After nine days of action from Bally’s and Paris casinos in Las Vegas, Norway’s Espen Jorstad emerged as the World Series of Poker Main Event champion on Saturday. The poker pro scored $10 million for his efforts as well as the championship gold bracelet.
The win came after the tournament reached the final three players on Friday and he becomes the fourth consecutive player from outside the US to take the title. After the win, Jorstad, 34, seemed a bit in disbelief considering his run to the title.
“I think it’s going to mean more in a few days when it sinks in,” he told PokerGO afterward. “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 … (and) just trying to play the best poker.
“My opponent, Attenborough, was the one guy I didn’t want to meet heads up. 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.”
WSOP Main Event final three
Jorstad ultimately topped a field of 8,663 players, which produced an $80.8 million prize pool. That made the tournament the second-largest in WSOP history.
The Norwegian took the chip lead into the final table and that continued when play reached three on Saturday. He held twice as many chips as Australia’s Adrian Attenborough, 28, and more than four times as many as Argentina’s Michael Duek, 23.
Throughout the final table, Jorstad remained a solid player, avoiding major pitfalls and putting opponents to the test. At three-handed, the first elimination came at about the 30-minute mark.
Attenborough moved all in on the river with a board of Q♦10♣5♥K♠3♠. Duek eventually called with K♥8♦ for top pair, but his opponent tabled A♣J♣ for a Broadway straight.
Third-place money earned Duek $4 million. After starting the final table in seventh place, he was able to move up the payout ladder for an extra $2.7 million.
Heads-up battle for the title
When play reached the final two, Jorstad held a lead of just over 50 million chips with 285.5 million to Attenborough’s 235.8 million. There were then plenty of pots shipped both ways in the heads-up battle, which lasted about an hour and a half.
The first hand, however, brought plenty of comment and criticism from poker players and fans. Holding top pair with King-Queen, Attenborough faced a huge river bet from Jorstad and took 18 minutes to make a decision. That did not sit well with some.
Where is the floor? If this hand goes much longer it's gonna pass the delay
— Doug Polk (@DougPolkVids) July 16, 2022
I would’ve called and been in my car already.
— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) July 16, 2022
Jorstad remained stoic throughout such a long period and Attenborough eventually folded. A big pot went Jorstad’s way after running a nice bluff that paid off.
“I just took a break, did some meditation, chilled out,” he said during the live stream.
Despite losing that early pot, Attenborough actually found the lead after winning a few quick pots after that hand. His opponent reversed that and the two eventually saw a massive final hand.
With the two men seeing a flop of 4♥2♥2♣, Attenborough checked with J♣4♠. Jorstad then fired in 4 million, but Attenborough raised it to 14 million. Undeterred, Jorstad pressed it up with a three-bet up to 32 million and received a call.
The 8♠ landed on the turn and Attenborough checked. Jorstad put out 62 million holding Q♦2♠ and eventually received a call. When the Q♣ came on the river, Jorstad had a full house to his opponent’s two pair.
Attenborough once again checked and Jorstad bet 131 million. The Australian had a major decision with his tournament life on the line.
A call and he’d hit the rail. He took several minutes and eventually called only to see the bad news. Attenborough scored $6 million for runner-up and Jorstad secured a life-changing victory. Here’s a look at the final 10 payouts in the Main Event.
WSOP Main Event top 10 payouts
- Espen Jorstad (Norway) – $10,000,000
- Adrian Attenborough (Australia) – $6,000,000
- Michael Duek (Argentina) – $4,000,000
- John Eames (United Kingdom) – $3,000,000
- Matija Dobric (Croatia) – $2,250,000
- Jeffrey Farnes (United States) – $1,750,000
- Aaron Duczak (Canada) – $1,350,000
- Philippe Souki (United Kingdom) – $1,075,000
- Matthew Su (United States) – $850,675
- Asher Conniff (United States) – $675,000
Huge series for Jorstad
The win highlights a huge series for Jorstad. Beyond the Main Event title, he also scored another bracelet as well. In June, he and PartyPoker ambassador Patrick Leonard both earned their first bracelets for winning the $1,000 Tag Team event for $74,042 each.
In the online arena, Jorstad came close to a third bracelet, finishing runner-up in a $320 online event for $20,638 at WSOP.com. After such a huge finish on Saturday, the new champion took to Twitter to thank all his supporters.
Today was a very good day! 🥳
Tyvm for all the support and lovely messages. Truly appreciate it a lot! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/IaHS174Tt5
— Espen Uhlen Jørstad (@UhlenPoker) July 17, 2022
The Main Event action may be over, but a few days remain in the WSOP with tournaments running through July 20. Check back with USPoker this week for updates on the final tournaments in the series.