Jeff Madsen: Three Months Later, Still on the Grind

Jeff Madsen
Jeff Madsen Playing in Day Two of the Festa al Lago Main Event

Unless you were on the moon or living under a proverbial rock during the 2006 World Series of Poker, the name Jeff Madsen will conjure images of final tables, bracelets, and lots and lots of money. Last July, Madsen became the youngest player to win a WSOP bracelet by taking first place in the $2,000 No-Limit Hold'em event at the tender age of 21 years, one month, and nine days. Six days later he had broken another record by becoming the youngest player to win two WSOP bracelets, taking home first prize in the $5,000 Short-Handed No-Limit Hold'em event. Add third place finishes in Omaha Hi-Lo and Seven-Card Hi-Lo and you've got the story of the World Series and a whole lot of cash.

Three months later, Madsen is still on top of the world. He has signed deals with Full Tilt Poker and management firm Poker Royalty, continuing to play poker professionally while he completes his university degree. I caught up with Jeff on Day 1 of the WPT Festa Al Lago at Bellagio to talk about how life has changed for the poker wunderkind.

So how's it looking for you today?

It's going good. I've got like $45,000, so, smooth sailing so far. I haven't even had to get lucky or anything, just playing steady.

Do you approach these WPT tournaments any differently from those at the World Series of Poker?

Jeff Madsen

Yeah, a lot differently. I mean, they're deep stacks so you don't have to gamble. There's a lot of room to play, so I can sort of establish my personal style and not have to worry about being all-in after six hands. It's definitely way different.

Have you been playing other WPT events this season?

Yeah, I played at Borgata and the Legends of Poker.

Are you planning to play every WPT event?

As many as I can. But I'm still in school, so as many as that allows.

Where are you going to school these days?

UCSB in Santa Barbara. For film.

What's your plan now that you're a name in the poker world? Will you continue with the sport or try to make a name for yourself in film?

I mean, I'm going to follow poker and then do something in film on the side, you know? I'm not sure. I still have another year, so maybe writing, directing, whatever. Whatever I get into.

How has your World Series success affected your life, poker- and school-wise?

Well, obviously my life is completely different now - how people react to me. But I'm still playing the same way.

Do people recognize you at the tables and come out to get you?

Yeah. I know a lot of the pros now, but also a lot of random people I've never met say "Are you Jeff?" so it's interesting.

What about in your general life? Do you get recognized at school as the kid who tore up the World Series?

Jeff Madsen

Well, people know who I am, but I haven't been on TV that much yet, so they don't recognize my face yet, but I think soon I'll start getting more people.

Between school and the WPT, are you still playing quite a bit online?

I play more online now that I'm on Team Full Tilt. You know, a good amount. Not like all day, but a few hours a day.

What's it like being a member of Team Full Tilt?

It's great. It's a great Web site and they have the best players on Full Tilt, so definitely I want to be there more than any other site.

Do you get to network with the pros at all? How often do you get to hang out with the rest of the team?

You know, there's certain players that are good friends of mine and others that I've only seen once or twice, but you know, they're all really nice and I'm friends with a lot of them.

Who are your closest friends on the poker circuit?

I hang out with like David Williams, Joe Cassidy, [Joe] Sebok; Gavin Smith has been cool, you know, [Erick] Lindgren. A lot of the guys, you know?

Heads-Up Play

Toughest player you've faced?

I've faced a lot of tough players. I don't know. That's tough. That's too tough to say. I play a lot of people, but Lindgren was definitely really tough.

Cool. Thanks Jeff and good luck continuing to build your poker career.

You're welcome.

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