The 2023 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event is poised to be the biggest yet, shattering records at every turn.
The 53rd edition of the world’s most prestigious poker tournament held at Bally’s & Paris Las Vegas fielded 8,663 players in 2022, coming just short of the 8,773 all-time record set in 2006 when Jamie Gold scooped the $12 million payout.
This year, the WSOP $10,000 buy-in Main Event has pulled in a record-smashing turnout of 10,043 hopefuls and pushed the prize pool to an all-time high of $93,399,900. With these kinds of numbers, tournament organizers are looking at a field that’ll push the limits of the two host casinos, Paris and Horseshoe, Las Vegas.
All but one final table finisher will walk away a millionaire. The $93.4 million prize pool will see the crowning champion take home $12.1 million, while the runner-up will earn more than half of that, at $6.5 million.
Humongous prize pools at the 2023 WSOP
Ty Stewart, the executive director of WSOP, told the participants to brace themselves for a bucket-list main event, and with good reason. Some preliminary events have seen their turnout exceed last year’s by over 15% and more than $200 million in prize money dished out to lucky winners with 25+ events still to play.
The $93.4-million-pot Main Event isn’t the only eye-watering event that caught the attention of players at WSOP 2023. The $300 buy-in Gladiators of Poker event saw a jam-packed field of 23,102 players, becoming the second most sought-after event in live poker tournament history. St. Louis native Jason Simon won the tournament and snapped up $499,852 in prize money.
Another record-breaker event was the Millionaire Maker, which attracted more than 10,400 runners to the roster. Moldovan Pavel Plesuv emerged as the champion of the $1500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em, which is currently in its 10th year, and won his first bracelet and a $1.2 million payout.
Even high-roller events saw plenty of action from day 1. The $50,000 Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller, which ran for three days, saw a modest field of 200 whales and a $9,550,000 prize pool. Little Falls’ own Jesse Lonis captured the prestige title and his second bracelet, steamrolling himself to a $2,303,017 payout.
The $10,000 buy-in Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship saw a star-studded field of 212 card sharks battle it out for the $1,971,600 prize pool. The nine-time WSOP champion Erik Seidel failed to clinch his historic tenth bracelet, ceding the title and the $492,795 payday to Ben Lamb.
New championship bracelet
The 54th edition of the World Series of Poker $10,000 Main Event No-Limit Hold’em kicked off on Monday, July 3rd, 2023, and the final hand will be dealt out on July 18. Unlike most of the previous tournaments, this year’s main event utilized large 300 starting blinds and deep stacks of 60,000 chips to accommodate the record field.
It also featured a quad of starting flights and 120-minute levels. There’s also a twist in the format: the bracelet is not the only prize up for grabs. This year, the WSOP is introducing a ‘main event for life’ drawing.
If the field record is broken, one lucky participant will win a main event buy-in for the next 30 years. The format is a slight flight from the WSOP Main Event of 2022 when Norwegian online streamer and poker star Espen Jorstad beat Aussie Adrian Attenborough in a heads-up battle at the final table to bag the $10-million prize.
This unprecedented prize adds another layer of excitement to future WSOP main events and gives every player another reason to dream big.
Guy Fieri unveiled the new WSOP Main Event championship bracelet
American celebrity chef and restaurateur unveiled the WSOP Main Event championship bracelet in a heavily-storied present event, where he also announced the opening of his newest Las Vegas restaurant inside the Horseshoe Casino.
The new championship bracelet will pay homage to the tournament’s return to Horseshoe Las Vegas with a tribute to the Bally’s casino located in the heart of the Strip. It’ll also sport a detachable golden poker chip and 425 red & black stones that represent the suits.
WSOP Main Event enters Day 7 with only 49 hopefuls
The massive turnout for this year’s WSOP Main Event has been both a blessing and a curse for some regulars.
The charismatic Day 1 chip leader Nicholas Rigby, despite showcasing plenty of skill, faced a tough beat on a feature table. Although he held a strong hand with jacks, the South Park, PA native couldn’t overcome the Big Slick of Diego D’Aquilio and crashed out of the tournament but managed to double his lifetime live tournament earnings.
The 2010 WSOP runner-up John Racener displayed his poker prowess once again but fell short on Day 6, securing $188,400 in prize money and a respectable 53rd place. The same fate befell James Jeffrey, Allen Chang, and other titans who couldn’t hold the heat.
As the $10,000 WSOP Main Event World Championship enters Day 7, the tournament’s record field of 10,043 players has been whittled down to just 49 hopefuls. Day 6 saw a slew of big names dropped and plenty of bad beats.
Joshua Payne leads the pack with a 47,950,000 chip stack after five levels of play. The 23-year-old engineering major from Berkeley Lake in Georgia has already made a name for himself after felting Zachary Hall who led the way on Day 5. The charismatic chip leader — who has become synonymous with his snazzy cyborg sunglasses — has made only two cash finishes with just $26,562 of live earnings to his name.
Right behind Payne is Juan Maceiras Lapido with a stack of 40,500,000. The Spanish poker player is looking to improve on his 5th place finish at the EPT Madrid Grand Final in 2011 and to perk up his live tournament earnings of $1.1 million.
Other notables at the top of the chip leaderboard include Atlanta native and WPT champion Daniel Weinman, along with Richard Ryder, Austrian Tim Van Loo, and Conscious Poker founder Alec Torelli with 21,075,000 chips. English pro Toby Lewis and renowned Japanese poker video blogger Masato Yokosawa are also still powering on.
The 2023 WSOP $10,000 Main Event Championship is surely one for the books. Although it isn’t clear whether this is a sign of a new era of poker tournament boom, one thing’s for sure: the record-shattering turnout shows that the Main Event’s magic has undoubtedly rubbed off on a new generation of players.