THE BLUEPRINT: Martin Jacobson Breaks Down His WSOP Main Event Win

Martin Jacobson - 2014 WSOP Main Event Champion (Drew Amato Photo)

Martin Jacobson – 2014 WSOP Main Event Champion (Drew Amato Photo)

Martin Jacobson cemented his place in poker history and joined a very small group of poker players by taking home the most coveted bracelet of the year in the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event.

Last November, the Swedish poker pro and former chef came to the final table with just under $5 million in earnings and one of the more impressive resumes of anybody at the final table, but he was one of the shortest stacks.

In what many considered a nearly flawless performance, Jacobson slowly accumulated chips and earned himself a $10 million payday and his first WSOP Bracelet.

BLUFF caught up with Jacobson after the holiday season to get his take on a few of the key hands that he played at the biggest final table of his poker careeer.

Jacobson Picks off Stephensen’s River Bluff

Early on in the final table, with blinds of 400,000/800,000, Action folds to Jacobson on the button, who raised to 1.6 million and Felix Stephensen called out of the big blind. The flop was A32 and Stephensen check-called 1.8 million from Jacobson.

The turn was the 3 and both players checked. The river was the 2. Stephensen led out for 3 million and Jacobson called. Stephensen tabled Q4 and Jacobson took the pot with A9.

Martin Jacobson: “I think his defend is fine but I wouldn’t take it much further. He should be aware that I know he’s been very stubborn with his big blind defence so my opening frequency will be adjusted accordingly. Especially the way stacks are¬†distributed.”

“Post-flop, I’m continuation betting 100% since I have a massive range advantage. He shouldn’t have many aces in his range because I’d expect him to get those in pre-flop, given I have 21 big blinds to start the hand. I must admit I got a bit surprised at showdown when I realized he had played such a big draw passively on the flop. I think he might have over thought the situation a little, knowing that I know he can’t represent that board and instead thought calling would give him more credit and result in a less variance type of line.
In his shoes, with a hand that has a lot of equity on the flop but very little showdown value, I think I would have checked the flop and then shoved over the continuation bet.”

“When he checks and then calls the flop I expect him to show up with a three or two more often than not. I also thought it was likely he was semi-floating a hand like K-5 or K-4. Basically a hand too weak to check-shove, but a reasonable hand to call with given it has some showdown value and added equity drawing to the nuts.”

“Because he didn’t¬†shove the flop I’m almost fully excluding a flush draw out of his range. Therefore, I’m not afraid to let him see a free river because there are just very few hands that can improve and make my hand second best at showdown. If I bet the turn I will surely fold out almost all hands that I beat and only get action from hands that has me dominated. By checking I’m lowering the variance in this spot, making it almost impossible for me to go broke and I give him room to bluff with his floats on the river.”

Stephensen Bests Jacobson

With blinds of 500,000/1,000,000 and a 100,000 ante, Jacobson raised to 2.25 million from the hijack and Stephensen called on the button.

The flop was T63 and Jacobson bet 2 million. Stephensen called and the turn was the Q. Jacobson bets 5 million and Stephensen calls again. The river was the Q and Jacobson checked. Stephensen bet 11.5 million and Jacobson went into the tank for several minutes before calling. Stephensen tabled KQ and bests Jacobson’s AK.

Jacobson: “After he calls on the button, I didn’t expect him to fold to a continuation bet on that flop texture. Therefore, there’s no need for me to go any bigger [with the sizing of my bet]. My hand is too strong to check-fold and too weak to check-call. I think his float is borderline against someone who is likely to keep barreling and not afraid to make hero calls despite the high stakes.”

“On the turn, I should bet again in order to keep control of the pot and to make him fold out middle pairs and most of his floats, which still has showdown value and a decent amount of equity against my ace-king high. I also want to protect my own equity and get value from hands that I dominate, like K-J or A-J for example. Apart from K-Q suited or Q-J suited and maybe K-Q with one spade, I didn’t expect the queen to hit his range at all. I almost excluded A-Q from his range since I was sure he would have three-bet preflop.”

“With the river being another queen, the probability of him having one of the two remaining queens in his hand obviously shrunk significantly. The river is also a pretty bad bluff card for me since it is tough for me to represent a queen as well and I really shouldn’t be value betting many worse hands at this point. I remember my initial plan was to check and then fold to any significant bet, but once I started to break down the amount of value hands he could have, compared to the combos of floats which I still beat, I ultimately went against my gut and finally flicked in the call.”

Jacobson Eliminates Tonking in Fourth Place

As eliminations piled up and the tournament was down to four-handed play, the blinds were still 500,000/1,000,000 with a 100,000 ante. Jorryt van Hoof raised to 2.2 million from under-the-gun with Q7. William Tonking moved all in for 20 million and Jacobson moved all in for 21.35 million. Van Hoof folded and Tonking was in bad shape with his 22 against Jacobson’s TT. The board ran out clean for Jacobson and Tonking was eliminated in fourth place.

Jacobson: “At this point, Jorryt had a significant chip lead and was putting it in use in order to maximize his advantage. Any pocket pair is an easy all in for Tonking. His only concern is either Felix or myself waking up with a hand behind, but by moving all in, he is significantly narrowing down the hands we can get involved with.”

“I think Tonking should be shoving something like pocket twos or better, A-2 or better, K-T or better, J-T or better and maybe T-9 suited, but in reality I don’t expect him to shove that wide. I think he would have gone with pocket twos or better, A-8 or better, K-J suited or better, and K-Q or better.”

“A reasonable calling range for me would be pocket sevens or better, A-J suited or better, and A-Q or better. I wasn’t worried about Jorryt over-calling given how wide he was opening and the amount of blockers in my and and my opponents hand. He would also need a really strong hand to call two all ins with and the probability of that is very slim.”

Jacobson Eliminates van Hoof in Third

The final three players came back on the second day of the final table and the blinds were 800,000/1,600,000 with a 200,000 ante when van Hoof raised to 3.6 million on the button. Jacobson three-bet to 9.2 million from the small blind and van Hoof moved all in for 46.2 million. Jacobson snap-called and tabled AT and was in great shape against van Hoof’s A5. Jacobson was a big favorite and held up to get heads-up against Stephensen for the title.

Jacobson: “My read on the situation was that Jorryt had lost a big portion of the momentum he had gained on the first day and was now suddenly down to 30 big blinds. I had been three-betting him a couple times before in similar spots, so when I looked at my hand, it was no-brainer to three-bet again in order to induce an all-in. I knew that his game plan was to go for the win and that this was a situation where he wouldn’t mind taking a high variance play if he had something that either played decent if he got called or blocked some of my value hands. Since I already made my decision before I raised him, it was an easy call once he moved in.”

Jacobson used the momentum he had from the third and fourth place knockouts to make short work of Stephensen heads-up and earn himself $10 million and the Main Event bracelet.

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