Madsen on Third Bracelet, Growing Up in Poker

Jeff Madsen

Jeff Madsen won his third WSOP bracelet last night and for anybody following poker since 2006 it felt like a full circle moment.

Madsen burst on to the poker scene in 2006 and immediately won two WSOP bracelets in the same summer. 

It was in the peak of the poker boom and Madsen instantly became a star. He won WSOP POY and snapped up a sponsorship deal with Full Tilt Poker.

Since then Madsen has been reasonably successful on the poker circuit with a big Borgata title, numerous WSOP final tables and appearances at tournaments around the globe.

The third bracelet proved more difficult, however, and it took Madsen seven years to once again take it all down.

Last night Madsen topped Event 35 $3,000 PLO for $384,420. We talked to the California native about how life has changed since 2006.

PokerListings: How does your third bracelet feel?

Jeff Madsen
Jeff Madsen

Jeff Madsen: It feels good. It feels different than the first one because I’m more like a veteran in a way.

I’m still young but when you have a drought, at least in the public’s perception, it’s nice to finally break it. It’s important for me to know that my game has come a long way. It was also nice to win it in a non-Hold’em event.

PL: How did it compare to the two you won in 2006?

The first ones are more like a dream coming true. This one more shows that I actually know what I’m doing. My game has come full circle. It feels different in that way but they’re all sweet.

PL: The media has 2013 as the year of the comeback. Is this a comeback for you?

Not really. I think my comeback is more about mindset. I mean you can call it that but it implies that I haven’t had good results.

I’ve been having good non-WSOP results and last year was actually a pretty good WSOP for me. Just no wins. You can call it a comeback but I really think it’s been more gradual over the last while.

PL: Did you think it would be a lot easier to get three bracelets after winning two in the same year back in 2006?

Jeff Madsen
Jeff Madsen after his second bracelet in 2006.

Yeah. I had no real perception of the poker world or how it actually goes. I wasn’t really a grinder before that. I just won right away. I knew it would be tough but I think you can be overconfident as a rookie.

If I just played my best all the time and didn’t let anything affect me than maybe I would have won another one sooner. That’s not how poker works though.

PL: If you were a rookie back in 2006, do you now feel like a poker veteran after seven years on the poker circuit?

Yeah I do. I think I’m somewhere in between. I think I’m a veteran in the way that I know everyone and I’ve played a lot of tournaments.

I wouldn't call myself a veteran because I’m still young and there are things I’m still getting better at, but I think I'm over the first stage of my career.

PL: The poker industry has changed considerably since 2006. Was it weird to see that change occur?

Not weird. It’s been great. The game has grown a lot. In 2006 it was just starting to get big. I’m just happy with where it’s going and that it’s still popular. It’s cool that I’ve established myself and I’m here now.

PL: You’re more of a live player but are you excited for the prospect of online poker in the United States again?

Jeff Madsen heads-up for his third bracelet.

I haven’t really thought about it too much. It’s been awhile now and I've hardly played at all online since Black Friday in any respect. When it comes back I’ll be excited but I’ve always been more of a live player.

PL: Would you have any advice for a young player that just won a bracelet like you did in 2006?

It’s hard to give advice because people usually don’t take it but money management, understanding emotional control and putting things in perspective are big. Money management is really important and plugging up the life leaks. You shouldn’t get too comfortable just because you won. You have to keep working.

PL: What’s changed most in your life since 2006?

Just being able to manage things better and maturing as a person. I’m still the same guy but I think I’m more of an adult now. I was a kid then, and I’m still youthful but I understand responsibilities a little bit more now.

PL: Do you still enjoy the poker lifestyle?

Yeah. I think the poker lifestyle is just a term. I just live my life.

I love it because I get to sleep in and do what I love to do. I’m very happy I became a professional poker player. Losing streaks are tough but you still get to play poker and not have a 9-5 job. That’s why I play.

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