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Ian Matakis Wins 2023 WSOP Player Of The Year Award

Minnesota Pro Records 22 Cashes, Including First Bracelet Win

by Erik Fast |  Published: Aug 23, 2023


Ian Matakis has been a fixture on the tournament scene for about half of a decade, with his first recorded live tournament score coming in early 2018. This year marked a true breakout for the 25-year-old poker player from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

He cashed in 22 events during the 2023 World Series of Poker, with six top-nine finishes and a win in the WSOP Online $500 no-limit hold’em ‘Bankroll Builder’ event for his first gold bracelet. Nine of Matakis’ 22 total cashes this summer came in WSOP Online events.

Matakis’ impressive run saw him accumulate $881,682 in total earnings and 5,203 WSOP Player of the Year points, enough to see the rising star secure this year’s POY honors.

“WSOP player of the year! What an honor to join such a prestigious group of people,” Matakis said. “I had a blast battling and meeting many new friends along the way. Time to go home and spend some time with friends, family, and [my] girlfriend. Thanks to everyone who rooted for me this summer!”

Next year, Matakis will have a POY banner hung in the Horseshoe Grand Ballroom and will receive free entry into the WSOP main event.

The average payday secured by Matakis across his 22 scores was $40,076. The single largest score was the $205,696 he earned as the third-place finisher in the $3,000 pot-limit Omaha six-max event, which played out on one of the secondary featured tables while the WSOP main event was busy setting the final table.

Matakis was incredibly consistent given that most of the tournaments he played were smaller buy-in, large-field events. The average field size for his in-the-money finishes during the series was just over 1,913 entries. His average buy-in in the events he cashed in was $3,924, but that average would drop to $1,730 if one were to exclude the super high roller cash of $199,275 he earned for ninth-place in the $50,000 pot-limit Omaha event.

2018 WSOP POY Shaun Deeb finished second in the standings, marking his fifth straight year of finishing inside the top six. Deeb’s streak spans from 2018-2023, with 2020 excluded, as no POY race was held that year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This summer Deeb won his sixth career bracelet and made four final tables overall.

Chris Brewer and Josh Arieh, who both won two bracelets this summer, finished in third and fourth place in the final POY standings. Brewer had an outstanding series, cashing for more than $6 million. Like Deeb, Arieh also won his sixth bracelet, joining Phil Hellmuth as the only two players to win a bracelet in all three Las Vegas WSOP venues. Speaking of Hellmuth, with 13 cashes and his record-furthering 17th bracelet, he finished ninth in the final standings.

Mike Holtz, who finished 14th in the final rankings, set a new record this year with 25 in-the-money finishes secured in a single series. The regular known to many as ‘BrockLesnar’ just edged out Deeb for the most cashes, with Deeb’s 24 also breaking the previous record held by Chris Ferguson and Daniel Negreanu.

WSOP POY Standings

Place Player POY Points
1 Ian Matakis 5,203
2 Shaun Deeb 4,276
3 Chris Brewer 4,127
4 Josh Arieh 3,938
5 Jesse Lonis 3,865
6 Michael Rodrigues 3,513
7 Chad Eveslage 3,447
8 Ben Yu 3,128
9 Phil Hellmuth 3,072
10 Yuval Bronshtein 3,056