Monday, July 24, 2006

The Greatest Poker Player Ever

A while back I wrote a post that stated that the greatest poker player ever, would be someone from today's generation. There are tons of big names from back in the day, but there just were not that many people who played poker back then. Today with the millions of people who play online or who have crowded cardrooms since the advent of the WPT, the talent pool is a few orders of magnitude larger then ever before. Someone from this large group of talent will emerge as the best player ever, hands down. It will not be one of the big names from the past. It will be an unknown who rises to the top. Well, I have a candidate who is taking over the poker world by storm.

Jeff Madsen

Jeff, is a student from UCSB (Santa Barbara), who just turned 21. He has been playing for just a couple of years. There is an Indian casino called Chumash that is about 1/2 hours drive from Santa Barbara. You need to be 18 to play there, and Jeff got some great live experience there without the restriction of being 21. He won a couple of their tourneys along the way (about $2000 a pop), that built up his confidence. So he decided to make a run at this years WSOP. His parents put up $3500, and he pulled another $6500 from his college funds to take his shot at the bigtime. So how has he done so far???

Jeff has pwned this years WSOP. He has three final tables with two wins and a third place finish. He is #1 in the WSOP standings, and has jumped up to #4 in the cardplayer POY race in just a few short weeks. Even more impressive is the fact that they were three different format tournaments (Omaha high/low, NL Holdem full table, and NL holdem 6-max). Saturday night, he entered the $5000 6-max final table as the short stack, and worked his way up to heads up with Eric Lindgren. Eric had a significant chip lead when heads up began. Jeff, would hang in there, slowly chipping up, and eventually outlast Eric for the win. Eric has said before that an amateur has no chance against a seasoned pro. Well, I guess your not a seasoned pro, because a 21 year old college student in his first WSOP is an "amateur".

There is a lot of luck in tournament poker, but its hard to explain Jeff's success against the massive fields of today's WSOP as luck. I think Mark Sief won two bracelets last year, but he is a seasoned pro, who had played in the WSOP many times before. For Jeff to come into his first WSOP, and pull off what he has done so far, against the ridiculously huge fields may go down as the greatest feat ever in the history of the WSOP. And this guy has only been playing for 2 1/2 years. I have been playing longer than that! If he keeps focused, he will only get better. This guy may be the greatest ever.


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