Crushed By Crypto, Norway’s Jorstad Rebuilds His Bankroll With $10M WSOP Win

Main Event was devoid of star power, but poker hardcores were thrilled by one wild hand after another
espen jorstad wsop
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“There’s a saying that the only thing more interesting than a poker player is the person sitting next to them,” Matt Maranz said nearly a decade ago about his attitude entering the first World Series of Poker Main Event broadcast he’d be producing for ESPN. “It was a unique breed of person who decided to become a professional poker player. They came from all walks of life, they all were incredibly smart in unique ways, and they all had an interesting story to tell. Everyone had an interesting story how they got to that chair.”

Even the most anonymous of poker players do tend to have a compelling story behind their $10,000 investment in a WSOP Main Event. And it’s a good thing they do, because, unfortunately for the WSOP organizers in 2022, every seat at this year’s final table was filled with a previously anonymous player.

On Saturday, at the end of two weeks of play, Norway’s Espen Jorstad was crowned champion, putting his name in the history books, wrapping a gold bracelet around his wrist, and claiming the $10,000,000 top prize. And the 34-year-old had a need for the latter of those spoils far beyond what would have been the case a few months earlier.

Jorstad, heavily invested in cryptocurrency, saw his net worth decimated in May, changing his approach to the World Series.

It was quite a ride from there. On June 17, he tested positive for COVID-19 … on June 29, he and Patrick Leonard won the WSOP $1K Tag Team event, splitting $148,067 … and a few days later, he was playing in the $10K Main Event, buoyed by some added financial cushioning and the confidence that comes with winning your first bracelet.

No, Jorstad’s triumph over eight similarly under-the-radar foes at the final table wasn’t as marketable for the WSOP as an established star going for the gold or a woman reaching the final table for the first time in 27 years. But Jorstad — like most if not all of his tablemates — had an intriguing personal story.

And if nothing else, viewers of the livestreams on PokerGO were treated to some of the wildest action the Main Event has ever produced.

Two pair does not beat a full house

The final hand of heads-up play between Jorstad and Australia’s Adrian Attenborough epitomized the “WTF?!” nature of so much of this year’s competition.

With plenty of chips to work with relative to the size of the blinds (Attenborough had 58.25 times the big blind and Jorstad had him covered with 71.75 bigs), both players hit the 2-4-2 flop, with Attenborough liking his J-4 and Jorstad loving his Q-2. A raising war ensued, taking the pot from 12 million in chips pre-flop to 76 million. Attenborough wasn’t scared by the 8 on the turn and check-called 62M more.

A queen on the river gave Jorstad a full house. Attenborough checked, Jorstad put him all-in, and rather than fold with more than 30 big blinds left to maneuver with, Attenborough went for the “hero call” that could only beat a bluff.

“F*ck! I’m out,” declared the Aussie when he saw that Jorstad was very much not bluffing.

Attenborough still had himself a reasonably profitable fortnight, as did the rest of the top nine finishers:

PLACEPLAYERPAYOUT
1stEspen Jorstad$10,000,000
2ndAdrian Attenborough$6,000,000
3rdMichael Duek$4,000,000
4thJohn Eames$3,000,000
5thMatija Dobric$2,250,000
6thJeffrey Farnes$1,750,000
7thAaron Duczak$1,350,000
8thPhilippe Souki$1,075,000
9thMatthew Su$850,675

Give ’em a hand

The misguided call by Attenborough to clinch the title for Jorstad won’t necessarily even go down as one of the 10 most memorable hands of the event. Among the contenders for the top spot is this correct hero fold by David Diaz:

And perhaps even better was this winning play by eventual runner-up Attenborough, who learned in quick succession that you live by the hero call and you die by the hero call:

Photo courtesy of PokerGO

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