2017 WSOP Main Event Champ Scott Blumstein Had a Little Help From His Friends
When I was watching the final table of the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event (and believe it or not, I actually DID watch almost all of it), I thought to myself at one point, “Man, it would have been nice to have had a piece of one of these players.” And dammit, it turns out I could have. Scott Blumstein, the Main Event champ and winner of $8.15 million, was selling shares of his buy-in to anyone who was interested.
First, allow me to explain what “having a piece” of a player or “selling shares” means, for those of you who are new to this whole thing. Oftentimes, usually in tournaments where the buy-in is prohibitively expensive (like the $10,000 Main Event), players will seek out people to pay for a portion of the buy-in. In exchange, those people are given a portion of the player’s winnings, should there be any.
It is very much like buying stock in a company. You buy a portion of the company (for regular people, this portion is miniscule) and in exchange, you benefit from the company’s success. It’s not an exact comparison, but it does the job.
The investors (or backers, as they are called in poker) sometimes receive a percentage of the player’s winnings in direct proportion to how much money is won. For instance, if a backer pays $1,000 of a player’s $10,000 buy-in and the player wins $200,000, the backer would receive $20,000. If only all of our investments could go this way!
Other times, the player gets a little bit more than the backer because the player is actually the one competing, the one who the success of the investment relies upon. In the above example, maybe the investor would receive $15,000 or $18,000 or some other number for the 10 percent investment. It all just depends on the deal that is made between a backer and his “horse.”
And boy, did we all miss the boat on Scott Blumstein. On June 21st, he posted on Twitter, “Selling to the wsop main event. If anyone wants a piece of the winner slide right on in.”
According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Blumstein didn’t get any takers from that tweet, but he did receive some backing. Four of his friends chipped in $60 each, an amount that was fairly insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but they didn’t do it so much because Blumstein really needed that $240 or because they thought they’d hit big on their investments, but rather because they wanted an extra way to bond with their buddy.
“He wanted us to sweat it out with him,” Aldo Boscia told Rovell.
Really, it was a moral support thing. And not only did that support come in the form of a few bucks and a lot of “go get’em’s,” but his friends all travelled to Las Vegas to cheer him on at the Rio once he made the final table. Of course, that moral support also turned $60 into $40,750 before taxes, which ain’t too shabby.
“We know he is exhausted, but we are too,” said Boscia. “I just have a normal 9-to-5 job. I have student loans. I can now make a down payment on a house.”
He should probably name a room after the WSOP champ. Perhaps the Blumstein Library?
The four friends weren’t Blumstein’s only backers. He told Rovell, “My dad sold a half a percent to the owner of a bagel shop. A friend of my grandfather’s, who is 93 and plays poker, had 2 percent.”
Poker pro Asher Conniff also paid $420 for 3 percent of Blumstein’s winnings and received $244,500 in return.
Conniff was thoroughly impressed by Blumstein’s performance (as well he should have been – Blumstein was great), saying, “No one is prepared for the amount of pressure that comes with the final table. Some of the moves he made proved he had the balls of a champion.”
Rovell wrote that Blumstein did sell more of his action, but that he would not reveal how much in total.
There could be times where a poker player might regret selling pieces of themselves if they go a deep run in a big tournament, as they won’t end up with all of their winnings, but Blumstein was more than happy to have others share his success.
“The truth is that a bunch of guys who had small stakes in me helped me the most at the end, when I needed support, when I needed to be driven places,” Blumstein said. “I can say pretty confidently that without their support, I might not have won it all.”
Cover photo credit: AP Photo/John Locher