Jeff Madsen burst onto the collective poker consciousness at the 2006 World Series of Poker, winning two bracelets and more than $1.3 million en route to capturing Player of the Year honors at the tender age of 21. Madsen has since proven he is no flash in the pan, and on Tuesday night he claimed his fourth bracelet by winning Event #31: $3,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo.
He topped a field of 480 runners and took $301,413 in prize money, but Madsen said the money is secondary to him.
“I think the competition has always been more important to me,” he said. “Money is a part of poker, obviously, but I like tournaments for the thrill of competition, and bracelets and cashes show the record of your career. I'm just fortunate to be in this spot.”
That spot has elite company, as Madsen now pulls even with legendary names like “Amarillo Slim" Preston, Puggy Pearson, and Bobby Baldwin in the four-bracelet club, and ahead of players like Barry Greenstein and David “Chip” Reese.
Madsen's win also showcased his versatility, as this is the third game, along with pot-limit Omaha and no-limit Hold'em, in which he has won a bracelet. He credited his limit Omaha experience with helping give him a solid theoretical understanding of the game and added that he thinks PLO8 is one of his best games considering how little he gets to play it. He also finished fourth in a PLO8 event at last year's WSOP for $76,150.
This time around, Madsen had to contend with an unofficial final table that included Rami Boukai (third place), John O'Shea (sixth), David “ODB” Baker (eighth), and Mike Gracz (10th). Heads up, Madsen faced off with Frenchman Jeanmarc Thomas, with Madsen beginning play up almost 2-1 on Thomas, which he eventually increased to a 5-1 lead.
However, Thomas was able to double up twice to give Madsen a sweat, the second one coming when he got a set of jacks in on a flop against Madsen's and hit runner aces to make a boat. Madsen was finally able to end things with a preflop all in holding against when he flopped trip sixes and held against the nut low draw.
Asked if the two doubles were discouraging, Madsen called them fairly standard spots and said hands with close equities are just part of PLO8. He remained confident in spite of the last beat.
“I felt like I'd finish him off eventually,” he said.
Madsen is no longer the kid he was when he stormed onto the scene and announced his presence with the two big bracelet wins. With age comes maturity, and the patience and mental strength to fight through a slump that he said was “the worst run of my career” in the past six-to-eight months.
“I tend to be a little bit of a streaky player,” he said. “I've slowly gotten more consistent, and that's what happens with age. You need to handle your life stuff, and that's how you play your best.”
Final Table Results
|1||Jeff Madsen||Los Angeles, CA||$301,413|
|3||Rami Boukai||San Diego, CA||$123,976|
|4||Richard Tucker||Charlotte, NC||$92,003|
|5||Sun Kwak||Hicksville, NY||$69,044|
|6||Josh O'Shea||Churchtown, Ireland||$52,324|
|7||Huarong Ma||Palatine, IL||$40,006|
|8||David “ODB” Baker||Katy, TX||$30,883|
|9||Spencer Chen||West Hollywood, CA||$23,941|