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In 2006, Jeff Madsen
set the record for being the youngest player to ever win a World Series of Poker tournament (the record has since been broken). Less
than one week later, he set another record for being the youngest person to ever win two WSOP bracelets. In fact, he won his
second bracelet at a younger age than anyone has ever won their first!
I first saw Madsen when I arrived at the 2006 World Series of Poker. I went down to the poker room to see how my friend,
Rusty Mandap, was making out in the Omaha
High-Low event. They were down to three players and one of them was this young kid whom I had never seen before. I took note
of it because there aren't very many young players that can play Omaha Hi-Low very well. Jeff not only made it down to three
players on the final table, he was holding his own with Rusty and that is no small feat. One good day doesn't mean much, but
Jeff was just getting started.
It was only one month after his twenty-first birthday when he came in third in that $2000 Omaha High Low split event. A few
days later he won one of the No Limit Holdem events, earning $660,948 -- at the age of 21 and five weeks and he took home
his first gold bracelet from the World Series of Poker. Less than a week later, he won a No Limit Holdem shorthanded event,
and an additional $643,381. And he still wasn't finished! A few days after that, he made another $65,000 by finishing third
in a Seven Card Stud High Low event.
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While making four WSOP final tables and earning a million and half dollars in less than a month is an accomplishment in
itself, the fact that Jeff Madsen made final tables in three different games is maybe more impressive. Younger players these days can
be counted on to have seen and played No Limit Hold'em, but to also be able to confidently and successfully play the more
complex games too is amazing, especially since Jeff's style is attacking and aggressive. Making aggressive moves in Omaha
High Low or Stud 8 or Better is not the same as making aggressive moves in No Limit Holdem and he was able to make those
adjustments while playing which says a lot about his talents.
Jeff was a film student at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He had an advantage most players his age didn't
have because he was able to legally play live action poker for the past three years at the Chumash Indian Casino in
Santa Ynez (not too far north of Santa Barbara) where the minimum age to play is 18.
The one great thing about Jeff Madsen's story is that there were some pretty big stories going on at the WSOP in 2006. One of
the stories that should have been the highlight of the series was that Phil Hellmuth won his tenth bracelet and became the person
with the most cashes ever at the WSOP. Sadly for Phil, he was just a "footnote" in comparison to Jeff's amazing story.
Jeff Madsen: English,
Photo courtesy of LasVegas Vegas.