Scandinavian countries have many great poker players who have long and successful careers in this card game. One time, they were so good that they even conquered the World Series of Poker Main Event. Let’s travel back in time to the year 2014, and the legendary “Scandi Final.”
If you’re into the WSOP, you probably already know the outcome of this heads-up. A professional player from Sweden, Martin Jacobson, took down the Main Event and took home a total of $10 million. However, his opponent was also very set to win the same amount, and his name was Felix Stephensen.
This was one of the rare occasions where two non-American players met in the heads-up. The same thing was repeated in 2019 when Hossein Ensan and Dadio Sammartino reached the final part of the Main Event.
At the start of the final day, Jacobson was focused on van Hoof, whom he thought was going to be his main opponent. Van Hoof is an online poker legend, but his live tournament skills weren’t enough to face Jacobson’s calmness that day.
Both of the players went all-in, with both of them having an ace in their hands. However, Jacobson paired tens, and van Hoof paired fives, to be eliminated by the person who would later become the champion.
The Scandinavians Meet in the Heads-Up
For the first time in history (and the only time ever since), two players from the same non-American region made it to the final table. The neighbors from Sweden and Norway were up against each other.
Jacobson represented Sweden, and Stephensen was the representative of Norway.
At one point, Jacobson managed to gain a 6-to-1 lead. He felt it was time to end things, as he had pocket tens. On the other side of the table, Stephensen had ace-nine suited.
There were friends of both players cheering for them. Stephensen’s rail yelled, “Ace, Ace, Ace!” and Jacobson’s supporters responded with “Ten, Ten, Ten!”
A ten landed, meaning that Jacobson was officially the winner of the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event. His supporters came rushing to him, and a big celebration emerged, as he won a total of $10 million for his effort. Moreover, he won the biggest accolade a poker player can get — a gold bracelet.
Both players are now in their thirties. Stephensen was born in 1990, and Jacobson in 1987. In other words, Stephensen was only 24 and Jacobson 27 when they met at the final of the biggest poker tournament in the world.
That’s something worth admiring. It takes skill — but it also takes courage. It takes courage to go to a distant country and face thousands of players who are all equally determined to do the same thing — win the Main Event and have their name written in all poker history books.
The two players managed to make their names matter in the poker world.