the rio took out the bowling alley


8 years ago

You can go across the street to Gold Coast for a bowling alley. And Madsen did win bracelet #3