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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Superstars

Where Are They Now – Jeff Madsen

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Where are They Now is a series of an in depth look at all poker players - not just the pros - as they travel through one long game. Some of the players profiled are deceased but not forgotten.

When you reach the age of 13 or 14 most kids begin looking at their life as a series of age milestones.  At 16 they can drive.  At 18 they can vote.  At 21 they can drink legally and go into clubs and other age restricted establishments.  Then there is a whole other group of people online that wait for the ages of 18 and 21 for an entirely different reason.   Each year a new group of online whiz kids storm online poker rooms and take over the game by storm.  The newest batch always seems just a little bit wiser and more advanced than the group that preceded them.  When they turn 18 they have a few casinos that are open to them, and there they hone their live skills for about three years while waiting to turn 21, or the age where these new adults can’t wait to get to the Mecca of poker, Las Vegas.  Jeff Madsen followed this path almost word for word, but unlike many of the other kids who have had rude awakenings when switching to the live game, Madsen celebrated his first year of eligibility in Vegas with a bang that will go down in poker history.

Jeff Madsen was born in Santa Monica, California on June 7, 1985, and lived in the same house until he went away to college.  At a young age Madsen showed a strong aptitude towards math, which would of course help him in his current career choice.  For the most part though, Madsen instead concentrated on his athletics as one of the stars of the Palisades High School baseball team.  As a kid he has said his favorite memory is when his team won the city invitational that was played at the Los Angeles Dodgers Stadium.  Also, while Jeff Madsen is turning out to be a very popular poker player, he is probably the second most famous from his school.  Graduating about 20 years before him was one Chris “Jesus” Ferguson.”

Shortly before Madsen was to graduate high school and head off to the University of California Santa Barbara for Film School he was introduced to poker by a group of friends.  Madsen liked the game right from the start, and almost felt a calling to it.  Madsen went out and bought enough poker books to start a small library and devoured them all.  When he arrived at college he was pleased to discover an Indian Casino nearby that allowed players 18 and over.  While Madsen enjoyed film school he started spending more and more time at the casino.  He enjoyed cash games the most, and in short order became a winning player, but most of the money he made went back into school related activities.  As he got closer to turning 21 he began to think more about playing in tournaments, especially knowing the WSOP was coming around just over a month after he turned 21.  Madsen started entering some of the daily tournaments, winning two of them, for $2,000 each.

When he turned 21 Madsen didn’t have enough money to bankroll himself for the events he wanted to play in, and figured he would need $10,000.  His parents saw how serious he was about the game, and agreed to stake him in these tournaments.  The rest of the money came from a fund his grandfather had for him for college.  If his parents were reluctant at first, they would soon see that their decision was a wise one.

In his very first World Series Event in 2006 Madsen finished 3rd place in the $2,000 Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo winning $97,522, insuring he would be able to pay his parents back.  Madsen had thought that since he was just in college winning $50,000 to $100,000 would seem like the best thing ever.  However, his “best thing ever” was about to amount to ten times that amount.  On July 14 Madsen became the youngest World Series of Poker bracelet holder (now third), when he won the $2,000 No Limit Hold’em Event for $660,948.  Just six days later he made more history, and this record has yet to be broken.  Madsen became the youngest player to win two WSOP bracelets in the same series, winning $643,381 in the $5,000 Short Handed No Limit Hold’em event.  To close off his WSOP he made a fourth final table, finishing third in the $1,000 7 Card Stud Event for $65,971.  With his over 1.2 million of winnings at his first WSOP he ensured he could pay his parents back and have plenty to keep.
After this showing Madsen dropped out of school with his parents blessing.  He also earned a Full Tilt Sponsorship, who he continues to play for today.  Last month he won over $30,000 in their $75,000 Guaranteed Event.  For the most part though, Madsen prefers to play live, and he has proven time and time again the 2006 WSOP wasn’t a one-time fluke.  

While he hasn’t been able to win another bracelet, he has come close, cashing in eight events since 2006, bringing his grand total to 12 – a very good record for a player who has only played in four WSOP’s.  Madsen has also stated that one of his goals is to win a World Poker Tour Event.  While he hasn’t been able to do that, he has cashed in two events, including the final table of the Bay 101 Shooting Stars Main Event, finishing in 8th place.
One of the things that set Madsen apart from the other young guns of the game is his aptitude in a number of poker games.  Madsen wanted to became a “poker player” and not just a “player of a few poker games” and he has been able to show that’s just what he is.  Strong showings in Mixed Events have proven this.

Madsen has said that he has attributed his success in poker to his ability to read people.  He says he learned this skill from watching tons of movies, watching the mannerisms of the actors.  In other words, he is able to tell when people are “acting” at a poker table.  Madsen has said that while he loves his growing status in the poker world he hopes to be known equally as much in the film world as a great director.  Madsen has once again begun taking classes at film school, hoping to accomplish his dreams of being a dual-threat.

Madsen has also joined the likes of Prahlad Friedman in producing poker related raps.  Like Friedman’s these raps are available on a number of websites.  On top of wanting to stay on top of the poker world and make movies, Madsen also wants to release a music album in his lifetime.

*Read Billy Monroe's Blog *

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