To surpass the record set in this event, it won’t be perseverance or mixed game prowess or working your way up from $4/8 to the highest stakes. No, to become the youngest player to win a World Series of Poker event, parents will need to be spending a lot of time together this November, then hope a bouncing new baby will be born in the middle of next year’s WSOP. Nurture and train the youngster for 21 years, then the prodigy will have four weeks to beat the record set by Jeff Madsen, who at 21 years one month and three days is now the youngest winner of a World Series Bracelet.
A field of 1,578 players entered this three-day event, back to the mega fields that have been a trademark of this World Series. Amazingly, 1,452 left out of the money before midnight on Day 1, able to get a snack as the final table of the H.O.R.S.E event got started.
They played a total of thirteen hours, and the 101 players had to feel worn out as they bagged up their chips and headed for sleep. The only player who started Day 2 in the top 10 in chips, with strong experience, was Julian Gardner, runner-up to Robert Varkonyi in the 2002 WSOP Main Event. He started the day next to the youngest player in the field, Jeff Madsen in 2nd chip position. Gardner quickly won a massive pot, as he moved all-in with Sam Mallard and Jon Kalmar, who had him covered by $500. Mallard had jacks, Kalmar had queens, and Gardner had A-K. An ace hit the flop with a king on the turn to boot, and the Manchester native moved into the chip lead.
Captain Tom Franklin busted out in 41st ($8,621), his third cash this year. Gardner drained down to $65k only to double up again with A-K against Stuart Moody’s pocket deuces and keep hope alive. By the time they got to 14 players, Gardner had the chip lead. He continued to build it, along with Robert Cohen , Paul Sheng, and Troy Parkins.
The winner of this event would be a first-time bracelet winner as Gardner’s runner-up finish was the best the table could muster. John Shipley was picked off with a steal attempt, Sheng’s jacks holding up against Shipley’s (9th, $60,349). Michael Chow doubled through Gardner, then before the button moved around once, the second casualty left. Billy Duarte moved in from the big blind with vs. Bob Bright’s small blind limp with . A jack hit on the flop, and Duarte headed back to the Rockies, out in 8th ($71,845). Robert Cohen then was all-in with vs. Sheng’s . What a ride they went through, with the putting Sheng solidly ahead until the runner-runner gave Cohen the nut flush to double up.
By the $10k/20k blind level, Cohen led with just over $700k, Troy Parkins had about the same, while Bob Bright and Chow brought up the rear with around $290k. Parkins moved Chow to the rail, his jacks holding up against Chow’s 9’s (7th, $83,340).
A key hand developed between Gardner and Jeff Madsen after two hours of six-handed play. Madsen raised to $80k, and Gardner moved his chips in, covering Madsen. He contemplated - then made the call with to Gardner’s . Madsen caught a queen on the flop to double up for a monster pot of over $800k. Gardner took Bob Bright’s chips a few hands later, out in 6th ($94,835). Parkins found queens to knock out Cohen a few hands later, his J-10o never improving (5th, $112,077).
The key hand of the final table played out a few minutes later. Parkins raised to $75k on the button, and then Madsen increased it to $220k. Parkins shoved and got a quick call, a massive pot as Madsen put his last $615k into the pot with his . Parkins turned over black aces , but the flop was just a monster . Parkins built his stack to over $400k, but Madsen finished him off eventually (4th, $132,194). At $1.8M, Madsen had more than Gardner and Sheng combined. They played twenty-five hands without seeing a river card, most of the play ending before it began. Through this play, Gardner had lost about half of his chips, with Sheng’s stack growing. Madsen raised to $90k, and Gardner called. The flop came spades, , and Madsen put Gardner all-in for his last $300k. Gardner called with top pair , while Madsen remarkably had bluffed with . His flush draw was live, and the brought a straight draw into play. The ended it brutally for Gardner, as he left the stage in 3rd ($172,427).
Heads-up, Madsen had around $2.3M to Sheng’s stack just under $1M. It started with a limp, a check, and a flop of . After such a peaceful start to the hand, it got furious, with Madsen’s $35k raised by Sheng’s $125k. Madsen then made it $300k and Sheng called. The was the bingo card for Sheng, and he moved in only to be instacalled by Madsen. Sheng had been so focused on that open ended straight draw with his . Madsen flopped a monster, with the made jack-high straight. The river ended it, and Sheng had made a great run to finish 2nd ($330,485).
For Jeff Madsen a month after his 21st birthday, it was some kind of month. He showed he’s no fluke, with a 3rd place in last week’s Limit Omaha H/L to go with this finish. His new bracelet was no gift, nor was the $660,948 first prize. No, this was something that he worked hard for like any young college student should during the summer. Only few have to figure out how much to tip from their $660k paycheck.