Updated July 16, 2022 - 7:06 am
Espen Jorstad played the final table of the World Series of Poker Main Event in his socks.
“I usually play with my shoes off or with slippers,” he said. “I don’t like sitting with shoes on for a full day of playing. It’s not super comfortable.”
Jorstad felt comfortable early Saturday when action in the $10,000 buy-in No-limit Hold’em World Championship was paused. The professional poker player from Norway has nearly 60 percent of the chips in play and owns a commanding lead with three players remaining.
The Main Event resumes at 2 p.m. Saturday at Bally’s Event Center, with the winner receiving the $10 million first prize. All the remaining players are guaranteed a minimum payout of $4 million.
Jorstad, 34, eliminated England’s John Eames in fourth place early Saturday and enters the final day with 298 million chips, which represents 99 big blinds.
Adrian Attenborough, a Las Vegas resident originally from Australia, is second. Michael Duek of Argentina will enter as the shortest stack, giving the final table an international flavor.
“(Saturday) will be exciting,” Jorstad said. “I’m going to do some preparations, refresh how to be a boss three-handed. Refresh my memory with some chip-leader sims and see what’s going on.”
Jorstad, who lives in London, entered the final table as the co-chip leader and watched as his opponents’ chip stacks fluctuated wildly throughout the day. He remained near the top of the chip counts for most of the evening and was responsible for the final two eliminations.
First, he won a sizable pot to knock out Matija Dobric of Croatia in fifth place. Jorstad held ace-queen against Dobric’s pocket sixes and hit a queen on the flop to cross the 200-million chip mark.
“If that flip doesn’t go my way, I’m in the danger zone,” Jorstad said. “I would have had like 40, 50 million, and I would be the short stack. So, I’m lucky to win that flip, and from there on out it was kind of my time. I got a lot of good hands in a lot of good spots. Ran well towards the end.”
Rather than stopping with four players left as was originally scheduled, play went on and Jorstad continued to get hit with the deck. He picked up pocket kings against Eames, who held ace-jack and was unable to improve.
“It’s a spot where I’m chip leader, I’m opening a lot. So his rejam with ace-jack there makes a lot of sense,” Jorstad said. “I’m going to open super wide there. I can’t blame him for that. Just unlucky to run into it.”
Jorstad, who earned his first WSOP bracelet this summer in the $1,000 buy-in Tag Team No-limit Hold’em event, is looking to become the first Norwegian to win the Main Event. Felix Stephensen was the runner-up in 2014.
Attenborough, 28, enters three-handed play with 149.8 million chips (50 big blinds) after an adventurous day. He was down to six big blinds at one point, then ran up his stack and was the chip leader for a time.
Attenborough is looking to join Joe Hachem (2005) as the only Australians to win the WSOP Main Event.
“To be honest, I woke up so sick. I had a horrible headache, my body was really hurting. I wasn’t feeling good at all,” Attenborough said. “I just thought I was going to get ninth after everything didn’t go my way. I made a few mistakes as well. But then I ran really good.
“This feels surreal. I definitely don’t deserve to be here, but I’m lucky to have made it this far.”
Duek is the youngest player remaining at 23 and is sitting on 72.1 million chips (24 big blinds). Bolstered by a vocal rail, Duek also saw his chip stack go up and down during the day.
He knocked out Asher Conniff in 10th place after flopping quad kings, but saw his stack crushed when he ran into the pocket kings of Eames not long after.
Duek, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, then went on an evening heater, doubling up against Dobric to stay alive during nine-handed play.
He later eliminated Aaron Duczak in seventh place and won a massive pot against Attenborough to take the chip lead with six players left before he sent a chunk of his chips to Jorstad in a hand during the final level.