WSOP Champ Blumstein Looks Back, Ready for Fitness Challenge
Six months after taking down the biggest event in poker, World Series of Poker Main Event champion Scott Blumstein is ready to go on a run again. This next step in life will not be a run at the poker table however. He’s got some real running in mind – in the fitness sense.
“The one thing I'm focusing on now is my health,” he says. “That's why I've been a little bit off the grid. I'm going to be doing some kind of content based around my weight loss. I think that's kind of where the next step is going to be.”
Focused on Fitness
Weight loss challenges and social media fitness posts are nothing new in the poker world, but Blumstein is taking the opportunity to benefit himself and possibly motivate others. A native of Morristown, N.J., the 25-year-old poker pro grew up playing football and started on the offensive line for the Morristown High School Colonials during his junior and senior years.
“The one thing I'm focusing on now is my health,”
While there is not yet a name for the new show or many concrete details, Blumstein offered a few ideas for what is planned.
“I am temporarily renting a place down in San Diego, California, with a couple buddies who all play their role in trying to help me get in shape,” he says. “Every ounce of my energy and strength is going toward that these days. That's like the main plot of my life going forward. Poker will just be a part of that when I can and when I see fit.”
Blumstein has battled weight issues much of his life, but had been working on it before the Main Event. Winning the title and the $8.15 million put that focus on hold a bit.
“I’ve always been a bigger guy,” he says. “The funny part was that a couple weeks before the Main Event, when I was back home, was the most successful I’d ever been as far as getting healthy and losing weight. And then the Main Event got in the way of that, so afterward it was more party and celebration. I kind of lost sight of what I needed to do.
“But I gave myself six months to enjoy it and now it’s time to dive in and get to work. It’s always been important to me. It’s always been something that I needed to do and now it’s time. We're going to see how it goes.”
Life After the WSOP
Many poker players dream to be in Blumstein’s shoes. Poker fame, newfound wealth, and plenty of opportunities to hit the tables. In the months since his victory and after relocating to Las Vegas, Blumstein hit the road.
In August, he played the WPT-Choctaw and said it has become one of his goals to win a WPT title. He later played in Florida, Maryland, and then the WPT Five Diamond Classic at the Bellagio in December. Hitting the road has allowed Blumstein to dip his toe in even more major buy-in events.
“It was my second $10,000 buy-in ever at the Bellagio,” Blumstein says. “And that was a really fun experience because that was probably the first non-Main Event legit tournament that I’ve played. I'm trying to find a good balance. I want to play poker, and play better structured tournaments going forward.”
So far, Blumstein has chosen events in the U.S. with no real interest in traveling too much. Over the holidays, he got back to New Jersey to spend some time with family.
With the new weight-loss show on the horizon, poker will not be front and center – including sponsorships. His deal with 888 Poker was not long-term and he is now without a sponsor unless something else comes about from the new show. But he is certainly not finished with poker.
Blumstein looks to the positive and is really enjoying his time as WSOP champ. This month, he plans on getting in on some of the action at the L.A. Poker Classic including appearances on “Live at the Bike” Feb. 6-9.
“I am definitely excited to play my first streamed poker cash game,” he says. “I haven’t really done that yet. So that’s the plan for right now.”
Becoming a sudden millionaire comes with many temptations for a young man. However, Blumstein has resisted the need to make many major purchases or lifestyle changes.
“The only purchases that I made is that I bought a vehicle, a nice little Hyundai Santa Fe,” Blumstein says. “It's nothing special but it fits me. Other than that, I haven't really done too much buying.”
Much of his money remains in the bank. In the past, Blumstein has considered some real estate investments, but that has been put on hold for now.
“As far as business goes, that has taken a little bit of a back seat,” he says. “I've got a couple things going that are in the early stages, but I'm just kind of playing it out. I don't want to make any rash decisions. I'm still pretty young. I don't think there's any reason to jump into things, and if a good opportunity comes along, I'll look to take it.
"I'm not really into money accumulation mode, I’m just trying to get healthy."
“Real estate was a safe plan, but I haven't bought any property yet. Right now, my priority is on strictly losing weight. I'm not really into money accumulation mode, I’m just trying to get healthy. And hopefully everything else will fall into line afterward.”
What advice would he offer other players who score a major win and pile of cash? Blumstein offers some insight one might hear on the Dave Ramsey radio show, and believes everyone could do better managing their personal finances – not just a bracelet winner.
“The first thing is to definitely don’t be shy about asking for help,” he says. “You’ve got to check your ego at the door. I knew that I probably couldn’t do it on my own. I don’t want to make dumb decisions and because of that, I have a nice support team around me. Try to get guidance. There are people out there who it is literally their job to manage money and help you be better with your funds and make better decisions. I think, in general, as a society we need to just kind of get better in our decision making and how we view money and making it last.”
A Series Summer
With the World Series approaching in late-May and 78 bracelets up for grabs, Blumstein is looking forward to getting back in action.
“I’m definitely looking forward to the World Series this summer,” he says. “The truth is, I never really got to experience a summer [at the WSOP] – at least a lengthy one. I’ve been out there for a week here, two weeks there, but I’ve never been out there for more than that, so I’m definitely looking forward to spending the whole summer out in Vegas and playing some poker.”
However, Blumstein hasn’t mapped out any specific tournaments that interest him yet. He wants to play regularly, but not get burned out. Not spending the entire summer of 2017 at the WSOP served as an advantage in later stages of Main Event, he believes.
“Because I wasn’t out there the whole summer, I think I was fresh for the Main Event,” he says. “I wasn’t dragged out like a lot of these pros who had been playing all summer. I’m definitely going to go out there. Am I going to play every day? No. I’m just going to take it easy and if I feel like playing poker I’ll play poker.”
"Unfortunately, I didn’t get to get too close with anyone at the final table in that sense, but we definitely bonded and when we meet up we’ll converse."
One regret from the WSOP was that he wasn’t able to bond and keep in contact with many of the other final table players. He has spoken with John Hesp (fourth-place finisher) a few times and the two exchanged holiday wishes. He would even like to travel to England for a visit at some point.
In the last few months, Blumstein has also crossed paths with Main Event runner-up Ben Ott a couple times.
“We had a nice lengthy conversation and Dan’s a really nice guy,” he says. “Our stories are kind of similar and we’re kind of shocked to be in this situation we are in. We can definitely relate. And if I run into any of the other guys, I’m sure we’ll be able to pick it up like it’s nothing.
“One thing that’s interesting is because the November Nine doesn’t exist anymore, people used to have a couple months doing press junkets and all that stuff. I feel like because of that, you became a little closer with the final table. We played and were on our way. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to get too close with anyone at the final table in that sense, but we definitely bonded and when we meet up we’ll converse.”
One unforeseen positive from winning has been meeting interesting people in his poker travels and do some things he might never have been able to do.
“Just the ability to do things, to have the opportunity to meet people that I respect and look up to is so cool,” Blumstein says. “Getting to meet a guy like Norm MacDonald, who’s probably my favorite comedian. Really at the end of the day, that’s kind of been the best part; the experiences and meeting people you respect. That’s kind of what matters – human interaction.”