Swedish poker pro Martin Jacobson won the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event, defeating Norway’s Felix Stephensen to clinch his first major title and the $10 million first prize.
In the process, Jacobson became the first Swede to ever win poker’s most significant tournament, part of an international movement that saw three players from northern Europe contesting the title on the tournament’s final day.
Jacobson came into the final table as the player that many pundits believed had the most experience and success in tournament play. However, with only the eighth-largest chip stack among the final nine, few pegged him to ultimately take down the title.
Jacobson Eliminates van Hoof in 3rd Place
But Jacobson stayed patient during the first night of the final table, managing to avoid any major mistakes and getting the best of the confrontations he entered into. Quietly and professionally, he chipped up to find himself in second place at the end of Monday’s session, after which only three players remained.
On Tuesday night, Jacobson seemed to be in control from start to finish. After about three hours of play, Jacobson eliminated Jorryt van Hoof, the Dutchman who had come into the final table with the chip lead and had dominated most of the play on Monday. Van Hoof failed to find much footing on Tuesday, however, and went from the leader to the short stack in the early going. He was finally eliminated when his A5 ran into Jacobson’s AT, ending his WSOP run in 3rd place ($3,807,753).
That put Jacobson in a dominant chip position over Stephensen. The Norwegian put up some stiff resistance, however, and for a time it looked like he might successfully claw away at Jacobson’s lead. But that momentum didn’t last: the Swedish pro won enough pots to gain a more than 5-1 chip edge over his opponent, at which point an all-in confrontation seemed inevitable.
Final Hand Won With Pocket Tens
After a few close calls, the final pot was played on the 328th hand of the final table. Stephensen opened to 3.5 million from the button, after which Jacobson quickly put him all-in. Stephensen made the call almost instantaneously, revealing the A9 of hearts. Jacobson then tabled two red tens, putting him on the verge of winning the title.
Stephensen still had hope, but it was all but extinguished when the flop came 3-9-T. Jacobson’s set of tens put him in a dominating position, as he was more than 99 percent likely to win the hand. Stephensen’s only road to victory involved runner-runner cards to improve his hand, but a king on the turn shut the door. The four on the river finished the board, and Jacobson could celebrate his victory, while Stephensen was forced to console himself with his $5,145,968 prize for second place.
Many commentators praised Jacobson’s performance throughout the final table, and Stephensen quickly took to Twitter after the tournament to echo their sentiments.
“So close but yet so far… Cant complain… Huge congrats to martin, played flawless!” tweeted Stephensen.
After this victory, Jacobson now boasts more than $14.8 million in career live tournament earnings. That’s enough to move him up to 42nd on the all-time tournament money list, as well as first all-time in his native Sweden.