2018 Gambling Olympics Participant Profile: Scott Blumstein

Jun 28, 2018 1:18 AM EDT

The Highlights

  • Scott Blumstein is one of the participants in the inaugural Gambling Olympics.
  • He is the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event winner and has amassed more than $8.5 million in live poker earnings. 
  • His ability outside of poker is unknown, but he grew up near Atlantic City and is probably no stranger to all kinds of games of chance. 

The 2018 Gambling Olympics is a two-day, 12-person contest taking place in Las Vegas on July 9-10. The buy-in is $2,500, and the winner gets $10,000.

Before, during and after the Gambling Olympics, we will provide extensive coverage via participant profiles, event breakdowns and live in-person analysis. Be sure to follow all the action in the Gambling Olympics section of the site.

 

The World Champion

Scott Blumstein likely needs no introduction for those in the poker community after winning the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event and earning a payday of more than $8 million. And before that, in July of 2016, he won nearly $200,000 by taking down an Atlantic City poker tournament. He is more than accomplished on the felt. A graduate from Temple University with a degree in accounting, Blumstein has an analytical perspective likely to serve him well in the contest.

Blumstein was gracious enough to answer a few questions heading into the inaugural Gambling Olympics.

Q: How did you first get involved with gambling?

Blumstein: I was exposed to casinos at a young age during frequent family trips to Atlantic City, but it wasn’t until I saw poker on TV for the first time and started playing soon after that I started to gamble myself. It was around the age of 11, right after Chris Moneymaker famously won the 2003 Main Event.

Q: What qualifies you to participate in this prestigious tournament?

Blumstein: Through “gambling,” I’ve found a way to make a life for myself many can only dream of. If there’s going to be a Gambling Olympics, having a World Series of Poker Main Event winner represented only seems fair.

Q: What is your proudest “degen” moment?

Blumstein: My proudest degen moment is playing in a $50,000 four-person heads-up poker tournament in which I squared off against the legend himself and Gambling Olympics participant Brandon Adams. (He won.)

Q: What do you feel will be your strongest and weakest events?

Blumstein: My strongest event is clearly going to be Poker. These guys have no shot. My weakest event is probably going to be Lodden Thinks. I haven’t played very often and will probably be surprised by how hard it is to get in other people’s brains and know exactly what they’re thinking.

Q: How many hours of prep are you putting into this?

Blumstein: I should be working harder for this than I am, but I also learned last summer that you don’t want to overthink these things. I’m just going to head into this thing with a good mind-set and hope to play well enough to get the victory.

Q: Who do you think is the favorite to win?

Blumstein: This is a tough field. I’d imagine my odds aren’t that great — and I’m not even sure they should be — but being an underdog makes winning that much sweeter. If I had to bet on someone else, I’d probably have to give Adams the nod. For starters he’s a genius, and the man knows how to gamble as well.

Q: Who is your pick to finish dead last?

Blumstein: Joey Ingram.

Analysis

Blumstein is one of the biggest wild cards in the field. He’s obviously the favorite in Poker, but that’s just one of 12 events. He should also feel pretty comfortable at Blackjack since he basically grew up in Atlantic City, but his ability in the rest of these events is unknown.

I’ve done some deep (Twitter timeline) research, and it appears that Blumstein is a big sports fan. He was on the Vegas Golden Knights, has tons of basketball tweets and exhibits an excellent taste in baseball teams:

He might be able to hold his own in DFS and Sports Betting, but he still might struggle in the other events, especially since he’s not training his hardest. While some of the other competitors are intensely studying games such as Connect Four, Yahtzee and Rock-Paper-Scissors, Blumstein is taking more of a “show up and see what happens” approach. With the WSOP in full swing right now, it makes sense for Blumstein to be focused on something other than the Gambling Olympics, but his decision to take a laid-back approach may cost him once the tournament starts.

How Blumstein wins: He destroys the field in Poker and he leverages his poker-informed ability to read people and situations while playing Lodden Thinks, Rock-Paper-Scissors and Connect Four. He’s so dominant that people start to wonder if he can read minds. With his Atlantic City upbringing, he has strong showings in Blackjack and Acey-Deucey, and his sports fandom leads to solid results in Sports Betting and DFS. Overall, that’s enough to put him atop the aggregate standings.

How Blumstein loses: He commits all his chips in an optimal spot in Poker only to get sucked out on. After that fiasco, Blumstein implements contrarian strategies to try to get back into the tournament, but he endures a series of frustrating losses and ultimately finishes in the bottom three. After the event, he flies home and sleeps for 20 hours straight on a warm, soft pile of cash.

Follow Matt LaMarca on Twitter
@MattLaMarca

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