Martin Jacobson sits at one of the outer tables, chin resting on a water bottle, arms lightly resting on the rail, hands covering his cards, a stack of blue 5,000 chips out in front. He looks relaxed. His opponent, Marc Tschirch, looks less so. The German had led 31,000 into a 6♠2♦8♠ flop and didn’t seem to like the raise he was facing. He passed leaving the Swede to rake in the pot and chip back towards average with 550,000. Some 20 minutes later at the end of the second level of the day (level 21, 6,000-12,000, ante 1,000) he was up to 725,000.
Jacobson has a tendency to do well in tournaments, particularly on the EPT where he has made four final tables; third at EPT Budapest in 2008, second to Toby Lewis in Vilamoura, second to Lucien Cohen in Deauville and fourth at EPT Berlin when Ben Wilinofsky won. He was without doubt one of the form players of last year, during which he won a similar amount as Jake Cody, just to put things into context, and picked up the EPT Best Online Qualifier award along the way (finishing second in the overall Player of the Year rankings too). This year it could be much of the same.
The Swede is a very real threat here. Of his 22 live tournament finishes 13 of them have seen him reach the final table. It’s an impressive record that has won him $2,646,739 from the live grind. However Jacobson, who has shown his class time and time again, keeps falling at the last hurdle, he’s yet to score a first place finish in recorded live tournaments but has seven final table finishes of more than $100,000.
So what would it mean to win this event, I asked Jacobson.
“Or take second?” said Jacobson, grinning broadly, knowing his nearly-man reputation precedes him.
Indeed, or to come second.
“It would be pretty amazing but it’s still a long way off,” he said showing a flash of the Nordic realism that has served him so well in these late stages.
Last I heard Jacobson had plans to move to Newcastle to enjoy the friendly tax laws but it turns out that he wisely* opted to move to the capital instead, buying a flat in Islington, North London where he now lives with girlfriend. Should he make another final table he’ll be able to add at least another $156,000 to his takings, but this tournament here in the Bahamas would be a mighty fine time to finally break that first-place duck.
*I am a Londoner and unashamedly biased.