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Josh Arieh Nabs His Sixth Career World Series Of Poker Bracelet

Series Wraps Up With Nearly $420 Million In Total Payouts

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Aug 23, 2023


Josh Arieh credit PokerGO - Miguel CortesThe 2023 World Series of Poker is now officially in the books, with more than 247,000 entries made across 95 live and 20 online bracelet events. Those 115 tournaments collectively paid out more than $418.7 million in total prize money, a new record for the series.

This article covers all of the biggest stories, outside of the main event, that played out during the final weeks of the 54th annual WSOP.

Josh Arieh Wins $25,000 H.O.R.S.E. For No. 6

Josh Arieh has joined the elite ranks of six-time WSOP bracelet winners. The 48-year-old Atlanta, Georgia resident overcame a stacked field of 112 entries in the $25,000 H.O.R.S.E. high roller to earn $711,313 and the hardware.

This was his second bracelet of 2023 and his fourth in a three-year span, having also captured a pair in 2021. Arieh became just the 22nd player in poker history to have won six or more bracelets, putting him on an elite list populated by titans of the game that includes Daniel Negreanu, John Hennigan, TJ Cloutier, Brian Hastings, Layne Flack, Ted Forrest, and a slew of players from earlier this series, including Shaun Deeb, Jeremy Ausmus, Brian Rast, and Jason Mercier.

“It was cool catching Shaun and cool catching Daniel. I mean, those guys are insane players and just to think that I’m in the same breath as them it’s pretty cool. I mean, this is what we play for and to say that I don’t want to win every tournament that I play would be a lie. I really can’t put any words to it,” Arieh told Card Player.

This victory saw him increase his career earnings to more than $12.3 million. This was his third-largest tournament score ever, trailing only the $2.5 million he earned as the third-place finisher in the 2004 WSOP main event and the $952,290 payday he secured as the runner-up in the 2009 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic main event.

As one would expect with a mixed-game event with such a hefty buy-in, the final table was stacked with accomplished pros, including four-time bracelet winner Scott Seiver (8th), bracelet winner Johannes Becker (7th), six-time bracelet winner John Hennigan (6th), four-time bracelet winner Mike Matusow (5th), and two-time bracelet winner Joao Vieira (4th).

After Yingui Li departed in third place, Arieh squared off against two-time bracelet winner Dan Heimiller with the title on the line. He scooped the final pot during a round of Omaha eight-or-better, making aces up for the high and a 6-5-4-2-A low.
Heimiller took home $439,662 as the runner-up. This was the second-largest payday of his career, trailing only the $627,462 that he earned as the 2014 WSOP seniors event champion.

Alex Kulev Banks $2.1 Million In $50,000 High Roller

Bulgarian poker pro Alex Kulev has been on fire on the high-stakes live tournament circuit in recent months. Kulev’s top three scores, each for seven figures, have all come since the start of May.

Kulev’s most recent, and largest, tournament success saw him defeat a field of 176 entries in the $50,000 high roller event to earn his first bracelet and $2,087,073.

This streak began on May 1, when he emerged victorious in the €100,000 buy-in super high roller at the EPT Monte Carlo festival for $1,108,827. Seven weeks after that, he placed fourth in the $250,000 buy-in event at the WSOP for another $1,632,005. Kulev now has $7 million in lifetime tournament earnings, with more than $5.5 million of that coming from cashes made this year.

In addition to the hardware and the money, Kulev was also awarded 1,326 POY points for this latest victory. With two titles, nine final tables, and 3,247 points, he is now the 29th-ranked player in the 2023 POY standings. He also took home 800 PokerGO Tour points for the win, climbing to ninth place on that high-stakes-centric leaderboard.

2021 WSOP main event champion Koray Aldemir was eliminated in fifth place ($533,561). The German pro now has more than $22.5 million in lifetime earnings after this latest deep run.

High-stakes pro Jake Schindler, who continues to play at the series despite being outed for cheating online, was looking for his second high roller title in as many summers, but ultimately bowed out in third place ($957,491).

Hungary’s Gergely Kulcsar earned $1,289,909 as the second-place finisher. This was his second runner-up showing of the summer, having also made it down to heads-up play in a WSOP Online event earlier this year.

Reard, Miller, And Java Add To Their Bracelet Collections

Several players with bracelets to their name added to their totals in the final weeks of this year’s series. Among them was Alexandre Reard, who picked up his first career seven-figure score during the final days of the series, banking $1,057,663 for coming out on top in the $10,000 six-max no-limit hold’em championship event.

It was his second gold bracelet overall, having won the $5,000 no-limit hold’em event in 2021 for $428,694. The Frenchman now has more than $5.2 million in career tournament earnings.

Phil Hellmuth had a shot at bracelet no. 18, but ultimately fell just short of the final table to bust in ninth place. This was Hellmuth’s 13th cash of the summer, which included a win in the $10,000 super turbo bounty event.

The final non-hold’em bracelet of the summer was ultimately won by regular mixed-game player Ryan Miller. The Pennsylvania resident outlasted a 331-entry field in the $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. event to earn $208,460 and his second career gold bracelet.

Miller had won his first bracelet just a few weeks earlier, topping a 141-player field in the $10,000 stud eight-or-better championship for $344,677. He now has more than $800,000 in career tournament earnings despite being primarily focused on cash games.

Nipun Java earned his third career bracelet by topping a 1,554-entry field in the online version of the $777 buy-in Lucky 7’s tournament. The California resident was awarded $195,151 for his latest victory at the series. His previous two wins came in the 2017 WSOP $1,000 tag team no-limit hold’em event and a $1,000 buy-in online event that same summer.

Java now has nearly $3.5 million in recorded tournament earnings after this latest six-figure score. It was his fifth-largest cash ever, with his top payday being the $270,509 he secured for a runner-up finish in a $3,000 pot-limit Omaha event at the 2015 WSOP.

Big Names Bag Breakthrough Bracelets

While several accomplished players were increasing their bracelet counts, others broke through with their first victories at the series down the stretch. One such player was Shawn Daniels, who emerged victorious in the live version of the $777 buy-in Lucky 7’s no-limit hold’em event.

The Placerville, California resident fittingly was awarded the top prize of $777,777 to take his career earnings above $2.5 million. Daniels’ first gold bracelet joined a trophy case that also includes two WSOP Circuit gold rings.

37-year-old Faraz Jaka almost didn’t attend this year’s WSOP due to health issues. Thankfully, the former WPT Player of the Year managed a speedy recovery. After a slow start, Jaka hit his stride in the final weeks of the series, making a deep run in the main event (219th -$58,500) and then, days later, taking down the $1,500 no-limit hold’em shootout event for his first gold bracelet and the top prize of $237,367.

Tom Marchese entered the series with more than $18.7 million in prior scores to his name, including seven separate seven-figure paydays. More than 13 years after his first cash at the WSOP, he finally broke through to capture his first bracelet, topping a field of 1,170 entries to win the $1,000 no-limit hold’em six-max championship for $195,963.

France’s Julien Sitbon had nearly $2.5 million in career cashes to his name before he won his first bracelet. The 2022 Master Classics of Poker winner finally secured a bracelet by winning the WSOP Online $2,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em freezeout championship. He took home $176,348 for the win, the third-largest score of his career.

Alex Keating nabbed the largest poker tournament win of his career on the final day of the series, topping an 813-entry field in the $5,000 no-limit hold’em event to earn $701,688 and his first gold bracelet. He now has more than $3.5 million in earnings. Prior to this, his top score had been the $423,890 he earned as the third-place finisher in the 2016 WPT L.A. Poker Classic main event.

More First-Time Winners

There were 11 more first-time bracelet winners crowned as this year’s series powered on through its conclusion. One such player was Spain’s Samuel Bernabeu, who was the eventual champion in the $2,500 no-limit hold’em event. Bernabeu outlasted 2,068 entries to earn the top prize of $682,436.

Joseph Roh is this year’s $600 ultra stack champion. He beat out 7,207 entries to earn $401,250. From a field of 1,013 entries in the $3,000 six-max pot-limit Omaha event, it was Matthew Parry who came out on top. Parry earned $480,122. Vietnamese poker player Thai Ha bested 363 entries in the $1,500 short deck event to earn the gold and the top prize of $111,170.

This year’s $1,979 Poker Hall of Fame no-limit hold’em bounty event drew 1,417 entries. The unique event awards a bounty to anyone who knocks out a member of the Poker Hall of Fame. Peru’s Diego Ventura was the last man standing, taking home $402,054.

The $2,500 Omaha and stud eight-or-better mixed event had drawn 460 entries by the time that registration closed, building a prize pool of $1,023,500. The last pot was scooped by Toronto’s Bradley Smith, who earned $221,733.

Pierre Shum is officially a closer. The Chicago resident bested 3,531 entries in the $1,500 no-limit hold’em event dubbed The Closer, earning $606,810 and his first bracelet.

The Flip & Go saw 1,022 entries create a $911,360 prize pool. A total of 128 players made phase 2, which required them to win a blind all-in against their entire first table. When the dust settled it was Dong Meng standing alone with the win and $160,490, besting live-stream regular Wesley ‘Westside’ Fei heads-up.

Canada’s Kang Hyun Lee won the final $1,000 freezeout event, surviving a 1,710-entry field to take down $236,741 and his first bracelet.

With 106 entries, the prize pool for the $10,000 short deck championship grew to $985,800. The top 16 made the money in the end, with the Faroe Islander Martin Nielsen coming away with the title and the top prize of $270,160. This was the first bracelet win for Nielsen, and his largest live tournament cash yet.

The final live event of the series was a race to the finish. A total of 1,482 entries were made in the $1,000 super turbo, creating a $1,318,980 prize pool. It took only 12 hours to play down from that sea of entries to a champion, with Paul Berger claiming the $212,645 top prize by denying Yuri Dzivielevski a fourth bracelet during heads-up play.

WSOP Online Event Winners

In addition to the WSOP Online bracelets won by Marchese, Sitbon, and Java, there were two other online events held for Nevada and New Jersey players that wrapped up during the final days of the series.

The $600 no-limit hold’em Deepstack Championship drew a massive turnout of 2,157 entries, creating a prize pool of $1,164,779 that was ultimately split up amongst the top 289 finishers. In the end, it was Vitor Dzivielevski, brother of Yuri Dzivielevski, who came away with the title, his first bracelet, and the top prize of $185,316.

The Dzivielevskis now join a short list of siblings with titles at the series that includes the likes of the Mizrachis (Michael and Robert), the Kopps (Katie and William), the Hinkles (Blair and Grant), the Zamanis (Martin and Benjamin), and Howard Lederer and Annie Duke.

This was the largest recorded score yet for the Brazilian, topping the $153,485 he secured for a sixth-place finish in the $5,000 six-max event at the series just over a week earlier. Six-time bracelet winner Daniel Negreanu made the final table, but was knocked out in ninth place ($15,026).

The penultimate event of the WSOPO was the $500 buy-in no-limit hold’em Summer Saver. There were 2,156 total entries made by the time that registration officially closed, creating a $970,200 prize pool. Christian Roberts of Venezuela ultimately captured the largest chunk of that money. He earned $154,359 and his first bracelet as the champion. ♠