About Jeff Madsen

Jeff Madsen
Jeff Madsen

There are certain ages that have become rites of passage in the United States. When you're 16, you can get a driver's license. After you turn 18, you can buy lottery tickets and vote. When you turn 21, you're allowed to drink alcohol and gamble.

For Jeff Madsen, turning 21 was less about the drinking and more about being able to enter his first World Series of Poker (WSOP). It turns out his wait was well worth it as he became the youngest person to win a WSOP bracelet in history at the age of 21 years, one month and nine days. Less than a week later, he won a second event, stealing another record for the youngest two-time bracelet winner.

Despite his young age, Madsen's journey to the top actually began three years before he made poker history, when he was 18. He was introduced to the game by a friend the summer after he graduated from Palisades Charter High School in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

His mother, Harriet Madsen, describes her son as always being good at math and says he took to the game very quickly. Madsen built a small library of poker books to study strategies and the variations of the game, and worked on cultivating his skills.

Unlike most younger players, though, Madsen didn't rely on the Internet to develop his poker expertise. After he headed off to become a film student at the University of California-Santa Barbara, he was able to play live cash games near campus at the Chumash Casino, where the minimum gambling age is 18.

Madsen even got in a little tournament practice at the casino when he won two of their tournaments, collecting $2,000 for each win. He credits that experience with helping prepare him for the "big time." Those wins also helped sway his parents to pay some of his entry fees for events at the WSOP.

A few months before the June 24 start of the 2006 WSOP, Madsen went to his parents with his plan. He was going to buy into six events, but he needed a little extra funding from them. They kicked in $3,500 of the $10,000 he needed, and the rest came from a college fund his grandfather had set up for him.

According to Madsen's mother, she isn't worried about her son becoming a gambler. She describes him as being a competitor who loves the strategy of the game and is deeply committed to being a student of poker. Obviously a diligent student, Madsen now has two WSOP bracelets to his name as well as two other final table finishes. He turned his initial $10,000 bankroll into more than $1.4 million in tournament winnings during the first half of the 2006 WSOP. Not a bad investment for the college student.

Part of Madsen's strategy for tournament play is he plays "extremely aggressive, always aggressive," and is just trying to make the right decisions. He also thinks because he's young, other players tend to underestimate him and give him less respect, which often pays off for him on good hands.

Not everyone falls into that trap though. During one tournament, Madsen was seated next to Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, and instead of being intimidated or resorting to talking about poker, Madsen asked him about high school. He knew Ferguson grew up in Pacific Palisades, Calif., and it turns out the two went to the same school. At one point, another player at the table told Madsen he'd better watch out for Ferguson, and Ferguson responded with a laugh, telling the guy he'd better watch out for Madsen. Madsen was rapidly creating a huge chip stack, and Ferguson showed Madsen the respect a fellow serious contender deserves.

The other qualities that make Madsen a major threat at the poker table are he's good with numbers and reading people. He attributes some of his people reading skills to his film studies. He's had to watch a lot of films and see a lot of emotions portrayed in movies, so he's better at spotting them during play.

With a poker career now in full swing and plenty of star power emanating from it, one might think Madsen would consider abandoning his academic efforts and devotion to a future in film in search of glory on the poker tournament circuit. But, Madsen seems to be a well-grounded young adult, and plans to head back to UC-Santa Barbara this fall to finish up his senior year.

His plan now is to pursue a dual career, one behind the camera as a film writer and director and the other at the poker table where, more than likely, he'll be in front of cameras as his fame continues to grow.

Tournament Placing

Place Winnings Tournament
29 $11,055.00 WSOP 2016 - Event 23 - $2000 No-Limit Hold'em
245 $974.00 WSOP 2016 - Event 12 - $565 Pot-Limit Omaha
44 $2,381.00 WSOP 2016 - Event 5 - $1500 Dealers Choice 6-Handed
3 $129,651.00 WSOP 2015 - Event 67 - $10,000 Dealers Choice Championship
182 $2,967.00 WSOP 2015 - Event 59 - $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em
53 $8,627.00 WSOP 2015 - Event 51 - $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em 6-Handed
1 $301,413.00 WSOP 2015 - Event 31 - $3,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better
351 $5,205.00 WSOP 2015 - Event 16 - MILLIONAIRE MAKER $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em
19 AU$5,591.00 WSOP APAC 2014 - Event 1 - $1,100 Accumulator
188 $44,728.00 WSOP 2014 - $10,000 Main Event
278 $6,368.00 WSOP 2014 - Event 51 - $1,500 Monster Stack
4 $76,150.00 WSOP 2014 - Event 48 - $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Low
153 $3,178.00 WSOP 2014 - Event 44 - $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em
20 $18,095.00 WSOP 2014 - Event 35 - $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em 8-Max
117 $3,170.00 WSOP 2014 - Event 11 - $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em 6-Max
41 €2,341.00 WSOPE 2013 - Event 2 - €1,100 No-Limit Hold'em Re-Entry
33 $14,133.00 WSOP 2013 - Event 60 - $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em
1 $384,420.00 WSOP 2013 - Event 35 - $3,000 Pot-Limit Omaha
123 $3,178.00 WSOP 2013 - Event 24 - $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em
456 $1,830.00 WSOP 2012 - Event 59 - $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em
199 $3,324.00 WSOP 2012 - Event 56 - $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em
35 $5,363.00 WSOP 2012 - Event 52 - $2,500 10-Game Mix Six Handed
34 $6,478.00 WSOP 2012 - Event 49 - $1,500 Ante Only No-Limit Hold'em
26 $6,587.00 WSOP 2012 - Event 37 - $2,500 Eight Game Mix
25 $8,821.00 WSOP 2012 - Event 28 - $2,500 No-Limit Hold'em Four Handed
7 $36,809.00 WSOP 2012 - Event 14 - $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Shootout
80 $3,250.00 WSOP 2012 - Event 8 - $1,500 Omaha Hi-Low 8 or Better
36 $3,921.00 WSOP 2012 - Event 4 - $1,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Low 8 or Better
191 $3,088.00 WSOP 2011 - Event 54 - $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em
36 $4,065.00 WSOP 2011 - Event 25 - $1,500 Stud Hi-Lo
4 £52,542.00 WSOPE 2010 - Event 2: £5,000 Pot Limit Omaha
200 $2,308.00 WSOP 2010 - Event 47 - $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em
139 $3,403.00 WSOP 2010 - Event 42 - $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em
12 $14,030.00 WSOP 2010 - Event 4 - $1,500 Omaha Hi-Low
91 $7,500.00 2010 Special - NAPT Mohegan Sun
19 $87,500.00 EPT Season 6 - PokerStars Caribbean Adventure
49 $4,739.00 2009 WSOP - Event 47 - $2,500 Mixed Hold'em (Limit/No-Limit)
18 $65,370.00 WPT Season 7 - WPT Championship
112 $41,816.00 2008 WSOP - Event 54, Main Event No-Limit Hold'em
230 $2,968.00 2008 WSOP - Event 49, No-Limit Hold'em
8 $54,144.00 2008 WSOP - Event 8, World Championship Mixed Event
16 $20,680.00 2007 Special - United States Poker Championship
58 $3,235.00 2007 WSOP - Event 42, Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-low Split-8 or Better
25 $4,950.00 2007 WSOP - Event 20, Seven Card Stud Hi-low-8 or Better
8 $100,000.00 WPT Season 5 - Bay 101 Shooting Star
3 $65,971.00 2006 WSOP - Event 35, Seven Card Hi Low Split
1 $643,381.00 2006 WSOP - Event 30, No-Limit Hold'em- Short handed 6/table
1 $660,948.00 2006 WSOP - Event 22, No-Limit Hold'em
3 $97,552.00 2006 WSOP - Event 8, Omaha Hi-low Split