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The 2023 World Series Of Poker Is Here, And It’s Ready To Break Records

by Erik Fast |  Published: May 31, 2023


The World Series of Poker started as a seven-player cash game in 1970, with eventual champion Johnny Moss decided by a vote among the participants.

In the more than five decades since then, the annual WSOP has grown into the largest poker tournament festival in the world, with a record $342 million paid out across the 102 total bracelet events that comprised last year’s summer series.

The $10,000 main event attracted its second-largest field ever with its 8,663 players, falling just 110 entries short of tying the record set in 2006, when Jamie Gold earned a payout of $12 million as the champion.

The inaugural WSOP, and the 34 that followed it, were held at Binion’s Horseshoe in downtown Las Vegas. After Caesars Entertainment bought the rights to the WSOP, the series moved to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino from 2005 to 2021. In 2022, the proceedings were moved for the first time to the Las Vegas Strip, with Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino hosting. And finally, this year the series officially returns home after Bally’s was rebranded as Horseshoe Las Vegas.

“With the momentum generated from the WSOP’s debut on the Las Vegas Strip last year, we expect a record-breaking WSOP and world championship at Paris and Horseshoe Las Vegas in 2023,” said Ty Stewart, SVP & Executive Director of the WSOP.

The summer series will feature the biggest capacity in history with 608 tables spread across more than 200,000 square feet of convention space. There will be 95 in-person bracelet events, up from 89 in 2022, with another 34 bracelet events held online at, for a total of 129.

The increase in tournaments, combined with a special emphasis being placed on breaking the record for main event turnout (more on that later) seems like the perfect recipe for yet another new high-water mark when it comes to key metrics like prize money and total entries.

In this special issue of Card Player, we will cover what’s new for the 54th-annual WSOP, take a closer look at the main event, and highlight the current leaders in key WSOP statistical categories.

What You Need To Know About The 54th Annual WSOP

Numerous additions and changes have been announced for the 2023 WSOP.

One notable schedule shift will see the $1 million freeroll Tournament of Champions moving to the opening week, after being the last bracelet event offered in 2022.

According to the WSOP’s press release, “the 2023 field will be limited to those winning a WSOP Circuit ring at a live event or during an online circuit from July 20, 2022 to May 22, 2023, as well as all winners from WSOP Online 2022… and WSOP Europe 2022. Registration for the 2023 Tournament of Champions will open on Tuesday, May 30 at 9 a.m. 2023 bracelet winners will be eligible for the 2024 tournament.”

This year will also see the popular Million Dollar Bounty event from last summer become the $1,000 buy-in Mystery Millions, with a seven-figure payday guaranteed to the tournament winner in addition to the $1 million guaranteed top bounty prize.

Last year, Minnesota’s Quincy Borland took home $750,120 and his first gold bracelet as the champion, while Pennsylvania poker pro Matt Glantz was the lucky winner of the $1 million bounty.

The 2023 event kicks off with the first of four starting flights on May 31, making it the centerpiece of the typically-packed opening weekend of the festival.

2023 will be the first year that the WSOP will not play host to a dedicated area offering single-table satellites. In fact, there will be no single-table satellites held outside of those that will directly qualify players for the main event (which will start on July 2), and the ‘Flip and Go’ (starting July 13 and concluding when registration ends for the event on the following day) which last just a single hand. Players will be dealt three cards and then be taken directly to the flop, at which point they will all be forced to discard one before the turn and river are dealt and a single winner is decided.

As a result, there will be no more tournament ‘lammers,’ which were chips that were awarded in past single-table satellites that could only be redeemed for tournament buy-ins, not cash. Instead, winners of the limited offering of single-table satellites will be escorted to registration and entered directly into the event that they qualified for.

While round-the-clock single-table satellites are now a thing of the past, in its place will be a wide variety of satellite options, with mega satellites running daily throughout the festival. For the most part, satellites into events with a seat value of $5,000 or lower will pay out casino chips that players can use to buy into their desired tournament. The two notable exceptions to this guideline are the $1,000 Mystery Millions and the $300 Gladiators of Poker event, which will see qualifiers directly entered.

Satellites into $10,000 buy-in events will allow those that qualify to choose between direct entry or casino chips. Finally, satellites for events with buy-ins of $25,000 and higher will only award direct entry into the target tournament. (Note: Any cash payouts over $5,000 above the satellite buy-in will be subject to tax reporting.)

Big Value Throughout The Summer

For those looking for big action at a lower price point, fear not! A whopping 50 of the 95 live events on offer this summer feature a buy-in of $1,500 or less.

A notable new addition to the affordable slate of tournaments is the $300 buy-in Gladiators of Poker. The no-limit hold’em tournament has a $3 million guaranteed prize pool, with four starting flights to choose from June 7-10.

Other new lower-buy-in tournaments include the first-ever $1,500 buy-in short deck event, which kicks off on July 12, the inaugural stand-alone Badugi bracelet event, which begins June 7, and the debut of the $1,500 Big O (five-card pot-limit Omaha eight-or-better) bracelet event that gets underway on June 17.

Returning classics for the weekend warriors include several popular no-limit hold’em events like the $1,500 buy-in Monster Stack (June 16-23), the $1,500 buy-in Millionaire Maker (June 23-28) with its $1,000,000 guaranteed top payout, and the $400 buy-in Colossus (June 30 – July 3). These contests are among the most popular of the summer, last year drawing a combined 28,027 entries.

While it falls in the middle of the final week of June, the $600 DeepStack Championship (June 28- July 1) is also likely to be popular with tournament grinders looking to battle their way through a big field for the chance at a huge top prize and the gold.

Another new addition is the $600 Ultra Stack that runs from July 11-14. Then, as the series wraps up, the $1,500 buy-in tournament known as The Closer finishes things off July 14-16, with two starting flights to choose from.

For those looking to get in and out quickly without committing several consecutive days to a single event, there are a number of live two-day deep-stacked events at affordable prices.

High Rollers Only

There are 27 total live bracelet events that feature a buy-in of five figures or higher during this year’s WSOP, including 11 events with buy-ins of $25,000 or more.

There will be a few new high-stakes tournaments offered at the series, including the $25,000 six-max no-limit hold’em event (May 30 – June 1), the $10,000 Secret Bounty (June 14-16), and the $25,000 H.O.R.S.E. (July 10-12).

The highest buy-in tournament on the schedule is a massive $250,000 no-limit hold’em event (June 16-18), which first debuted in 2021. The event has awarded two massive top prizes, with inaugural champion Adrian Mateos taking home $3,265,362 for topping a 33-entry field, and Alex Foxen earning $4,563,700 after outlasting 56 entries in 2022.

The only other six-figure buy-in event planned for this year is the $100,000 buy-in that will run June 12-14. These two events falling within a few days of each other makes for an unofficial ‘super high roller’ week at the series.

There are also four $50,000 events, two no-limit hold’em offerings, a pot-limit Omaha tournament, and of course, the nine-game Poker Players Championship, which will feature two-time defending champion Daniel ‘Jungleman’ Cates going for a three-peat.

Check out the full schedule for more details on these tournaments and everything else the 2023 WSOP has to offer.

Will The 2023 Main Event Be The Largest Ever?

While there are more events than ever, the centerpiece of the WSOP will always be the $10,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event.

And this year’s world championship, which runs from July 3-17, is shaping up to be particularly noteworthy as organizers are putting a special emphasis on setting a new turnout record.

“If the main event is on your bucket list, this is the year to get to Vegas,” said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart.

The push for a record field is already off to a strong start as there are set to be at least 600 seats awarded to players by WSOP online partner GGPoker. Another 112 guaranteed seats will be awarded on from June 25 to July 8, with 10 guaranteed seats per day.

If the record is broken, a drawing will be held for all players that will award one lucky participant a main event buy-in for the next 30 years. This ‘main event for life’ drawing is scheduled for Saturday, July 8.

There are four starting flights to choose from for this year’s main event, each beginning at noon on July 3-6. The tournament will feature 120-minute levels and 60,000 in starting chips, or 300 big blinds to start.

The official final table of nine will be set on July 14. The remaining nine will then have one day off before resuming play on July 16, with the plan being to narrow the field from nine to four, crowning a champion on July 17.

In 2022, it was online streamer Espen Jorstad who topped the second-largest field in WSOP main event history for the top prize of $10 million. Jorstad, who had won his first bracelet earlier in the series in the $1,000 tag team event alongside Patrick Leonard, beat out 8,662 other players to become the first player from Norway to win the main event.

“It means a lot, it’s the biggest tournament in the world,” Jorstad said after closing out the win.

Year Champion Entries Prize Pool Payout
1970 Johnny Moss 7 N/A N/A
1971 Johnny Moss 6 $30,000 $30,000
1972 “Amarillo Slim” Preston 8 $80,000 $80,000
1973 Walter “Puggy” Pearson 13 $130,000 $130,000
1974 Johnny Moss 16 $160,000 $160,000
1975 Bryan “Sailor” Roberts 21 $210,000 $210,000
1976 Doyle Brunson 22 $220,000 $220,000
1977 Doyle Brunson 34 $340,000 $340,000
1978 Bobby Baldwin 42 $420,000 $210,000
1979 Hal Fowler 54 $540,000 $270,000
1980 Stu Ungar 73 $730,000 $385,000
1981 Stu Ungar 75 $750,000 $375,000
1982 Jack Straus 104 $1,040,000 $520,000
1983 Tom McEvoy 108 $1,080,000 $540,000
1984 Jack Keller 132 $1,320,000 $660,000
1985 Bill Smith 140 $1,400,000 $700,000
1986 Berry Johnston 141 $1,410,000 $570,000
1987 Johnny Chan 152 $1,520,000 $625,000
1988 Johnny Chan 167 $1,670,000 $700,000
1989 Phil Hellmuth 178 $1,780,000 $755,000
1990 Mansour Matloubi 194 $1,940,000 $895,000
1991 Brad Daugherty 215 $2,150,000 $1,000,000
1992 Hamid Dastmalchi 201 $2,010,000 $1,000,000
1993 Jim Bechtel 231 $2,308,000 $1,000,000
1994 Russ Hamilton 268 $2,680,000 $1,000,000
1995 Dan Harrington 273 $2,730,000 $1,000,000
1996 Huck Seed 295 $2,950,000 $1,000,000
1997 Stu Ungar 312 $3,120,000 $1,000,000
1998 Scotty Nguyen 350 $3,500,000 $1,000,000
1999 Noel Furlong 393 $3,930,000 $1,000,000
2000 Chris Ferguson 512 $5,120,000 $1,500,000
2001 Carlos Mortensen 613 $6,130,000 $1,500,000
2002 Robert Varkonyi 631 $6,310,000 $2,000,000
2003 Chris Moneymaker 839 $7,802,700 $2,500,000
2004 Greg Raymer 2,576 $24,224,400 $5,000,000
2005 Joe Hachem 5,619 $52,818,610 $7,500,000
2006 Jamie Gold 8,773 $82,512,162 $12,000,000
2007 Jerry Yang 6,358 $59,784,954 $8,250,000
2008 Peter Eastgate 6,844 $64,333,600 $9,152,416
2009 Joe Cada 6,494 $61,043,600 $8,547,042
2010 Jonathan Duhamel 7,319 $68,798,600 $8,944,310
2011 Pius Heinz 6,865 $64,531,000 $8,715,638
2012 Greg Merson 6,598 $62,021,200 $8,531,853
2013 Ryan Riess 6,352 $59,708,800 $8,361,570
2014 Martin Jacobson 6,683 $62,820,200 $10,000,000
2015 Joe McKeehen 6,420 $60,348,000 $7,683,346
2016 Qui Nguyen 6,737 $63,327,800 $8,005,310
2017 Scott Blumstein 7,221 $67,877,400 $8,150,000
2018 John Cynn 7,874 $74,015,600 $8,800,000
2019 Hossein Ensan 8,569 $80,548,600 $10,000,000
2020 Damian Salas 1,379 $14,238,400 $2,550,969
2021 Koray Aldemir 6,650 $62,011,250 $8,000,000
2022 Espen Jorstad 8,663 $80,782,475 $10,000,000

WSOP Statistics And Record Holders

Here is a look at where things stand in the key WSOP statistical categories entering the 54th annual series.

Only one player, Phil Hellmuth, is among the top five in all three categories. The Poker Brat holds the record for the most bracelets with 16, and is also ranked third in cashes (187) and fourth in earnings ($16.8 million).

Daniel Negreanu has the impressive one-two punch of being the all-time leader in WSOP cashes (217) and the second-highest earner in history with $20.7 million.

Player Bracelets
Phil Hellmuth 16
Phil Ivey 10
Johnny Chan 10
Doyle Brunson 10
Erik Seidel 9
Johnny Moss 9
Men Nguyen 7
Billy Baxter 7
Daniel Negreanu 6
Chris Ferguson 6
John Hennigan 6
TJ Cloutier 6
Jeff Lisandro 6
Brian Hastings 6
Layne Flack 6
Ted Forrest 6
Jay Heimowitz 6
Michael Mizrachi 5
Shaun Deeb 5
Allen Cunningham 5
Brian Rast 5
Jeremy Ausmus 5
Scotty Nguyen 5
John Juanda 5
Jason Mercier 5
Daniel Alaei 5
David Chiu 5
Eli Elezra 5
Adam Friedman 5
Berry Johnston 5
Stu Ungar 5
Gary Berland 5
Player Earnings
Antonio Esfandiari $21,917,460
Daniel Negreanu $20,732,100
Dan Colman $17,413,780
Phil Hellmuth $16,753,010
Justin Bonomo $14,937,400
Jonathan Duhamel $14,644,200
Joe Cada $13,727,150
Fedor Holz $13,373,430
Elton Tsang $12,388,310
Martin Jacobson $12,260,470
Koray Aldemir $12,218,720
Jamie Gold $12,198,920
Sam Trickett $11,755,580
Dario Sammartino $11,358,630
Joe McKeehen $11,013,770
Dan Smith $10,976,230
Espen Jorstad $10,873,390
Ryan Riess $10,589,840
Greg Merson $10,319,020
Hossein Ensan $10,314,660
Player Cashes
Daniel Negreanu 217
Roland Israelashvili 201
Phil Hellmuth 187
Chris Ferguson 161
Yueqi Zhu 160
Ben Yu 154
Arkadiy Tsinis 142
Erik Seidel 138
Shaun Deeb 137
Jeff Madsen 132
Barry Greenstein 127
Shannon Shorr 121
Mike Leah 120
Ryan Riess 116
Ryan Laplante 115
Eric Baldwin 112
Max Pescatori 107
Men Nguyen 107
Chris Moorman 106
Matt Stout 106