New Jersey is good at poker, 8.1 million times over.
This week, Morristown resident Scott Blumstein won the 2017 WSOP Main Event, taking down Dan Ott on the final hand with a little luck on the river. Blumstein paired up on the final card of the day, bringing an end to Ott’s dreams of a bracelet and solidifying New Jersey’s standing as the premier breeding ground for hold ’em players.
How Blumstein took home the bracelet
The final day started with three players left: Blumstein, Ott, and Londoner Benjamin Pollack.
Ott and Pollack battled back and forth before Ott tripled up on a big hand and knocked Pollack out of the tournament. At that point, Blumstein had about a 2:1 chip advantage.
The champ ate away at Ott’s stack until, according to WSOP, Ott had about 10-15 big blinds left. The runner-up was able to take down a decent pot and temporarily revive his hopes.
Those hopes came to an end a few hands later when his A-8 fell to Blumstein’s A-2 when Blumstein hit a 2 on the river.
The 2017 WSOP Main Event was Blumstein first high-roller event.
New Jersey at final table four years in a row
Blumstein’s victory was the first for a New Jersey resident at the Main Event final table, but it marks the fourth-straight year a New Jerseyan was in the mix.
Here’s a list of the state’s final-table participants going back to 2014:
- Scott Blumstein – First place in 2017
- Michael Ruane – Fourth place in 2016 (and 10th in 2017)
- Thomas Cannuli – Sixth place in 2015
- Josh Beckley – Second place in 2015
- William Tonking – Fourth place in 2014
What’s even more interesting is that New Jersey players don’t just make it to the final table; they tend to finish in the top half. Cannuli was the only one of the past five to finish outside of the top four.
As a point of comparison, California had more than four times the entries as New Jersey but nobody at the final table. In fact, only four of the final table’s eight players were American: one each from New Jersey, Nevada, New York, and Pennsylvania.
“Money doesn’t motivate me; it doesn’t drive me,” Blumstein told WSOP after his life-changing victory. “I didn’t want to win this thing for the eight million dollars. But it’s nice to have some freedom now. That was the goal, to get to the point where I can do what I want. And I think I’m going to have that opportunity now, whether it’s poker, whether it’s business, whether it’s going back to school, whatever it is, I have the freedom to do that now.”