WSOP Main Event winner Espen Jorstad joined Matt Berkey and friends on the Solve For Why podcast. Espen was accompanied by Henry Kilbane, with whom he co-streams on the Overbet Express channel.
Matt Berkey: You've been a serious meditator for a long time, did it help you during the famous 18-minute long tank heads up?
The tank heard around the world.— PokerGO (@PokerGO) July 16, 2022
Espen Jorstad strikes first in heads-up play after moving all in on the river and putting Adrian Attenborough in the cage with his bluff catcher.
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Espen Jorstad: I think it helped. Lately I have been practicing yoga nidra . This is a technique in which you alternately concentrate on different parts of the body and go deep into yourself, but do not fall asleep. It definitely helped me calmly wait out his long tanks.
Matt Berkey: If you were bluffing, would you still be able to control your emotions?
Espen Jorstad: I would like to believe it. In general, I had only one bluff all-in – in the hand with J7. But there was no need to wait then. My opponent, with two pairs, made a quick call.
Attenborough strikes back.— PokerGO (@PokerGO) July 16, 2022
Espen Jorstad puts Adrian Attenborough all in on the river, but Attenborough rivered two pair and calls to double up into the chip lead.
▶️ – Stream is live. Watch here: https://t.co/niEDphYWiO pic.twitter.com/0T7gDZ9EHT
Matt Berkey: How good it was for you that in all 10 days there was not a single hand in which the opponents had to think about your all-in?
Espen Jorstad: Yes, it was good. Although I lied actually, there was another big final two table bluff against Michael Dweck – SB vs BB. I limped with J7o, he checked. The flop was 853, played check-check. I don't remember the turn, but the perfect bluff card came up – I blocked all possible straights and bet 2x the pot. And on a blank river, I shoved 3x the pot.
Henry Kilbane: Meet the new world champion, he doesn't even remember his hands.
Matt Berkey: Chat suggests that you had Q7, and the board was 983T2.
Espen Jorstad: Yes, exactly. Damn chat, they always know everything...
Matt Berkey: And Michael folded KT.
Espen Jorstad: That's right, but he thought for a very long time. In my opinion, it's just impossible to call here. I would have tilted hard if he did call.
Matt Berkey: Obviously he didn't believe you.
Espen Jorstad: Yes, and he was right.
Matt Berkey: Live poker is so layered. If an amateur starts talking, I will most likely call immediately, and against a pro I will immediately fold. Recreational players start talking out of fear, while regulars do it to confuse the opponent. Why even waste time on math when you can just look at your opponent and say, 'I'm sorry, bro, but right now you definitely have nothing.'
Espen Jorstad: You joke, but when I played the first tournaments at the World Series, I asked myself: 'Why did I spend so much time working in software?' Did you hear that on the first day of the main, I folded kings? Terrible decision. The opponent was the most nit player in history... Forget it though, I don't even want to think about it.
Matt Berkey: I do know this hand and I will tell it. The flop was Q74, Espen bet and called a raise. The turn paired the 4 and Villain shoved. But Espen already knew that he would win the tournament anyway, so he simply threw away his kings. And the opponent with a sweeping gesture threw his QJ face up. This was top pair, a very strong combination.
Espen Jorstad: I finished the first day with a stack of 18k, and before the second day my friends and I went to a barbecue, where everyone reassured me – don't worry, it's the main, anything can happen here, you'll get a big stack.
Matt Berkey: You have good friends. And how did you set yourself up for the second day with such a stack?
Espen Jorstad: Quite calmly, this is quite a workable stack with the blinds, there was still room to maneuver. Moreover, in the first days, almost all tables are rather weak.
Matt Berkey: You are a real robot – no emotions, ready to work with what you have.
Henry Kilbane: Espen has always been like that. And because of this, the audience on our streams fell in love with him. I remember several six-figure first place tournaments where Espen led the top 11 but crashed on the final table bubble. “It's poker,” he comments on his elimination and calmly returns to some $215 tournament on ACR, where there are still 60 players left. 'Aren't you upset at all?' the viewers ask in the chat. And Espen always replies, 'I'm already very lucky to have come this far.' And the next morning, as if nothing had happened, he starts another session. And I still can't forgive the reg who beat me four years ago at Wynn in a $4k pot.
Espen Jorstad: I don't think I have the right to complain about bad beats after winning the main.
Melissa Schubert: Maybe you ran out of bad beats when you went bust with LUNA?
Matt Berkey: Ah yes! That’s a great story, tell us more.
Espen Jorstad: I started doing crypto in 2017, but back then it was just a passing fad. I Seriously plunged in in 2020, bought Bitcoin for $100-120k at $12k. After that, the price flew up, I began to be interested in other coins and transferred almost all free funds to crypto. Then I decided that crypto takes up a lot of time, and I still need to play poker, sports, and so on. I thought I'd rather trust the smart people I know. I started listening to some podcasts and consulting with friends. That's how I learned about LUNA. I got into it very early, invested $50k at a price of $6. At its peak, when LUNA was worth about $120, my portfolio was about $1.1 million. There were not only LUNA, but also other coins from the same ecosystem. I knew perfectly well that it was stupid to keep 2/3 of all my money in one cryptocurrency. But at that time I lived in England, and I would have to pay hundreds of thousands of taxes if I started to close my positions. In 2-3 months, I was scheduled to move to Portugal, where there is no tax on crypto. I decided to wait and paid for my greed. The crash came right after the Monte Carlo EPT, where I played a few expensive tournaments and was down $55k. Then I had big plans for SCOOP and the World Series, where I also planned to play all the expensive tournaments. And so the SCOOP started, the first week passed, I was playing a heavy session and I got a call from a friend: “Do you see what is happening with UST?” I looked, the price fell to $0.94, it was already very alarming. And in the next few hours, it became clear that this process could not be stopped. But I couldn't even cut the losses, because almost all the positions were in staking projects, from which I could not withdraw anything for 20 days. I could not influence the situation in any way, all that remained was to go to the lobby to look for the Big $109.
Matt Berkey: How much have you invested in these projects?
Espen Jorstad: At my peak, I had $1.8M in crypto, of which $1.1M was in Terra. Then the whole market began to fall, my portfolio fell to $1.6 million, and after the collapse of LUNA, $600k remained.
Matt Berkey: Did you play poker with that money in mind or did you set aside a separate bankroll?
Espen Jorstad: Naturally, the first. When I signed up for the $25k tournaments, I thought my bankroll was $1.8 million.
Matt Berkey: Surely in your poker career you have already experienced something like this, albeit not in such massive volume?
Espen Jorstad: Nothing really happened, even though I've been playing poker since 2004. But in those days, we didn't even hear about downswings. I started my career with $50 on Stars and made my next deposit after Black Friday. Before that, I had not had a single negative month. For 7 years!
Melissa Schubert: What did you play?
Espen Jorstad: I started out with SNGs, then played some tournaments, but the main game was heads-up cash. The tables were like an ATM. I returned to MTTs 3-4 years ago. After Black Friday, I played cash for a long time in small European rooms with very weak players, where I also almost never encountered downswings.
Melissa Schubert: Do European sites have weak players?
Espen Jorstad: That was then, and even now I would not say that it became difficult to win there. I played NL200-400 and had almost no big swings. There are no higher limits, the software is disgusting, but this is compensated by the level of the game. I encountered my first serious downswing a few years ago when I was already playing MTT. My bankroll went from $200k to $100k, but it was my own fault. I kept playing $5k tournaments, convinced myself that I could always get back into the cash and rebuild my bankroll. I lived then in Estonia, where everything is very cheap, my living expenses were minimal.
Matt Berkey: Now you have $5 million, what are your plans now?
Espen Jorstad: I'm going to look for a new LUNA. Seriously, I am still ready for risky investments, but I will try to think them over more carefully. I'm not so young, I'm already 34 years old, but I don't feel at all at this age. I don't have a family, I don't have to pay a mortgage, I travel the world all the time and I can do anything. No one will be hurt except me if I lose almost the entire bankroll again. But this is not included in my plans, I understand that now I would be risking much more. In general, I have always dreamed of playing high roller tournaments and I want to prove that I can do it. But that doesn't mean I'll start loading $200k tournaments entirely on my own. I have already been invited to massive private games, this is also interesting to me. I don't know how long it will last, a month or a whole year. As long as people want to play with me, I will take the opportunity. I plan to work a lot on theory. I have already said that at the World Series it seemed to me that all my knowledge was useless here. I am sure that such thoughts will not arise next to Chidwick and Haxton.
Matt Berkey: Have you already considered how many High Roller tournaments you can play in a year?
Espen Jorstad: I plan to play all $25k tournaments with good lineups.
Matt Berkey: There will be about 100 tournaments with an average buy-in of $25k. That’s including higher stakes tournaments that you can sell action for.
Espen Jorstad: Sounds too optimistic, I don't think there are that many.
Matt Berkey: As far as I know, high rollers do about that. With reentries, of course.
Espen Jorstad: I'm going to game select carefully. Tournaments where only regs gather are not very interesting to me. It will take some time to get used to such a buy-in. I'm not one of those who considers himself the best just because he just won a lot of money.
Landon Tice: You won the WSOP Main Event and don't you consider yourself the strongest player in the world?
Espen Jorstad: Deep down, of course, I think, but I prefer not to voice it to the whole world.
Henry Kilbane: Before the LUNA crash, Espen and I were renting a house in Thailand, and one day I asked him, 'You have a seven-figure bankroll, everything is going great in both crypto and poker. Where do you get motivation?' Espen replied that he had not been playing for money for a long time, he was interested in the competitive element and competition with the strongest players. I looked at a lot of things differently after that conversation.
Espen Jorstad: It's all about ego. Probably the case in children's complexes. If I had already been successful in kindergarten, I would not have these thoughts now. I want Addamo to be afraid to pull bluffs on me. But seriously, the main event is just one tournament, and winning it means nothing.
Landon Tice: I think you'd be surprised how many people think otherwise.
Matt Berkey: A lot of players generally dream of ending their career after winning the main.
Espen Jorstad: Yes, a lot of people told me that at the World Series. In general, there are a lot of people in poker who do not like the game itself, they have no passion for the fight. Such players seem to be caught in a cage – they have been playing poker for 15 years and can't do anything else. They don't even have an education, so they have no choice but to force themselves to play.
Matt Berkey: There is another type of player. They, too, have been in poker for a very long time and understand that the ceiling is constantly lowering. At the same time, for some reason, they are sure that in other activities with their skills, much more success can be achieved. They very quickly forget about all the positives of poker – freedom, travel, what you earn playing. There are thoughts that poker does not benefit society, that it is a waste of time. In my opinion, their self-esteem often suffers from this, and in a new activity they become, let's say, unremarkable average regs.
What are you planning to do in the near future?
Espen Jorstad: Soon I’m the series in Miami, then I was invited to Los Angeles to stream at the Hustler casino. We will play $100/$200/$400. I don't know the line-up yet, at the moment Garrett Adelstein and I have been confirmed. I have never played such high stakes. My maximum online limit is $50/$100, and live I haven’t got in to cash at all.
Matt Berkey: Q744. If you even muck QT to a preflop raise, they will tear you apart in the chat.
Espen Jorstad: Haha, thanks for the advice. At the end of August I will play a new series by Rob Yong in Cyprus ( ed. – Mediterranean Poker Party from August 19 to September 5 ), and then Triton starts there ( ed. – from September 5 to 19 ). I haven’t decided on plans past then – probably return to London to deal with taxes.