New champ rode skill — and luck
With 7,221 players, this year’s 10,000-buy-inWorld Series of Poker Main Event was the third-largest in the event’s 48-year history.
It was apparent from the ESPN coverage that New Jersey’s Scott Blumstein, who was the chip leader for most of the final table, was the man to beat.
Indeed, once Blumstein won a monster pot early on, the 25-year-old NewYork Jets fan never seemed to relinquish momentum. He picked his spots carefully, applied pressure when necessary and made some impressive laydowns.
The final hand of the tournament, which was hand No. 246 of the final table, took place in Level 43 (with blinds of 1.5 million-3 million and an ante of 500,000).
Blumstein, who held nearly 300 million in chips, limped from the button holding Ah 2d, and Dan Ott of Altoona, Pa.,who had only about 64 million in chips, raised to 8 million from the small blind with Ad 8d.
Blumstein, who was playing in his first Main Event, then sprung to life by checkraising all in. Ott, also aMain Event rookie, thought for a minute before calling off his stack, and he was glad he did, as his eight kicker made him a 57 percent favorite, while Blumstein had only a 23 percent chance of coming from behind to take the hand. The two would chop the pot, or tie, 20 percent of the time.
The Js 6s 5h flopmadeOtt a 72 percent favorite, reducing Blumstein’s odds of winning the hand to 14 percent.
The 7h turn removed the possibility of a chopped pot andmadeOtt a 93 percent favorite to double up. All he had to do was dodge a deuce on the river — a card that would come just 6.8 percent of the time.
The dealer burned one last time and put out ... the 2h! The long shot came through for Blumstein, who in the blink of an eye became a world champion and captured an $8.15 million first-place prize.
He immediately shot his arms in the air, then ran over to the rail, where he was engulfed by family and friends.
“Money doesn’t really motivate me, it doesn’t drive me,” Blumstein said in a post-victory interview with the assembled media. “I didn’t want to win this thing for the $8 million, but with that being said, it’s nice to have some freedom now. The goal was to get to a point where I can do whatever I want to do, and I think I’m going to have that opportunity now, whether it’s poker, business, going back to school. I have the freedom to do that now. That’s the American dream in my eyes, and finding happiness is part of that. What a good way to get there.”
Not only did he play and run well throughout the 2017Main Event, but Blumstein got lucky when it counted themost.