Jesse Martin was overcome with emotion on Tuesday night following his first gold bracelet victory.

The triumph was long overdue for the poker pro originally from Shrewsbury, MA who had waited a very long time for this moment.  Martin previously cashed 30 times at the WSOP, accumulating nearly half a million dollars in winnings.  His best showing had been a fourth-place finish last year.  That was his lone final table appearance for a poker career that dates back a decade.

Accordingly, most observers had to look upon Martin as an underdog when he took his seat at the final table.  He faced a formidable lineup that owned a combined 16 WSOP titles between them.  In fact, five of the final eight were gold bracelet winners – including Layne Flack (6 wins), Jeffrey Lisandro (5 wins), David “Bakes” Baker (2 wins), Johnny “World” Hennigan (2 wins), and Konstantin Puchkov (1 win).

Indeed, the $10,000 buy-in Deuce-to-Seven Single Draw tournament has traditionally been a magnet for the game's best players and a graveyard for the dreams of those who might hope to sign up and outplay a lineup of top pros who pretty much wrote the strategy book on how to play this game.

This is one of the oldest gold bracelet events on the WSOP schedule, dating all the way back to 1973.  Since then, the Deuce-to-Seven gold bracelet has been won by a royal court of poker champions, including Jack Straus, Sailor Roberts, Billy Baxter, Doyle Brunson, Bobby Baldwin, Sarge Ferris, Stu Ungar, Dewey Tomko, Seymour Lebowitz, Bob Stupak, John Bonetti, Freddy Deeb, Johnny Chan, Erik Seidel, Jennifer Harman, O’Neil Longsen, Barry Greenstein and now – Jesse Martin.

First place paid $253,524, but that appeared to be the last thing Martin was thinking as he choked back tears of joy during the post-tournament celebration.

“I feel like the work I have put into this game has all paid off here with this,” Martin said in a post-tournment interview.

The new winner was born and raised in Massachusetts.  He played sports while in school and attended college at Syracuse University.  Martin graduated with a degree Information Systems Technology.

He became enthralled in poker largely due to a longtime friendship with Allen Krux, who is the son of gold bracelet winner and former Main Event finalist Al Krux.  Martin cited the Krux family as inspiration to get into poker and gradually improve to the point where he was competing at the WSOP.  

Around 2005, he was about to move to Los Angeles to play poker full time.  However, the online poker boom happened during that time.  Martin started playing at various sites and destroyed the games to the point it was not necessary to move or play much live.  Martin played online poker for six years and even moved to New York City.

Just before Black Friday, Martin decided to move to Los Angeles.  He became somewhat burned out playing online poker and instead decided to go in a different direction s a cash game pro.  He regularly played $200-400 limit Mixed Games.  Martin also played a fair amount of $20-40 blind No-Limit Hold'em.

“I'm more of a cash game player than a tournament player, Martin said.

David “Bakes” Baker, from Las Vegas, finished as runner-up.  Despite coming up just short in this tournament, 2013 has been a stunningly successful series for him.  He's the only player so far with four final table appearances at this series.


Name:  Jesse Martin
Hometown:  Shrewsbury, MA (USA)
Current Residence:  Los Angeles, CA
Age:  33
Marital Status:  Single
Children:  None
Occupation:  Professional Poker Player
Education:  B.S. Syracuse University
WSOP Cashes (including this event):  31
First WSOP Cash (year):  2005
WSOP Final Table Appearances:  1
WSOP Wins (with this victory):  1
WSOP Career Earnings:  $683,383


WSOP:  How does it feel to win your first WSOP gold bracelet?
Martin:  I'm just really happy.  I've worked really hard at poker.  It's a relly good feeling right now.

WSOP:  You've cashed 30 times before this.  Did you play this tournament any differently from the others?
Martin:  I go to most tournaments saying the key is to really focus.  Most of these games, I've studied really hard, but this is a game I don't play all that much.  I have a lot of ideas on some proper things, but I went into it this time to have fun and also play my best.  I was going to let whatever happens – happen.  I just wanted to have fun with it.

WSOP:  Any other thoughts come to mind about this tournament and what made the final outcome different this time?
Martin:  It helps to run good.  I ran really good three-handed.  I got two really big draws.  Last time when I ran deep (finishing fourth) I was in a Limit Hold'em tournament.  I was saying to myself, that I need to really concentrate and play perfect.  I didn't take it that way this time.

WSOP:  Can you discuss your competition?
Martin:  John Hennigan is one of the best players in the world.  Jeffrey Linsandro plays this game great.  I was watching Davi Baker and I thought to myself that I would play some things differently the next time I play this tournament, just because of what I saw him do.  Flalck is an amazing poker player.  And the rest, of course were really solid.

WSOP:  Any final thoughts?
Martin:  I feel like the work I have put into this game has all paid off here with this.