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Jeff Madsen becomes youngest winner in WSOP History
For the third consecutive year, the record for youngest World Series of Poker (WSOP) winner has been broken. Jeff Madsen, a 21-year-old UC-Santa Barbara college student, took the title from Eric Froehlich when he won the $2,000 No-Limit Hold'em event. In 2005, Froehlich had taken the title from Gavin Griffin, who became the youngest player in history to win a gold bracelet in 2004.
Jeff Madsen, aged 21 years, one month, and nine days, has likely set a record that won't be broken for quite some time. Madsen defeated a whopping 1,578 players, who each put up $2,000 to enter Event 22 at this year's WSOP. First place paid $660,948.
It took two long days to eliminate most of the huge field, and on Day 3, the nine finalists took the stage to play for the championship. The final table included Madsen, Troy Parkins, Bob Bright, Billy Duarte, Julian Gardner, Michael Chow, Robert Dylon Cohen, John Shipley and Paul Sheng.
Heads-up play came down to Madsen vs. Sheng, with Madsen having a better than 2-to-1 chip lead. It didn't take long for the final hand of the tournament to come. Madsen had J-7 versus Sheng's A-7.
Madsen's hand was completely dominated, normally a bad situation, but all the chips went into the pot on the turn when the board showed 10-9-8-6. Both players had a seven, good for a straight. However, Madsen also had a jack, which meant a higher straight. It was a brutal way for Sheng to lose, but there's not much defense against a higher straight.
Following his win, Madsen demonstrated why he's been so successful in poker at such a young age. He displayed none of the bravado that one might expect from someone who had just won $660,948 at the World Series. Remarkably, this was Madsen's second big cash at this year's WSOP. He also finished third in the Omaha Hi-Lo championship two weeks ago - good for $97,552.
Madsen is currently a film student at UC-Santa Barbara. He says he hopes to eventually get into film and perhaps try his hand at directing.
"I will definitely finish college," Madsen said. "College is very important, so it will be part of my life. But the reality is I'm still young, so I have some time to figure things out."
Despite his youth, Madsen has played live casino poker for nearly three years. He played regularly at various California Indian casinos near his home, where the legal gambling age is 18. Due to Nevada state law, this is the first year he was eligible to play at the WSOP.
Madsen expects that his record might stand for quite some time.
"It's going to be tough [to break]," Madsen said. "I'm just lucky that my birthday was so close. It's going to be hard, since I'm 21 and one month. It will sure be tough to break that record."