What Can You Learn from the WSOP Main Event Finalists?

The WSOP Main Event has had it all this year. Drama, excitement, thrilling folds and daring all-ins. From all four corners of the globe, players have given fans so much enjoyment that it’s hard to believe most of the Main Event has been free to see. But what can potential future Main Event finalists learn from the ten men who made the last stage and fought for $10 million?


With the ten WSOP Main Event finalists representing seven different countries, The World Series of Poker’s flagship Main Event final table has only just finished, and we can’t wait for next year’s to begin. From the thrilling penultimate day’s action when ten combatants played down to the final three to the last day of action where Espen Jørstad won the $10 million top prize after Adrian Attenborough’s 20-minute tank it has been a ride we’ll never forget. But what lessons could we learn from the ten finalists and how could they help our poker game and lives in general?

How to Take Defeat Gracefully

Asher Coniff (10th), Matthew Su 99th) and Philippe Souki (8th) all had reasons to complain when they busted out of the 2022 WSOP Main Event, but neither of them did. Coniff was the player with the most winnings in terms of live events coming into the final table but busted in 10th place to miss out on the opportunity to put that experience to good use.

Su’s exit in 9th was perhaps even more painful, as he had come into the ten-handed final table with the joint chip lead. Unable to hold onto it, the deck abandoned him over the course of a few hours of play and he busted in ninth, but still had a smile on his face despite his prize being $9.15 million lower than if he’d won.

Philippe Souki had ridden his luck to get to the final table, but in such a long tournament, hadn’t everyone? Once he was there at the final table, he managed to battle back into contention, only to exit in the cruellest of fashions – all-in pre-flop with pocket aces.

Despite all three men suffering their own version of a ‘bad beat’ each competitor exuded class in their interviews and that only helped the final table being played in the superb spirit it was. There’s a lesson in there for all of us.

Why It’s Not All About Winning

Once they’re at a final table, every poker in the player wants to be the one to end with all the chips, but that privilege is only for one player and this final table showed that throughout. When Aaron Duczak busted in seventh with Canada’s hopes, his hopes might have been dashed, but his bankroll certainly wasn’t. Winning $1.35 million, he had a result that few at this year’s WSOP have even come close to, let alone surpassed.

Matija Dobric may not have won either, but he had proven throughout the final table and beforehand that his level of attacking play was the way forward. There’s no better place to proof-test your poker game than when it’s for $10 million and the Croatian player’s style stood up.

John Eames busted in fourth place for a terrific prize of $3 million, easily the best score of his career, doubling his total lifetime winnings in one event. Before the event, Eames hadn’t cashed live for some time, but as so many poker players of yesteryear show, you can’t miss the Main. Eames’ play was exemplary throughout and if anything, the tournament has hopefully told him that he should play major live tournaments far more regularly.

Instincts and Emotions

The top three players in this year’s WSOP Main Event deserve to go down as legends in the history of the game. Argentinian Michael Duek fought back from being short stack and showed that no fear is the way forward. For a man who wore his emotions close to his face the whole tournament, he taught us that focus in a hand and enjoyment outside of it is the ultimate way to enjoy profitable poker.

Adrian Attenborough’s lesson is perhaps a little more painful for the Australian to revisit. In taking 20 minutes to process one hand, he may have eventually made the right decision – to fold – but the mental exertion took its toll and the Aussie would then make the wrong decision a few hands later to lose the title. Making quick decisive decisions can help you use that spare energy elsewhere, a lesson for life not just poker.

It’s hard to put into one word what Espen Jørstad has taught us this year, but how does ‘everything’ do? From meditation to breathing, style of sunglasses to working out, there’s nothing the Norwegian poker legend hasn’t shone a light on that isn’t positive this summer.

Positivity is actually what he’s been best at. He was determined to enjoy the experience from the first hand of the final and that spirit carried him to victory. It’s heartening to see someone so positive have so much to celebrate, and integrating that positivity is clearly key to success.


Dave Consolazio

Dave Consolazio has been passionate about writing and sports journalism since his high school years. He has a degree in Broadcast Journalism from USC where he worked with the school's radio and television stations. His work has been featured in SportsbookReview, Sports Illustrated and SB Nation. Dave's experience ranges across multiple fields in the gambling industry. You can find his sports, casino, and poker articles in GambleOnline.co.

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