2019 World Series of Poker

What the Heck Happened to Randy “The Dreamcrusher” Jensen?

Randy Jensen
  • Whatever happened to Randy Jensen of @WPT fame? PokerNews found out.

  • Randy Jensen made a splash on the @WPT before disappearing from poker for a decade.

In 2012, forum poster “PSUMike1999” took to TwoPlusTwo to pose the question – What the Heck Happened to Randy “The Dreamcrusher” Jensen?

From 2002-07, Jensen was a familiar face on the poker circuit. His poker career kicked off when he won the 2002 Jack Binion World Poker Open $500 Limit Hold’em event for $83,085, and two years later he returned to Horseshoe Casino & Hotel and finished second in the stop’s $10,000 World Poker Tour Main Event, good for $656,460.

The latter tournament was actually aired on the Travel Channel during the early days of the “Poker Boom,” which resulted in Jensen achieving a certain level of poker fame. Also at that final table were Minnesota Poker Hall of Famer Tony Hartmann, the late David “Chip” Reese, and “The Robin Hood of Poker” Barry Greenstein, who went on to win the title for $1,278,370.

In 2005, Jensen won $100K for finishing second to Ted Forrest in a PPT Season 1 event at the Mirage, which was also broadcast on television. He was aggressive, boisterous and showed no fear. Through June 2007, Jensen’s style saw him amass $1,024,577 in tournament earnings. Then, he disappeared.

Mystery Thickens

Jensen faded into poker obscurity for six years before the thread on TwoPlusTwo. The first person to answer was “RandyJ,” who claimed to be Jensen. In a short post, he leveled cheating allegations, revealed his personal life took a bad turn, and that he had gotten into trouble with the law.

“I have been in Colorado for the past three years because I had a really horrible divorce that destroyed my bankroll, brought on because of getting cheated for 300k in a 3 way game with Russ Hamilton and Freddie Deeb. I beat Russ, and Freddie killed me, with plays that I could not even comprehend at the time. Little did I know that they were colluding and superusing me. (at the time). I also got myself in some trouble with the law, because I drove a lot without a valid driver’s license, so I had to do like a year in jail and couldn't leave the state of Colorado because of probation.”

Jensen said he was looking to restart his poker life and seemed to find the silver lining of his downfall.

I think it was good in the long run. Humility and the plight of being busto really is probably good for the soul in the long run. But take it from me it really sucks to go from millionaire self-rolled player, to someone who is starting over from complete scratch.

Some TwoPlusTwo members questioned the authenticity of the post, but over the next several months, Jensen continued to field questions. In his subsequent posts, he elaborated on both being cheated, at least that was his perception, and his divorce, claiming his ex-wife took his kids and his $3.5 million net worth. He also shed some light on another WPT legend who has disappeared.

“Paul [Phillips] quit poker, went into competitive Scrabble, got bored with that, married and had 2 kids, and is currently doing something with programming computer stuff,” said Jensen. “I haven’t talked to him for about 3 years. He was one of my best POKER friends, and a real good guy. I give him credit as being one of the 3 smartest guys that I have known.”

On October 25, 2012, “RandyJ” posted for the last time on TwoPlusTwo. Nearly five more years would pass before Jensen would be heard from again.

What the Heck Happened to Randy “The Dreamcrusher” Jensen? 101
Randy Jensen in action during April's MSPT Golden Gates.

Call It a Comeback

In February 2017, Jensen notched his first tournament cash in nearly a decade when he took 15th in the WSOP Circuit Rio Event #7: $365 PLO, good for $727. He’s had two other cashes since then when he placed fifth in the April 2017 Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza II Event #9: $400 NLH Superstack for $3,468, and 23rd in the Venetian’s 2018 May Extravaganza Event #1: $250 NLH for $1,000.

In early April, Jensen was spotted playing a $1,100 MSPT Main Event at Golden Gates Casino in Black Hawk, Colorado. On a tournament break, he confirmed that he was in fact “RandyJ” on TwoPlusTwo and affirmed much of his prior statements.

“I’m pretty open about all this shit,” he said. “I had a really bad divorce that put me in a crazy situation for child custody, and then I did four years in jail. I got sentenced to six years, I was there for four years. I got it overturned because it was all illegal what had happened. I got it overturned two weeks before I would’ve gotten out anyway. I’ve been out of jail for a little over a year.”

Jensen, who now lives in Fort Collins, did not elaborate on his time served other than to allude it stemmed from some bad decisions related to his divorce. Now, he was focused on rebuilding his life and getting back into the poker world.

What the Heck Happened to Randy “The Dreamcrusher” Jensen? 102
Randy Jensen

“Everybody said the game is so different, the game is so much harder. I don’t think so,” said Jensen. “Maybe it’s my game that has changed a little bit. I used to be hyper-aggressive before it was a thing. Now, because of the televised stuff, everybody thinks all I do is bluff. Now, I’ve matured a little bit, I’ve gotten a bit older, and I still got that part of the game, but I now also have the other part of the game where I can chill out. It’s been working really well.”

Jensen, who failed to cash the MSPT event, revealed that part of his poker comeback includes a visit to this year’s World Series of Poker.

“I think I’ve played ten tournaments since I’ve been back and have final tabled four of them,” he said. “They’re not all big ones, but the WSOP hasn’t started yet. I’m going to go out this summer for the whole thing and hopefully do okay.”

Jensen may no longer be in the poker spotlight, and he’s accepted the fact that he needs to rebuild from the ground up, but it doesn’t stop him from occasionally reflecting on the good old days.

“The funniest thing about that WPT final table, it was my first real big tournament hit. I got to know Chip and Barry and it was really cool. I got right in it and was doing good. Some people say they wish they could play with the legends, and that’s all I ever did. Now it’s starting over. I don’t have the money I used to have. In poker, if you have skill and a little bit of heart, you can always come back.”

Lead photo courtesy of WPT broadcast.

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