Martin Jacobson of Sweden built a commanding chip lead before putting away Norway’s Felix Stephensen to win the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event title. Jacobson, who became the first-ever Swede to win poker’s most prestigious tournament, won $10 million, along with a special WSOP bracelet designed specifically for the event.
Jacobson’s victory comes after two days and nearly 16 hours of final table play. Most observers thought Jacobson’s title was well-deserved, as he seemed to play solidly and with few mistakes throughout the final two sessions. Jacobson came into the final table in eighth place, but worked around his short stack until he found his opportunities to chip up and enter the final day of play in second place.
Jorryt van Hoof came into Tuesday night as the favorite, as he held a solid chip lead with a stack of over 89 million. But unlike on Monday, when everything seemed to go the Dutchman’s way, van Hoof failed to get anything going in the final session. In the end, he would go out when his A5 just couldn’t find a way to overcome Jacobson’s AT. Van Hoof received $3,807,753 for third place.
“I didn’t feel as comfortable out there playing tonight as I was yesterday,” Van Hoof said in his exit interview. “I moved to the five seat and the light was bothering me. It seemed brighter there. I had more trouble seeing and focusing.”
That left Jacobson with a strong chip lead over Stephensen, one that he would continue to stretch out over the course of their heads up match. Once Stephensen was under 30 million chips, there were several all-in moments by both players that ultimately ended when their opponent would back down.
But on the final hand, the 328th played at the final table, the two would finally show up with hands that would put all of Stephensen’s chips at risk. From the button, Stephensen raised to 3.5 million with A9 of hearts. Jacobson responded quickly, moving all in with his massive stack, forcing an all-or-nothing decision from his opponent.
Stephensen called almost immediately for his last 28.3 million chips. Jacobson turned up pocket tens, giving him a significant advantage. That edge turned into a lock on the hand when the flop came 3-9-T, giving Jacobson a set and leaving Stephensen hoping for runner-runner help in order to stay in the tournament. A king on the turn ended any hopes of a miracle, making Jacobson the 2014 champion.
Stephensen’s elimination left him as the tournament runner-up. He’ll go home far from empty-handed, however: the Norwegian takes home a prize of $5,145,968 for his efforts.
The 2014 final table was a particularly international affair, as four Americans were joined by players representing five other nations. In fact, this was the first year that no player from the United States finished in the top three of the Main Event, as all three finalists hailed from northern Europe.
Jacobson’s victory is his first in a major live tournament, and marks his first WSOP bracelet win. However, he was considered by most to be the most accomplished tournament player at the final table: over the course of his career, he has earned more than $4.8 million worldwide, with his largest previous cash being an $807,427 score for a sixth place finish at last year’s $111,111 buy-in One Drop High Roller.