Norway’s Espen Jorstad is the 2022 World Series of Poker Main Event champion after outlasting a field of 8,663 players – the second largest in WSOP history – to claim the bracelet and a US$10 million first prize.
Heading into the final day’s play as chip leader, Jorstad endured a roller-coaster heads-up battle against Australia’s Adrian Attenborough in which he surrendered a sizeable chip lead before battling back to etch his name in WSOP folklore.
In doing so he also denied Attenborough’s bid to become just the second Australian WSOP Main Event champion after 2005 winner Joe Hachem.
Speaking to reporters immediately after his triumph, the Norwegian said, “I think this is going to mean more in a few days when it sinks in. Right now, it just feels absurd.
“I was so focused on this match. I came in today to just play poker. I didn’t think too much. I tried to not think too much about what was at stake here, what we were playing for, and whatnot. I was just trying to play the best poker.
“My opponent, Attenborough, was the one guy I didn’t want to meet heads-up. He’s the one that’s been giving me the most trouble the whole tournament. I remember on Day 6 as well, he kept winning every pot against me and I was like, ‘Get this guy out of here’. Then I end up heads-up with the guy and I was like, ‘Oh, not like this.’
“But I kept making good hands, fortunately, so yeah, the cards just fell in my favor today.”
This year represented the first time the WSOP has been played on the Las Vegas Strip, having relocated from the Rio to Bally’s and Paris after owner Caesars Entertainment agreed to sell the Rio in late 2019.
Now an annual institution for the global poker community, the WSOP was first held at Binion’s Horseshoe in 1970 when owner Benny Binion invited seven of the world’s best poker players to compete in a series of cash games – with the winner decided by vote.
Since then it has grown into the largest and most prestigious poker series on the planet with the 2021 WSOP attracting a combined 127,245 entries across 88 events and paying out a total of US$238 million in prize money.