Jesse Martin Wins DraftKings World Championship for $2 Million
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Jesse Martin has been playing some of the biggest poker tournaments in the world for more than a decade but he just hit a daily fantasy sports (DFS) score that dwarfs all of his cashes at the felt.
After qualifying for the DraftKings $10 Million Fantasy Football World Championship Final in Miami, Martin entered what would emerge as the winning lineup. He banked a whopping $2 million for the topping the 180-entry field.
It's not the first time a poker player has won the marquee football DFS event. Back in January 2016, former high-stakes online cash player Aaron Jones won an incredible $5 million, one of the biggest prizes in DFS history.
Chip Leading for the Win
Back in early November, Martin won a ticket to the FFWC, valued at $55,556, when he topped a small field in a satellite thanks to being the only entry rostering backup Ravens tight end Nick Boyle, who scored a touchdown in a blowout win over the Patriots.
In Miami, Martin faced off against a who's who of top DFS players, including fellow poker players Max Steinberg and Brandon Adams. A total of $10 million was up for grabs among the 180 entries, with $2 million for first and everyone guaranteed $15,000.
Martin, under the name "180DegreesMiami", put together a unique lineup, gambling on a risky stack of Kansas City Chiefs stars Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill. Normally some of the most selected players, they barely cracked 10% ownership combined thanks to blizzard conditions in Kansas City and a matchup against a tough Broncos defense. He also grabbed a couple of Philadelphia Eagles players pressed into bigger roles by injury in Greg Ward and Boston Scott.
Despite the awful conditions, the Chiefs players performed fine. Add in monster performances from his two stars running backs Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffrey, and Martin roared out to the DFS equivalent of a chip lead, holding the top spot after the first slate of games.
Martin got enough from afternoon performers Tyler Higbee and Chris Conley to hold off any late charges from rivals who rostered Kenyan Drake for his four-touchdown bonanza. Martin's 220.9 fantasy points gave him a relatively comfortable winning margin of 7.08.
Poker World Offers Kudos
A respected pro with two World Series of Poker bracelets and $3.2 million in cashes, Martin's DFS score ranks far above any single win in his poker career.
Martin's Top Poker Cashes
|June 22, 2014||WSOP $50,000 Poker Players Championship||3rd||$594,570|
|April 15, 2007||Five Stars World Poker Classic $2,620 NLHE||1st||$289,740|
|June 23, 2013||WSOP $10,000 2-7 Single Draw||1st||$253,524|
|Feb. 25, 2017||WPT L.A. Poker Classic $10,000 Main Event||5th||$230,380|
|June 24, 2015||WSOP $10,000 Limit Hold'em Championship||2nd||$180,114|
*Source: The Hendon Mob
When news spread to the poker world that one of their fellow grinders had binked the fantasy football championship, players like Dan Zack and Owais Ahmed offered up their congratulations.
Martin especially had fun with an onlooker who ripped his lineup as "legitimately terrible," joking that it meant he'd finally made it in DFS.
In the true spirit of a grinder, Martin said his next step will be studying the following day's NBA lineups to find the value. As the poker saying goes, win or lose, "on to the next."