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Jørstad and Serock Headline WSOP Online Main Event Final


Final table set, $2,543,073 for first

Last Sunday, after more Day 1s than there are letters in the alphabet, the WSOP Online Main Event finally played out its Day 2. 720 combatants took their virtual seats to compete for the $20m prize pool. Two re-entries were permitted and there were ‘last chance’ satellites that flung people directly into Day 2.

Regardless, GGPoker could not hit the eight-figure guarantee, taking a bath for over half a million dollars. Soft overlay is still overlay. 

it was a truly international affair

By the small hours of Monday morning, the final table was set and it was a truly international affair. Brazilian Edson Tsutsumi was the chip leader, followed by Russia’s Aleksei Vandyshev and the USA’s Joe Serock. These three are clear of the chasing pack, led by Norway’s Espen Jørstad.

Everyone on the final table is guaranteed $254,308. All eyes will be on the $2,543,073 first prize, with the top four players all guaranteed a seven-figure payday. 

Confusion in 2020

In many ways, Stoyan Madanzhiev Damian Salas made poker history when he won the 2020 WSOP Main Event. He became the first player from Argentina to win the world championship of poker, and only the second from South America. Salas was the first to win a WSOP bracelet having played the tournament on three continents. He also became the first person to win a tournament played out across two calendar years.  

After playing the early stages of the 674-runner ‘International’ Main Event online from Argentina in early December, Salas had to travel to Rozvadov in the Czech Republic for the live final table. He emerged victorious on December 15 and then headed to Las Vegas for the January 3 heads-up finale. There he faced off against Joseph Hebert, who has himself won the 705-runner ‘US’ Main Event. 

There is no doubting this awesome achievement by Salas who, in 2017, had come so close in the WSOP Main Event when he finished fourth. However, spare a thought for Madanzhiev, whose earlier and bigger victory at the WSOP Main Event Online was demoted in importance. He won $4m and, at the time, was led to believe he was the Main Event champion. He’s definitely not bitter… 

Some sympathy is certainly warranted, but the money and his brand-new partnership with Upswing Poker likely come as a comfort. 

Tsutsumi out in front with Serock, Do, Jorstad in chasing pack 

The numbers might be down around 30% from last year, but there’s no doubt that 4,092 players ponying up $5,000 for an online tournament is an impressive feat. The guaranteed $254,308 for the final nine is a huge bankroll booster, but the $2,543,073 up top is truly life-changing money. 

When the players retake their seats, as per GGPoker rules, the blinds will have rolled back to a 40 big blind average (300,000/600,000), meaning chip leader Tsutsumi has 100 blinds to work with while short stack Farmakoulis has 15. The current chip counts are as follows:

Edson Tsutsumi Jr – 60,403,591

Aleksei Vandyshev – 54,232,812

Joe Serock – 45,567,634

Espen Jorstad – 19,575,928

Christine Do – 15,918,120

Nikita Kuznetsov – 13,454,800

Dawid Smolka – 13,154,945

Renan Meneguetti – 12,581,552

Dimitrios Farmakoulis – 9,067,144

Of the remaining players, Joe Serock, currently in third position, is the most well known. His live and online resume is impressive. He has over $4m in live winnings and 14 ‘podium’ finishes. Frustratingly for the American pro, he has just two wins, with five second-place and seven third-place finishes. He will be looking to add another title to the one he earned in 2017, when he took down Unibet Poker’s special European Open event at the Wynn.

Another notable player is Canadian player Christine Do, who resisted tweeting about her progress until the final table was set. 

Even if you’re not superstitious, the act of alerting people to your journey or progress through a tournament can be distracting and may add pressure. But one player who is embracing that mantle is Norwegian pro Espen ‘Uhlen’ Jørstad.

Jørstad is one to watch 

A few months ago, Jørstad and his housemates Benjamin Voreland and Jonas Gjelstad teamed up with film producer Philipp Blank and poker commentator Henry Kilbane to create Overbet Express, a content-focused brand around the poker lifestyle.

So far, they have been creating content on Twitch, Youtube, and Instagram. Streams and vlogs have been showcasing their lives as high-stakes professional poker players. Now, with Jørstad’s deep run, the brand is about to get its biggest bump yet. 

VegasSlotsOnline News spoke exclusively to Jørstad ahead of the biggest day of his poker career. When asked about how his game has progressed in the past few years, he pointed to the pandemic lockdowns as a catalyst for his success.

Jørstad said: “From a poker player perspective, my game now is not really comparable with what it was pre-COVID. Being more or less forced to just no-life it for two years straight meant there was a lot of time to grind and study, and less time for travel and other distractions. Also, the fact that I spent these two years locked up with other high-stakes professionals was very beneficial to the progress curve.”

As he prepares for Saturday, the excitement is palpable, but Jørstad has been methodological in his approach. “I’m trying to spend these few days leading up to it wisely, to give myself the best chance I can of performing optimally. The main focus is gonna be to refresh some final table strategy concepts, by watching a lot of final table replays and analyzing interesting spots using a solver software called Monkersolver.” 

main goal is to eliminate or at least minimize any level of anxiety or nervousness”

Not wishing to leave any stone unturned, Jørstad has also focused on the mindset side of the game this week. “I’ve also booked a couple of sessions with a mental game coach. Not really sure what I’ll be doing with him, but I guess the main goal is to eliminate or at least minimize any level of anxiety or nervousness,” he told VegasSlotsOnline News.

In anticipation of a big result

Watching the latest Overbet Express video, it is clear what a big moment this is for a group of men who have clearly bonded through their experiences together over the last few years.

A big result would really cap off their time in London as the group plan to take their exciting venture on the road. “We’re hoping to create some exciting content as we’re leaving London in November to travel around the world for six months,” Jørstad said.

The WSOP Online Main Event final table will play out to its conclusion on September 11 at 17:00 GMT. It will be broadcast with commentary on the GGPoker Twitch channel. You can also watch Espen Jørstad’s stream on the Overbet Express Twitch channel. 





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