Martin Jacobson wins WSOP Main Event title and $10 million

12 November 2014

LAS VEGAS -- Martin Jacobson beat Felix Stephensen heads up Tuesday night to win the World Series of Poker Main Event title and $10 million. Stephensen won $5.1 million for finishing in second. Jorryt van Hoof finished third to win $3.8 million.

Jacobson began heads-up play with 142 million in chips and steamrolled Stephensen, who began heads-up play with 58.5 million. and never gave him a chance to catch up. Jacobson knocked Stephensen out of the tournament on the 35th heads-up hand when Stephensen called Jacobson’s all-in bet pre flop.

With just 28.3 million in chips remaining, Stephensen had decided to make a stand with Ah-9h. Jacobson showed pocket 10s and was nearly a 3-1 favorite to take the title.

With Jacobson’s rail chanting “ten for ten (million),” the flop of 3s-9c-10c gave the chip leader a set of 10s and a near stranglehold on the championship. A king on the turn and a river four gave Jacobson the championship.

Martin Jacobson celebrates his big win in the World Series of Poker Main Event.

Martin Jacobson celebrates his big win in the World Series of Poker Main Event. (photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City)

Jacobson entered final table play with second smallest chip stack -- 14.9 million. But he made it clear that he came to play for a title and not just to survive a few money jumps.

“My game plan was always to go for the win without doing anything stupid,” Jacobson said just after winning the Main Event title. “This was a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s not every year you final table the Main Event.”

“My game plan (in terms of tactics) didn’t actually play out,” Jacobson explained. “I expected to open a lot of pots. But I mostly three-bet in spots. I was playing tight aggressive. But my plan was to play loose aggressive. I just didn’t find many spots, so I kept my patience.”

“(I played) close to perfect,” Jacobson added. “I don’t think there’s such a thing as a perfect tournament. It’s just impossible not to make some errors here and there. But I played pretty well overall.”

Jacobson’s friends rushed the stage after his victory, but Jacobson’s reaction to winning was a bit more subdued.

“They were a lot more excited than I was,” Jacobson said with a smile. “I still can’t believe what’s happened. It’s probably going to take me a few hours (to process it).”

Stephensen was philosophical in defeat.

“Today was a pretty good day,” Stephensen said. “I felt like I played really well, but so did the other guys. Martin picked up a few more big hands than the rest of us, and that's how you end up with all the chips.”

“It's a lot of money, and the win would have been very sweet,” Stephensen added. “You're so close you almost can taste it, but he started off with a pretty good chip lead and I never really got anything going.”

The $10 million first prize, which was guaranteed by the WSOP for the first time this year, is the largest payout to a Main Event champion since Jamie Gold won $12 million in 2006.

In 2006, 8,773 players entered the Main Event. This year, 6,683 players entered the Main Event.

Jacobson, who hails from Sweden, is the first European to win the Main Event since Germany’s Pius Heinz did it in 2011. Norway’s Stephensen and the Netherlands’ van Hoof made it the first all-European final three at the Main Event.

Felix Stephensen just could not gain any traction during heads-up play at the WSOP Main Event.

Felix Stephensen just could not gain any traction during heads-up play at the WSOP Main Event. (photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City)

Van Hoof, who looks like he should be starring in movies as the Dutch Jason Bourne, finished in third when he pushed all in pre-flop for 46.4 million with Ad-5d. Jacobson snap called with As-10c. Both players caught a piece of the 5x-2x-10x flop, putting Jacobson in good position to win the hand. A pair of queens on the turn and river ended van Hoof’s night.

Van Hoof’s third-place finish completes a stunning fall from grace. At one point Monday night, van Hoof had more than 100 million in chips, looked comfortable at the table and looked like he was going to win the Main Event without breaking a sweat. Van Hoof lost some chips towards the end of the night. But he entered Tuesday’s play as the clear chip leader with 89.6 million in chips.

But van Hoof struggled to find his comfort zone Tuesday. He looked uncomfortable under the bright TV lights, and was sweating profusely during play.

He wore sunglasses for the first time to help fight the glare, but ditched them because they were uncomfortable.

“The only time I felt uncomfortable at the table is when I wore my glasses,” van Hoof said after he busted out of the tournament. “I never wear glasses.”

“The lights felt much stronger today,” van Hoof said while explaining why he wore the sunglasses. “They were bothering my eyes actually. But it didn’t affect my play too much.”

While Jacobson knocked van Hoof out, it was a series of hands against Stephensen that ultimately doomed van Hoof.

Stephensen had dipped into the proverbial danger zone, where he had about 20 big blinds left in his stack. He switched gears and started to get aggressive. And he found a willing partner in van Hoof.

First, Stephensen doubled up to 48.6 million through van Hoof when his pair of nines beat van Hoof’s pair of fives. After that point, Stephensen continued to attack van Hoof over the course of several hands, and eventually surpassed him in chips.

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