Norwegian pro wins WSOP mixed event, $260,497
29 Jun 2010
"It's the most unbelievable feeling I have ever had in my whole life," said Eskeland. "The only thing that can compare to it is the birth of my two daughters. But this is insane, the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me."
Eskeland's most notable previous achievement was being the chip leader at the end of Day Three in the 2008 WSOP Main Event championship. He ended up finishing 241st.
Eskeland quit his teaching job just a few weeks before coming to Las Vegas for this year's WSOP, wanting to see if he could make it as a full-time professional player. This cash would seem to validate that decision.
"I took a leave of absence for one year, in order to play poker," said Eskeland. "I had a bad run where I lost for two months, but I never lost faith. I kept working and ran fantastically good here and won. It's amazing."
He is the third player in WSOP history with Norwegian roots to win a gold bracelet, following in the footsteps of Thor Hansen (two wins) and Annette Obrestad (one).
"Live poker is illegal in Norway," said Eskeland. "I just hope we can prove to Norwegians that poker is something more than just gambling, that is has elements of skill to it."
The runner up was Steve Sung, who won the only $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em championship at last year's WSOP, then called the "Stimulus Special." Eskeland ended up winning the tournament when he spiked a club flush on the river on the final hand against Sung. Second place in this tournament paid $160,952.
Alexander Wice, a 21-year-old student at Waterloo University from Toronto, Ont., finished third to win $102,314. Nikolai Yakovenko, from Brooklyn, N.Y., was fourth, while Stephen Su, from Houston, Texas, was fifth.
Former WSOP bracelet winner Scott Seiver, from Las Vegas, Nev., was sixth. Seiver won his gold bracelet last year in a no-limit Hold'em event.
Jared Jaffe, from Brooklyn, N.Y. was seventh, and Kirill Rabtsov, from Moscow, Russia, was eighth.
The top 48 finishers in the 453-player field collected prize money. Aside from Sung and Seiver, former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included: Todd Brunson (10th), Alexander Kravchenko (11th), Dario Minieri (14th), Kirk Morrison (16th), David Singer (23rd), Michael Mizrachi (26th), Dario Alioto (27th), Frank Kassela (36th), Vitaly Lunkin (39th), Diego Cordovez (42nd), and Chris "Jesus" Ferguson (48th). Ferguson now has 63 in-the-money finishes for his career, which ranks third on the all-time WSOP cashes list.
Modified from notes provided by Nolan Dalla for www.wsop.com.