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Martin Jacobson: "I Do Feel the Responsibility to Give Something Back"
It's been a quiet, satisfying month for 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Martin Jacobson.
Sure, he's been on vacation for much of it after securing the $10m first-place prize with an impressive final-table performance.
But there's another big reason it's been so quiet -- no controversy. No backing disagreements. No bold proclamations about his level of skill. No arguing over his "worthiness" as poker's world champ.
Just a humble, respected champion being universally praised for being both a great player and a good person. Speak with him for just a few minutes and it's easy to see why.
The €50,000 Super High Roller at EPT Prague, ongoing as we speak with Jacobson still alive in the final 15 players, is the first big tournament the new champ has played since.
PokerListings aught up with him on the first break yesterday to find out what life as a poker superstar has been like so far.
PokerListings: Congratulations! Are the sponsors now queueing up to sign you?
Martin Jacobson: I haven’t signed anything yet. Right now, I’m just taking advantage of the opportunity to share this experience and what I’m going through.
PL: Would it be desirable for you to get sponsored?
MJ: Well, it would be nice, but it’s not something that keeps me awake at night. It’s not something I’m chasing.
PL: You've received plenty of positive recognition after your win. Not a single critical voice to be heard.
MJ: Yes, it’s been absolutely amazing and I really appreciate all the positive responses.
I think people are realizing that I’ve been working really hard and it’s nice that this finally pays off.
PL: You’ve had several deep runs in tournaments without winning a big title. Now you've won the biggest one there is.
MJ: It’s more than satisfying. It’s beyond my imagination.
PL: What was critical about your main event?
MJ: Probably the fact that before the final table, I was never totally at risk to lose all my chips. It was a very smooth flow through the tournament.
PL: The most memorable moment except winning it?
MJ: I would say the half hour before the final table started. We were standing outside the building and Ryan Riess was there.
There was so much on the line and we all had waited for four months for this moment. It was just a very exciting, very special moment.
PL: How has your daily grind changed since November?
MJ: Not that much. This win doesn’t really change my life that much. It was never about the money.
MJ: I mean poker was about money at first, of course, because I tried to make a sustainable living. But once you’ve managed to do that it becomes something else.
I was lucky enough to achieve that years ago. Now the main event win is, of course, a whole different kind of money, but it doesn’t change me as a person.
It doesn’t change my lifestyle, except it gives me even more freedom to do what I love to do, which is to keep playing.
PL: So you are embracing being a poker ambassador in the future.
MJ: Yes, for sure. It’s probably not something I would have chosen, but I do feel the responsibility to give something back and I’m ready to take that role.
PL: Ok, admit it: Did all this happen because of Bulletproof Coffee?
MJ: (laughs) Yeah! It’s a combination of many things, but that is one of them.
PL: All we know is everybody says it tastes terrible.
MJ: I love the taste.
PL: Are you using any other "substances" to enhance your performance?
MJ: Yes. I have recently started using CILTEP. It’s from a company called Natural Stacks that sells natural supplements.
It allows you to focus for long hours and I’ve been taking it since the beginning of the World Series.
In fact, I contacted them after I had made the final table and asked them if they would be interested in sponsoring me as I was promoting them, too.
They were, so in a way you can say I did get my sponsorship.
PL: And what about Snus?
MJ: (laughs) No. I tried it once in elementary school but it wasn’t for me.
PL: You're now also wearing a patch from the REG charity.
MJ: I signed up before the WSOP final table.
PL: Before the final table? So you knew you’d have to share your winnings. That’s a noble thing to do.
MJ: Again, I think it is time to give something back. Don’t get me wrong. I respect money. But I don’t value it as highly as other people do.