We have a new World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event champion.
Meet Espen Uhlen Jorstad from Norway. On Saturday (July 16, 2022) he took down the most prestigious event on the poker calendar for a life-changing $10 million.
— PokerGO (@PokerGO) July 17, 2022
In doing so, the 34-year-old became the first Norwegian to take down the big one and now sits atop Norway’s all-time money list.
Here’s a brief recap of Jorstad’s career so far.
Jorstad began his competitive gaming career in his teens. He was a talented and prolific World of Warcraft player who would play almost every day.
But this way of life–while great for honing his WoW skills–did little for his health and Jorstad found himself overweight.
When he was 18 he was called up for the Norwegian army and used this as an opportunity to improve his health and fitness, as well as change his appearance.
“I basically made a decision as I was very self-conscious and insecure about my weight,” he told VIP Grinders. “During that year I lost about 18 kgs and realized that exercising and eating healthy was actually not all that horrible.”
Since then, Jorstad has put a lot of effort into staying in shape, both physically and mentally.
“To improve in these areas I have been doing stuff like exercising, eating healthy, practising meditation and ‘journaling’,” he said.
“It’s a really quick and simple exercise, as I write down three things every morning that I am grateful for, as well as three things I will do to make that day great. In the evening I’ll write down three amazing things that happened that day, as well as how I could have made that day better.”
There’s no doubt the confidence-building exercises he adopted helped his poker game when he started playing seriously in his twenties.
Jorstad became a cash game grinder and after several years in the game, moving up the stakes, he made the decision to start streaming his play on Twitch.
“I saw that almost nobody was streaming cash games, at least not at any decent stakes, so I thought there was potentially a market gap there, which I might be able to fill,” he said.
His stream soon landed him an ambassador deal with a poker site.
“I was very lucky, to be honest, and just in the right place at the right time. I messaged Unibet right before I started streaming on Twitch, as I was playing all my volume on Unibet anyway.”
They loved what they saw and Jostad was soon patched up at live events, where he began learning tournaments.
“I think it’s somewhat of an ego thing,” he said. “There is a lot more glory in the tournaments, right? In the cash games, I was climbing the ladder and reaching the first levels of “high stakes” online. I was playing still mostly NL400 on Unibet but also some NL1k, NL2k and a little bit of shot taking at NL5k. Unless you reach the nosebleeds playing in Maca
u for hundreds of thousands though, nobody is going to recognise you.
“Apart from the ego-aspect and the need for recognition, I also realised that more and more of the recreational money were in tournaments and that they were quite a bit softer than the cash games I was playing.“
By all accounts, Jorstad is an extremely hard worker when it comes to studying poker.
And as we now know, Jorstad was on a course to grab glory in the biggest poker tournament of them all.
During the online WSOP 2020, Jorstad enjoyed his biggest cash to date when he finished fifth in a $400 event for $59,796.
A year later, during the online WSOP 2021, he smashed that by finishing sixth in the $5K Online Main Event Championship for a massive $603,058.
Back in Las Vegas for the WSOP 2022, Jorstad clinched victory alongside Patrick Leonard in the $1,000 Tag Team event, winning $74,042 and his first gold bracelet.
And we know what happened next.
He went all the way, overcoming the 8,663-strong field to win the $10K Main Event for a cool $10 million.
Today was a very good day! 🥳
Tyvm for all the support and lovely messages. Truly appreciate it a lot! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/IaHS174Tt5
— Espen Uhlen Jørstad (@UhlenPoker) July 17, 2022
🥇 Espen Jorstad
The champion we need, but don’t deserve! He is going to be such an amazing ambassador for poker. He loves poker so much and he is not going to hit and run this score. He is now the favourite in the world to be best HR player over the next 5 years imo pic.twitter.com/3LJwAKQlQU
— Patrick Leonard (@padspoker) July 18, 2022