Martin Jacobson was already beginning to make his ascent up the professional poker ranks, but now he can say something that even most of the world's top players can't boast: He is the winner of a WSOP No-Limit Hold'Em World Championship.
The 27-year-old put forth an outstanding performance to beat out Jorryt van Hoof and Felix Stephensen during the final day of the main event competition, earning himself a cool $10 million.
ESPN Stats & Info put the win in historical perspective:
An original field of 6,683 players was whittled down to nine back in July. The "November Nine" resumed play at the final table Monday night, when six more players were eliminated. Jacobson, Stephensen and Van Hoof then battled deep into the Las Vegas night on Tuesday, before the rising Swedish star was eventually crowned champion.
Here's a look at the final results:
|2014 WOSP Main Event Final Table|
|3||Jorryt van Hoof||$3,807,753|
Van Hoof, who was nearly flawless in dominating the final table on Monday night, was the first to be eliminated. Although he entered with the chip lead, he struggled with his decision-making all night.
Four-time WSOP bracelet winner Mike "The Mouth" Matusow blamed the Dutchman's struggles on his decision to wear sunglasses:
Van Hoof dropped to the shortest stack after losing a massive pot to Stephensen on hand No. 273. He held on for a short while, but after blinds were increased to $800,000 and $1.6 million, he was quickly running out of time.
He was ultimately forced to move all-in with an ace-five, and it was instantly called by Jacobson, who had an absolutely perfect read with an ace-10. The flop revealed a 10 of hearts, five of spades and two of hearts, giving the Swede a commanding lead with his higher pair. The turn and river offered no help to Van Hoof, who was officially eliminated on hand No. 293.
"I didn't feel as comfortable out there playing tonight as I was yesterday," Van Hoof said afterward, via WSOP.com's Robert Kirschen and Nolan Dalla. "I moved to the five seat and the light was bothering me. It seemed brighter there. I had more trouble seeing and focusing."
It was a disappointing finish after such an encouraging performance on Monday, but the near $4 million in prize money will probably do a decent job consoling him. Fellow poker player Marcel Vonk applauded his countryman:
Winning that pot put Jacobson in a commanding position for heads-up play against Stephensen, and as ESPN's Andrew Feldman noted, he was certainly ready for the moment:
Jacobson had the advantage, and he simply didn't make mistakes. He continued to chip away at Stephensen, slowly carving through his opponent's chip stack.
Finally, on hand No. 328, Jacobson found his moment to go for the kill when he received pocket 10s. He went all-in, and Stephensen, with an ace-nine on the button, had no option but to call. The flop delivered a 10, and Jacobson's unbelievable, nearly mistake-free run was complete.
Second place may feel a little bittersweet for Stephensen, but the 23-year-old has nothing to be ashamed of.
As for Jacobson, it's a night—and a tournament—he won't forget for the rest of the life. But considering the calmness and savvy he showed Tuesday night, don't expect this to be his last WSOP bracelet.