Martin Jacobson: From Chef to WSOP Main Event Champ

Martin Jacobson RakeTheRake

As much of the poker world knows by now, Martin Jacboson won the 2014 WSOP Main Event along with a $10 million prize. In the end, the Swede faced off against Norway’s Felix Stephensen in a heads-up battle that only lasted an hour.
Most regarded Jacobson as the best live tournament player among the 2014 November Nine members. However, it’s still quite amazing that he won the Main Event, given that he had the second-smallest chip stack coming on to the final table. Perhaps it’s even more incredible that he was here at all when considering that Jacobson appeared destined for a culinary arts career.

Chef in training, poker player by night

Long before he ascended to poker stardom, Martin Jacobson was an aspiring chef. He worked long nights in a Stockholm restaurant while honing his cooking skills. During this time, he also played online poker after shifts ended late at night because there was nothing else to do. However, the goal for Jacobson was always to land a good chef job above playing poker for a career.

Eventually, his dream came true when a top-notch restaurant in Barcelona offered Jacobson a job. But in what turned out to be a blessing in disguise, a contract issue nixed the deal and he was left searching for a new pursuit. Seeing as how he’d already begun developing his poker skills late at night, Jacobson started taking the game more seriously.

Quick success in EPT events

It didn’t take Jacobson long to experience success on the live felt since he finished third in the 2008 EPT Budapest Main Event ($247,668). The following years would bring more great results with runner-up finishes at 2009 WPT Venice ($319,518), 2010 EPT Vilamoura ($378,706) and 2010 EPT Deauville ($762,185). Jacobson continued churning out more large cashes over the years, until netting his biggest score by finishing sixth in the 2013 WSOP $111,111 One Drop High Roller ($807,427).

Now a Main Event champion

Of course, all of Jacobson’s previous scores pale in comparison to his haul from the 2014 Main Event. An elite player who’d never actually won a major tournament title – but had come close many times – Jacobson finally broke through to win the world’s most-prestigious tourney along with $10 million. And if there were ever any doubt that Jacobson would have been better off being a chef, there’s no question now that he chose the right career in the wake of the botched restaurant contract.

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