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Martin Jacobson: “It is Always Meaningful to Win a Bracelet”

Martin Jacobson: “It is Always Meaningful to Win a Bracelet”

Thousands of players have already flocked to the new home of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) at Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas with hopes to bring home the gold.

It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that Martin Jacobson will be among the mix looking to add a second WSOP bracelet to his collection. Jacobson was already an established poker player when he became a household name in 2014 when he won the WSOP $10,000 Main Event for a cool $10 million. Only Jamie Gold won more in a single WSOP Main Event eight years earlier when he banked $12 million in 2006, while Hossein Ensan matched Jacobson’s total with a $10 million haul when he won the Main Event just before the pandemic changed the landscape in 2019.

Jacobson is focused on making the most out of poker’s summer camp and will be sharing his journey via short video clips both at PokerListings.com and on the Martin Jacobson YouTube channel.

PokerListings sat down to learn more about Jacobson’s plans at the WSOP and more in an exclusive interview.

Play as Much as Possible While Avoiding Burnout

Martin Jacobson Wins 2014 WSOP Main Event

As usual, Jacobson plans to play as much as possible while also being cognizant of burnout.

“My ambition each year is always to play as much as possible, within the balance of avoiding burnout,” Jacobson began. “It can be tricky to find the equilibrium where you put in a lot of volume without reaching a point where you simply don't feel like playing anymore. From my experience, that's a clear sign that it's time to take a day or two off. I try to allow myself the flexibility to skip events even if they're in my pre-planned schedule. Given that every casino offers its own tournament series in parallel with the WSOP, it's tempting to play every single day. That being said, the bracelet events always get prioritized. I don't care what anyone says, to me it will always be meaningful to win a bracelet.”

Jacobson will be taking days off as many do that come out to Las Vegas for a full summer and shared his plans which include leaving Sin City behind for a few days.

“My days off are usually spent relaxing and/or recovering from the grind,” explained Jacobson “It's often a mixture of healthy activities such as getting in a solid workout and some sun and socializing with friends and forgetting about the game for a day while playing golf or going out for dinner. This year I'm also going on a 4-day rafting trip up in Oregon in the middle of the series. There won't be any phone reception so it will be nice to fully recharge the batteries while in nature. Vegas can indeed get very hectic with its intense energy, so I always try to get out of town for a few days to further steer clear of burning out.”

Obviously, Jacobson will be fresh for the WSOP Main Event in hopes of becoming a two-time world champion but his favorite tournaments also include battling it out in the high-octane 6-max events.

“My personal favorites other than the obvious Main Event are the 6-max events,” said Jacobson. “In short-handed formats, you're forced to play more hands which makes them more complex and a fun battle.”

Eating Healthy and Routine

Many successful poker players not only routinely study advanced poker concepts but also try to live a healthy lifestyle and follow a routine. Jacobson explains what works for him.

“I eat pretty healthy year-round but especially during the WSOP,” Jacobson said. “The way I view it is to fuel my body in order to perform at its finest. I wouldn't put sugar or trans fats in my car so why would I put it in my body when it's scientifically proven to lead to sub-optimal performance? I like to cook and meal prep on my days off but I have also been using a meal plan service in the past.”

Bad beats and grinding for days and coming up empty-handed is a fact of life for even the most successful poker tournament players. Jacobson explained how he mentally prepares each day especially after grinding one or two full days and coming up short of the money. 

“This is where I find having a routine helps,” Jacobson said. “It resets the body and mind to a point where it's easier to move on and look forward rather than to dwell in the past. My daily routine consists of a short meditation upon awakening followed by coffee and a short, low-intensity workout) to get the blood and endorphins flowing to the brain. After a cold shower and some fresh clothes, I don't even remember what happened the day before.”

Training for mental performance is an important aspect of success according to many players. Learn more about how to train for mental performance in Jacobson’s video.

Wigg, Negreanu, Deeb Primed for Success

We were curious who Jacobson thought was primed to win their first bracelet this year. Dan Smith was off the table as he already won his first bracelet earlier in the 2022 WSOP but it is likely that Jacobson would have stuck with his pick regardless.

Anton Wigg,” Jacobson answered. “He's playing the full schedule and has been working extremely hard lately so I know he's eager to strike gold.”

As far as the WSOP Player of the Year, Jacobson went with two old-school favorites that have previously won the award and are consistently near the top of the leaderboard just about every year.

'”I’m not super glued up on the mixed-games experts,” Jacobson admitted. “But knowing that Shaun Deeb and Daniel Negreanu were the hottest prospects of the WSOP Draft, I would have to pick either of them. I don't know if the Swedish legend Chris Björin still plays but he would be Sweden's favorite for POY.”

Support Team and +EV Decisions

Jacobson shared that having a good support team is important for good times and bad.

“Having my friends around means the world to me,” Jacobson shared. “Being a professional poker player can get very lonely as you're essentially the sole founder of your own business entity. I am very lucky to have such a great network of friends with whom I can share both my success and my setbacks together with.”

While Jacobson’s eyes will always be on winning a bracelet but will always be making decisions as a professional poker player with the best EV outcome.

“As a professional, it's always to make decisions based on the highest $EV outcome (most amount of money),” Jacobson explained. “That being said, sometimes deviating from ICM can be a better decision if you establish that the value of potentially getting a big stack is greater than the risk of busting out.”

“Electrifying Feel from Historic Prestige”

The WSOP is special to most players. Even world champions such as Jacobson still feel the electrifying atmosphere.

“The best part of the WSOP is the electrifying feel it brings from its historic prestige,” Jacobson said. “Every poker player arrives in Las Vegas with a dream of winning a WSOP gold bracelet and that in itself creates unprecedented turnouts and just a great atmosphere. The only drawback is the logistical hurdles of organizing tournaments of such size and letting everything run smoothly. I think the WSOP does a good job overall of making sure everyone has a great experience.”

Biggest WSOP Ever?

Jacobson is optimistic that the 2022 World Series of Poker will be the biggest in history.

"I honestly think this will be the biggest WSOP in history," Jacobson predicted. "It's always tricky to predict numbers, and there are still a few restrictions in place for some nationalities in terms of entering the US, so we'll see. But I'm definitely optimistic given the turnout in the fall."

You can follow Jacboson’s journey with short clips he will be sharing at PokerListings and on his YouTube channel.

Martin Jacobson

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