The 2017 World Series of Poker (WSOP), which was once again sponsored by us here at 888poker, was one for the record books. With 120,995 entrants and $231,010,874 in prize money awarded over 74 events, it proved to be the largest WSOP in its 48-year history.
Other records set included most countries represented (111), most players getting paid (16,814), and highest average field size (1,635 entries). One thing is for sure, it’s never been harder to win a WSOP gold bracelet.
On Saturday night, the last bracelet of the summer was awarded. It came in the 2017 WSOP Main Event, the third-largest in history with 7,221 players behind only the 2006 (8,773) and 2010 (7,319) fields).
After more than ten days of play spread over two weeks, New Jersey’s Scott Blumstein emerged victorious to capture poker’s most prestigious title and an $8.15 million first-place prize. We at 888poker were thrilled to support Blumstein on his way to winning poker’s ultimate prize.
Get to Know the New World Champ
The 25-year-old Blumstein, the youngest player at the final table, was a newcomer to the WSOP, but not to poker. The East Coast grinder had $312,142 in live earnings prior to his life changing score, of which $199,854 came last summer when he took down a $560 buy-in event at Borgata. He’s also won $147,046 playing online. Away from the felt, he’s a big fan of the New York Jets, Portland Trail Blazers and Oakland Athletics.
Now, he’s the world champion of poker!
"I don't have an ego in this game,” said Blumstein, who holds an accounting degree from Temple University. “I check my ego at the door. Just two weeks ago I was a New Jersey online grinder and nothing has really changed. Having the money, am I going to play a little more live poker? Probably. But I'm probably going to choose where I go based on location and what works for me as opposed to the buy-in of the tournament."
In his post-victory interview, Blumstein continued: "Money doesn't really motivate me, it doesn't drive me. 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."
Pollak and Ott Fall Just Short
On Saturday, the final three returned to action with Blumstein holding a big chip lead. On Hand #181 of the final table, fireworks flew when Ben Pollak, who was on the button, moved all in for 35.2 million and Dan Ott jammed from the small blind for 45.8 million. Blumstein, who had them both covered, then called out of the big.
Blumstein was looking to score the double elimination to seal the deal, which would have marked the first time in WSOP history the Main Event ended without the need for heads-up play. Unfortunately for him, Ott paired up on the K♦J♠3♦ flop to take the lead.
Blumstein and Pollak missed their straight draws after the useless 4♣ and 6♠ appeared on the turn and river. With that, the 34-year-old Pollak, who in 2013 finished 27th in the Main Event, was eliminated in third place for $3.5 million.
"My shove was standard, I think, with my stack of 15 big blinds,” Pollak told the media after his bustout. “Dan is pretty short too. They can fold a lot of hands here. I was surprised that Dan decided to shove king-nine off suit. I thought that was really bad because at best he has 60 percent equity. Scott’s ace-queen he has to call. Flop was amazing as well — king-jack-three with two diamonds. The turn and river didn’t help though.”
Heads-up play began with Blumstein holding 232,575,000 to Ott’s 128,000,000. Slowly but surely, Blumstein chipped away at his opponent, and while it took 64 hands of heads-up poker, he eventually finished off his opponent on Hand #246 of the final table.
It began when Blumstein limped the button and Ott, who holds a marketing degree from Penn State University, raised to eight million. Blumstein responded by moving all in and Ott called off the 55.5 million he had behind.
Ott, 25, was way out in front and stayed there on both the J♠6♠5♥ flop and 7♥. All he had to do was avoid a deuce on the river, but the deuce was loosed as the 2♥ spiked. Ott, who had just $3,656 in tournament earnings prior to the Main Event (he cashed the $1,000 Tag Team event with his twin brother Dillon), earned $4.7 million for his runner-up finish.
"I lost some big pots early so my strategy was to keep playing my game — the same game I’ve been playing for 15 days now,” Ott told PokerNews after his bustout. “At the end the chips didn’t go my way. The cards didn’t go my way. But I got second place in the third largest Main Event ever. I can’t complain about that."
Final Table Results
1. Scott Blumstein (USA) - $8,150,000
2. Dan Ott (USA) - $4,700,000
3. Benjamin Pollak (France) - $3,500,000
4. John Hesp (UK) - $2,600,000
5. Antoine Saout (France) - $2,000,000
6. Bryan Piccioli (USA) - $1,675,000
7. Damian Salas (Argentina) - $1,425,000
8. Jack Sinclair (UK) - $1,200,000
9. Ben Lamb (USA) - $1,000,000
The WSOP will now turn its attention to the WSOP Europe, which will see 11 bracelet events play out at King’s Casino Rozvadov from October 19 through November 10. Once again, we’re proud to return as a sponsor for what is to be one of Europe’s most prestigious series of the year.