The name Martin Jacobson is well-known in the poker world. The man who triumphed in the 2014 WSOP Main Event, claiming a cool $10,000,000 for his efforts, certainly earned his poker fame. Nonetheless, despite achieving what most professional and recreational players dream of, Jacobson has remained modest. Unlike many Main Event winners before him, he remains a bit of mystery to general public.
From Kitchen Knives to Poker Chips
Martin Jacobson was born in 1987 in the Swedish capital of Stockholm. Growing up, he had ambitions to become a professional chef and open his own chain of restaurants in his homeland. He graduated from a culinary high school, taking those first important steps towards making his dreams a reality.
However, just as he turned 18, Jacobson was introduced to poker, and his life would take a completely new direction.
This was around 2005, i.e., right in the midst of the poker boom years, and Jacobson, like so many other young people at the time, became instantly hooked. Starting with small-stakes cash tables online and transitioning to single table tournaments, he fell in love with the competitive aspect of the game, turning his gaze towards a new, different future.
Jacobson first burst onto the live scene a couple years later in 2008, after turning 21 and winning a package to the WSOP Main Event in an online qualifier. He could have received the package value in cash ($12,000), but decided against it and, instead, entered the prestigious tournament.
In a perfect fairy tale world, we’d be telling you that the young Swede got to Vegas, hit some hands, made some bluffs, and made a deep run well into the money. In reality, exactly the opposite happened, as Jacobson was sent packing after just three hands of play. It was a painful experience, to say the least, but he wouldn’t let it crush his spirit.
He continued playing online and in live events, notching some notable results along the way, although a major title always seemed to slip from under his fingers. It wasn’t until 2013 that things would start to change for Jacobson in a major way. It was in this year that he finally managed to win a couple of big live tournaments, the WPT National High Roller event in Dublin and a side event at EPT London. The proverbial monkey was finally off his back and he was primed for even greater success.
Winning the 2014 WSOP Main Event
Jacobson may have had a horrible Main Event experience in 2008, but poker gods can have a weird sense of humor like that sometimes. Six years later, in 2014, Jacobson entered the Main Event once again and, this time around, things simply fell into place.
Over the course of seven days, Jacobson managed to weave his way through many traps, avoid huge coolers that would cost him his tournament life, and finally reach the coveted final table, with $10,000,000 guaranteed for the winner. The man who had been chasing a major win for most of his career was now close to getting the most desired of them all, entering the November Nine seventh in chips.
Jacobson did enter the final table as a fairly short stack but he did have plenty of time to prepare, dedicating over 500 hours to studying his opponents and getting ready to crush during the break from summertime until the players reconvened once again to play down to a winner. And crush he did! Jacobson was ready to play and closed the deal, outlasting every single of the remaining eight players and bagging $10,000,000 first prize — a sum perhaps unthinkable to his countrymen except for via a win in a Swedish casino — alongside the most-coveted poker trinket, the Main Event bracelet.
2014 WSOP Main Event Champ @Martin_Jacobson is making all the right moves as poker’s newest ambassador. Watch our Q&A http://t.co/nYNLTlER09
— Robbie Strazynski (@cardplayerlife) November 25, 2014
Despite the landmark win, Jacobson has never really become a big poker media figure, so his career achievements after the Main Event win might not be as familiar to more casual poker fans. To date, Jacobson has amassed over $16,800,000 in live tournament earnings, so that’s almost $7,000,000 on top of his 2014 Main Event prize.
A decent chunk of these winnings came in 2017, when Jacobson placed sixth in the $111,111 High Roller for One Drop for $641,000 and finished second in the $5,000 Deepstack Extravaganza III, bagging $398,000.
Martin Jacobson is currently firmly seated in the first place of the Swedish All Time Money List and despite some great players hailing from his home country, including Chris Bjorin in second place, they all have a lot of catching up to do if they’re to take the throne away from him.
In the meantime, Jacobson will likely continue to play and further increase his lifetime poker earnings, proving time and time again that his 2014 Main Event win was much more than just a fluke.