[toc]The World Series of Poker (WSOP) crowned a new champion on Saturday night: 25-year-old Scott Blumstein. Born and raised in Morristown, New Jersey, Blumstein now resides in Brigantine.
Blumstein’s win capped off what can only be described as a remarkable WSOP Main Event.
After years of lifeless, slow and deliberate play, the WSOP was once again lively. Players showed uncalled hands. Players chatted with one another during and after hands. They made unorthodox plays. All of this meant the viewers were entertained.
There’s a hopefulness that the “fun” environment of the 2017 WSOP will continue at future events. Perhaps it will, in turn, help spread the game to new audiences. A big part of that will fall on the shoulders of Blumstein.
Blumstein wasn’t the ringleader of the carefree atmosphere. However, he was certainly doing his part. Talking and interacting, smiling, and making some really ballsy plays.
That was one fun final table. Congrats to @SBlum2711 and all of the 9 on a great run, and to all those who brought the table to life on TV.
— Andrew Feldman (@AFeldmanESPN) July 23, 2017
Blumstein dominates the final table
After winning a massive pot against chip leader and fan favorite John Hesp, Blumstein, a New Jersey-based poker pro, took complete control of the World Series of Poker Main Event final table. Blumstein was the overwhelming chip leader, a position he maintained throughout the rest of the tournament.
How dominant was he?
With seven players remaining, Blumstein possessed about half of the chips in play. When the tournament became three-handed, Blumstein’s lead somehow increased. He controlled nearly 2/3 of the total chips in play.
His dominance left many people kicking themselves for not snap-calling this Blumstein Tweet from a months ago.
— Scott Blumstein (@SBlum2711) June 21, 2017
Blumstein has a New Jersey edge
Blumstein has a small advantage over most young US-based poker players. As a New Jersey resident, Blumstein has been able to hone his poker skills at New Jersey’s legal online poker sites.
— Scott Blumstein (@SBlum2711) May 22, 2017
— Scott Blumstein (@SBlum2711) May 15, 2017
Now before you scoff at the possibility that access to legal online poker played a part in Blumstein’s success, consider that last year New Jersey resident Michael Ruane made the final table. Ruane also finished 10th this year. Plus, in 2015 Tommy Cannuli and Josh Beckley made the November Nine. Before that, William Tonking final tabled in 2014. That’s a total of six Top 10 finishes by New Jersey poker players in the WSOP Main Event over the past three years.
Blumstein the ambassador
The new WSOP Main Event champ seems like a jovial, humble, and very likable guy. He also seems keen on promoting the game and contributing to the fun atmosphere that creeped into the usually stoic final table.
John Hesp is a legend. Make poker fun again old man! pic.twitter.com/XZDnPWNaKs
— Ryan (@boswert) July 21, 2017
Blumstein is easy to root for, and unsurprisingly, he had a sizable rooting section made of friends, family, and some of his poker peers. He also had the support of Barstool Sports, which made a splash of its own at the Main Event,. The site also helped push the “poker should be fun” agenda.
— Nate Blogg (@BarstoolNate) July 20, 2017
But when it came time to try to cash on his new friend’s success, Nate got shutdown, while Blumstein showed some sharp wit:
You've gotten enough money handed to you for doing nothing by @stoolpresidente already… you don't need anymore.
— Scott Blumstein (@SBlum2711) July 23, 2017
The 2017 World Series of Poker laid the foundation of the make poker fun again movement, but it will be up to people like Scott Blumstein to make sure the 2017 WSOP wasn’t a one-hit wonder.
Photo c/o WSOP / PokerPhotoArchive