A non-American came away as the World Series of Poker Main Event champion for the fourth year in a row on Saturday at Bally’s casino in Las Vegas. After topping a field of 8,663, Norway’s Espen Jorstad walked away as the latest winner in the biggest event in poker, earning the championship bracelet and $10 million.
The event saw nine days of play including three starting flights. The tournament produced an $80.8 million prize pool, the second-largest in series history.
“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.”
WSOP Main Event final table action
Reaching the pinnacle of the poker world certainly isn’t easy. Play carries on for days and brings plenty of mental and physical exhaustion. The event reached the final 10 players on Friday and then the final three battled it out to a winner on Saturday.
Jorstad defied some recent trends where Main Event chip leaders can’t turn that stack into a title. He returned tied as the leader on Friday and then also held the lead on Saturday.
Some savvy play and steering clear of any major mistakes helped Jorstad on his way to the title. Australia’s Adrian Attenborough, 28, and Argentina’s Michael Duek, 23, also returned to action on Saturday. Jorstad held twice the chips of Attenborough and four times as many as Duek.
Duek was the first player to fall, calling a river all-in shove from Attenborough. Duek held K♥8♦ on a board of Q♦10♣5♥K♠3♠. However, Attenborough tabled A♣J♣ for the Broadway straight.
Taking the title
When heads-up play began, Jorstad had about 50 million more chips than his opponent. The first hand brought plenty of controversy as Attenborough took about 18 minutes before making a decision. The hand saw a huge river bet and the Australian agonized over the hand.
The tank heard around the world.
Espen Jorstad strikes first in heads-up play after moving all in on the river and putting Adrian Attenborough in the cage with his bluff catcher.
— PokerGO (@PokerGO) July 16, 2022
Attenborough eventually sent his hand into the muck, but would bounce back. He eventually took the chip lead himself. That wouldn’t last and Jorstad recaptured the chip lead.
The final hand left Attenborough with another huge decision and this time he couldn’t get away from his cards. On a flop of 4♥2♥2♣, Attenborough checked the action with two pair, holding J♣4♠. Jorstad bet 4 million into the pot, only to see the Australian raise to 14 million.
Jorstad, with Q♦2♠, then three-bet to 32 million and Attenborough called. The 8♠ fell on the turn and Attenborough checked. Seeing a bet of 62 million, he made the call again.
The Q♣ on the river gave Jorstad a full house and he put Attenborough all in. Once again Attenborough faced a tough decision, but wasn’t able to get away from his two pair. He eventually called and faced the sad facts in front of him.
Jorstad’s rail cheered his victory and he represents the game as poker’s world champion over the next year.
“It feels very good,” he noted immediately after the win on the PokerGO stream. “It’s still sinking in.”
Poker’s world champion
Jorstad described his opponent as a tough competitor who wasn’t easy to tackle. He’d hoped one of the other players at the final table might match up with him instead.
“My opponent, Attenborough, was the one guy I didn’t want to meet heads up,” he said on PokerGO. “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.”
The win makes it bracelet No. 2 for the Norwegian poker pro this summer. In June, he teamed up with PartyPoker ambassador Patrick Leonard for the $1,000 Tag Team event. Both men scored their first bracelet in that win.
The Main Event bracelet is composed of 500 grams of 10-karat white and yellow gold. The redesigned jewelry piece also includes 55.5 karats or 2,767 precious stones including rubies and black and white diamonds.
The Main Event may be complete but the WSOP doesn’t conclude until Wednesday, with several tournaments still underway. Here are the top payouts from 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