You know what might* be cooler than winning a bunch of money playing in the World Series of Poker? Winning a bunch of money at the World Series of Poker without the difficulty of actually playing poker. That was the case for several people over the weekend, as a number of Scott Blumfield’s buddies rode the rail of their lives, having invested in the WSOP Main Event champ’s buy-in and, in turn, receiving a share of his winnings.
It is not uncommon for a poker player to have “backers” in a big buy-in tournament, as the costs can be difficult to handle. By taking on investors who pay a portion of the buy-in for a proportional share of the prize, a player can better afford to participate, even if he or she limits the earnings potential.
Blumstein has not made public all of his financial arrangements with backers, but we now know that he did not have “all of himself,” as the poker lingo goes, in the 2017 WSOP Main Event. According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, four of Blumstein’s friends from New Jersey posted some of his $10,000 buy-in, though in the grand scheme of things, their contribution wasn’t much.
Peter Gerolamo, Aldo Boscia, John Scuter, and Nick Muldrow each gave Blumstein $60. When he won $8.15 million before taxes, their investment had grown to $40,750 each (technically, the 0.6% that each contributed should have earned them $48,900 before taxes, but their deal with Blumstein may not have been for winnings in exact proportion to their percentage of the buy-in, which is normal).
Boscia said that Blumstein could certainly swing the $240 that his four friends pitched-in, but he was all for it for the fun.
“He wanted us to sweat it out with him,” Boscia told Rovell.
“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 added. “I can say pretty confidently that without their support, I might not have won it all.”
Watching the final table progress on ESPN, it was evident that Blumstein – who couldn’t seem like a nicer guy – really drew energy from his friends and family, who flew in to support him when he made the final table.
Those four guys weren’t the only ones who had a piece of Blumstein.
“My dad sold a half a percent to the owner of a bagel shop,” Blumstein revealed to Rovell. “A friend of my grandfather’s, who is 93 and plays poker, had 2 percent.”
This would also imply that Blumstein’s dad had a piece, considering he “sold” half a percent ($50) to someone.
Blumstein did actively seek out investors, posting his request on Twitter in June. Nobody took him up on that specific offer, but ESPN says Blumstein did find a backer for the piece he was looking to sell.
Poker pro Asher Conniff also backed Blumstein, paying $420 of his buy-in for three percent of his winnings ($244,500).
Conniff was thoroughly impressed with Blumstein’s performance in his first-ever WSOP Main Event (can you believe it?), 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.”
*Let me emphasize “might” here.
Cover photo credit: WSOP.com