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Espen Jorstads Chalks Up World Series of Poker Main Event Title

By Sean Chaffin

 

Winning any poker tournament isn’t easy. But taking down the World Series of Poker Main Event is another story entirely. The $10,000 buy-in event is the biggest tournament on the poker calendar each year and attracts thousands of players from around the world. Those who make a final table appearance face up to 12 hours a day at the tables across nine days of play. Players face mental and physical exhaustion, and any mistake could potentially send a player exiting the tournament.

For 2022, the traditional Main Event and entire festival moved to the Las Vegas Strip for the first time. The Main Event wrapped up in July with 8,663 players producing an $80.8 million prize pool, the second largest in the tournament’s history. Norway’s Espen Jorstad emerged as the champion for a cool $10 million.

Those who haven’t checked out the event in person or on television may not understand the scene as the final table plays out. Fans and supporters, often downing a few cocktails as the action progresses, gather around the PokerGO/CBS Sports set to take in the action at Bally’s. WSOP officials even display the winner’s cash right on the table when play reaches heads up. The pressure can be intense.

Jorstad put all that in the back of his mind, however, taking the chip lead into the final table and then on to the final three – eventually going from chip leader to champion.

“I think it’s going to mean more in a few days when it sinks in,” he told PokerGO after the victory. “Right now it just feels absurd. I was just so focused on this match. I came in today to just play poker. I tried not to think too much about what was at stake here. I was just trying to play the best poker.”

Steady throughout, Jorstad avoided falling into any major traps or making many mistakes. He even remained stoic in a unique situation in which his opponent, Australia’s Adrian Attenborough, took almost 20 minutes to act on the first hand of heads-up play. He offered his strategy during such a long wait for his opponent: “I just took a break, did some meditation, chilled out.”

Attenborough took home $6 million for runner-up after battling gamely at the final table. In fact, Jorstad admitted that he wasn’t looking forward to facing the Aussie.

“My opponent, Attenborough, was the one guy I didn’t want to meet heads up,” he said. “He’s the one who’s been giving me the most trouble for the whole tournament. But (today) I kept making good hands (at the final table), fortunately. The cards just fell in my favor today.”

Beyond such a massive score, Jorstad also locked up the biggest trophy in poker – the Main Event bracelet. WSOP officials had the jewelry piece redesigned this year with 500 grams of 10-karat white and yellow gold as well as 55.5 karats or 2,767 precious stones including rubies and black and white diamonds. The bracelet offers the winner some major bling and this was actually Jorstad’s second bracelet after winning his first ever earlier in the summer in the $1,000 Tag Team event.

After the dust settled, the poker pro had to make one special phone call after finishing off the Main Event with a win. Jorstad said his mother was in tears when the two spoke afterward.

“It was a very emotional call,” he said. “She could barely speak. She is my biggest fan, so to be able to share that moment with her was very special.”

 

 

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