Espen Jorstad has won the 2022 World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in main event, defeating the second-largest field in history to capture the championship gold bracelet and the $10 million first-place prize.
The 34-year-old was the last player standing out of 8,663 entries, and simultaneously became first player ever from his home country of Norway to win poker’s world championship.
“It means a lot, it’s the biggest tournament in the world. It’s still sinking in,” Jorstad told PokerGO after the victory.
Jorstad couldn’t help but spoil the results for his mother, who was watching from home on a delay, calling her shortly after he had closed out the win to let her know he had done it.
“She was instantly in tears,” Jorstad said. “I think she was already crying just watching it. She was so nervous, you know, way more nervous than me. It was very emotional hearing her, how happy she was.”
The career-best payday he earned in this event increased Jorstad’s lifetime recorded earnings to nearly $10.9 million, with millions more won online. Jorstad actually finished sixth in the 2021 WSOP Online event last year, earning $603,058 for his second-largest recorded score. The former World of Warcraft standout now streams his online play on Twitch.
Earlier this summer, he and fellow online tournament star Patrick Leonard took down the $1,000 tag team event, splitting the $148,067 top payout between them. (Ironically, Jorstad defeated a team featuring Jamie Kerstetter heads-up, who also served as a commentator for the main event broadcast.)
Now with two bracelets to his name, Jorstad has moved into a tie with the late Thor Hansen for the most bracelets won by a Norwegian player. He’s also now Norway’s all-time money leader, passing Annette Obrestad, who won the 2007 WSOP Europe main event, and Felix Stephensen, who finished runner-up in the 2014 main event.
The four most recent main event winners have all been international players. Germany’s Koray Aldemir won in 2021, Argentina’s Damian Salas took it down in 2020, and Iranian-born German citizen Hossein Ensan was the last man standing in 2019. 2018 was the last time an American player won (John Cynn), and this year, no American made it further than sixth place.
Both Aldemir and Salas made deep runs in this event, finishing 75th and 27th, respectively.
Jorstad, who also has a master’s degree in brewing science, spent much of the final few days of this event as the leader. He ended a marathon 17-hour day 7 session in a tie for the lead with Matthew Su when there were 10 contenders remaining, and then bagged up roughly 57 percent of the chips in play heading into today’s three-handed action. Click here to read about the first day of the final table.
Australian cash game professional Adrian Attenborough was in second chip position, while Michael Duek was the shortest of the trio.
It didn’t take long for Duek to find himself involved in a big pot with his tournament life on the line. After getting a few shoves through in the first few orbits, the tenth hand of the day proved to be the last for the 23-year-old Argentinian-born venture capitalist now living in Miami, Florida.
Attenborough min-raised on the button with AJ and Duek three-bet from the small blind with K8. Attenborough called and the flop came down Q105. Duek checked and Attenborough checked behind.
The K on the turn gave Duek top pair. He bet 17,000,000 and Attenborough, who had turned the nut straight, just called. The 3 on the river prompted a big bet from Duek, leaving himself almost nothing behind. Attenborough put the rest in and Duek made the call to hit the rail in third place.
“This was quite the experience. Definitely a lot more amazing than I thought it could have ever been,” Duek told PokerGO. “Just being here, I’m happy and grateful for the outcome.”
Duek earned $4 million as the third-place finisher. This was his second third-place finish of the summer, having also made a podium showing in the $10,000 pot-limit Omaha event just 11 days earlier for a then career-high payday of $548,015. Duek now has more than $4.6 million in career cashes to his name.
The final two took a quick break for the tournament staff to set up the traditional pile of money and the bracelet for heads-up play, with Jorstad holding a slight 5:4 chip lead.
Incredibly, the tournament almost ended on the very first hand back from the break. Although that’s not to say that it was quick by any means. The hand involved an agonizingly long 20-minute tank from Attenborough, who was considering calling off his tournament life with just bottom pair.
Jorstad raised from the button with KQ, and Attenborough three-bet from the big blind with J4. Jorstad made the call, and the flop came down K108.
Attenborough bet, and Jorstad called with his top pair. The turn brought the 4 to put a second flush draw on the board. Attenborough bet 58,000,000 into the pot of 87,000,000 and Jorstad once again made the call. The river brought the 8 and Attenborough checked. Jorstad thought it over before going all-in to put Attenborough to the test for his remaining 133,000,000.
Attenborough was clearly uneasy as he hunkered down for an extended stay in the tank. He began a monologue, mumbling to himself as he methodically went over the possible bluffs he could beat. The tank took so long that it caught the attention of several top players.
“Can I call the clock from Twitter,” Joseph Cheong joked.
“I would have called and been in my car already,” added Phil Galfond.
The entire hand took longer than an episode of Friends. Doug Polk even pointed out that if it had gone on any longer, it would have bypassed the 30-minute delay and possibly caused a problem.
Jorstad never moved throughout the 20-minute staredown, and never considered calling the clock despite Attenborough mentioning it as a possibility. Eventually, Attenborough made the right decision and slid his cards away while Jorstad dragged the massive pot to take nearly a 3:1 lead.
“How long was he tanking?” asked Jorstad afterward. “It felt like an eternity. I was trying to focus on my breathing and do some meditation. You focus on different body parts, [even] each finger, just chilling in my zone.”
Attenborough would be glad he decided to give up and fight another day, as four hands later he managed to double up into the lead. Jorstad fired all three streets on a board of 964K3 with just jack high and Attenborough had no problem calling it off with kings up.
Jorstad wasn’t too far behind, though. The two actually traded the lead a couple times and Jorstad moved ahead in time for the next major showdown. Jorstad limped in from the button with Q2 and Attenborough checked his option, once again holding J4.
The flop came down 422 and Attenborough checked. Jorstad made a min-bet with his flopped trips, only to have Attenborough check-raise. Jorstad put in a small raise, and Attenborough made the call to grow the pot to 76,000,000.
The 8 rolled off on the turn. Attenborough checked and Jorstad bet almost a full pot-sized bet. Attenborough called and the Q completed the board to give Jorstad deuces full of queens. Attenborough checked and Jorstad moved all-in, putting Attenborough’s last 131,000,000 in jeopardy.
Attenborough, once again, went deep into the tank. The first time he held J-4 in this situation, he was able to get away. This time around, his tank was for roughly eight and a half minutes.
“People are gonna be like, ‘Why am I tanking with my hand?’” he said out loud. “But I really want to call this one.”
“Aw, fuck it,” the Australian said, as he slammed in a handful of chips to indicate a call. He could not beat Jorstad’s full house and was eliminated in second place, earning $6 million as the runner-up.
“Yeah, that was a bad play, I think,” said Attenborough moments after the event concluded. “I ran really good and I definitely don’t deserve to win $6 million. I was just along for the ride, but it sucks that I made such a big mistake at the end. But it’s okay, I’m super proud.”
Attenborough has cashes dating back to 2014, the biggest of which was a third-place showing in the 2017 Bellagio Cup for $361,660. He also won a Macau Poker Cup event that same year.
In addition to the title and the money, Jorstad also earned 3,300 Card Player Player of the Year points as the champion of this event.
His win earlier this summer was in an event that didn’t award POY points, so this was his first qualifying score of the year. It alone was enough to see him surge up the standings and into 16th place in the 2022 POY race, which is sponsored by Global Poker.
Jorstad was also awarded 2,100 PokerGO Tour points, enough to move him into sixth place on that tour’s leaderboard, which only tracks events with a $10,000 or higher buy-in.
When asked what he planned to do with the money, the Run It Once coach stated that he hoped to play more high roller events, and invest heavily in tech stocks and cryptocurrency.
“I’ve dipped my toes, but now I have a bigger bankroll to take some shots in those tournaments. I need to get in the lab and make sure I’m good enough to play them.”
Final Table Results
|| POY Points
|| PGT Points
|| Espen Jorstad
|| Adrian Attenborough
|| Michael Duek
|| John Eames
|| Matija Dobric
|| Jeffrey Farnes
|| Aaron Duczak
|| Philippe Souki
|| Matthew Su
Photo credits: PokerGO / Antonio Abrego, Enrique Malfavon.
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