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Tyler Brown Hero-Calls To Victory In The 2023 World Series of Poker Mystery Millions Event

The Illinois Resident Defeated A Record Field of 18,188 Entries To Earn His First Bracelet and $1,000,000


Tyler Brown has topped the largest-ever field in a World Series of Poker event with a buy-in of $1,000 or higher, outlasting a field of 18,188 in the 2023 WSOP Mystery Millions. While that fact is plenty dramatic in its own right, the Illinois resident’s victory was made all the more impressive thanks to the huge hero call he made moments before earning his first gold bracelet and the top prize of $1,000,000.

Brown was heads-up against Guang Chen, who had him covered by just five big blinds. Brown raised on the button with AClub Suit5Spade Suit. Chen called with KClub Suit9Heart Suit from the big blind and the two saw a flop of 3Spade Suit3Heart Suit2Diamond Suit. Chen checked and Brown made a continuation bet with his overcards and a gutshot straight draw. Chen quickly check-raised, making it four times the size of Brown’s initial bet. Brown called and the QSpade Suit rolled off on the turn. Chen moved all-in for Brown’s remaining 19 big blinds and after some thought, Brown called all-in with just ace high. He was ahead, but had to fade six outs on the river. The QHeart Suit completed the board, though, keeping Brown’s hand best.

Check out a replay of the hand from PokerGO’s exclusive livestreaming coverage of the final table:

Not long after dragging that massive pot, Brown closed out the win to secure the seven-figure top prize. He also earned 1,440 Card Player Player of the Year points as the champion. This was his third final-table finish of the year, with a runner-up showing in a PGT Pot-Limit Omaha $10,000 buy-in event and a sixth-place finish in the recent WSOP $5,000 no-limit hold’em and pot-limit Omaha mixed event. With $1,238,562 in to-date POY earnings and 2,400 total points, Brown now sits in 29th place in the 2023 POY race standings presented by Global Poker.

Shant MarashlianBrown was not the only player to leave this event with a seven-figure payday. $300 from each $1,000 buy-in was set aside for the mystery bounty prize pool, which could only be accessed by players that made day 2 and then secured a knockout. Each bounty slip they earned for busting a player on day 2 would give them one pull at a bounty, with available prizes ranging from $1,000 up to $1,000,000. The huge turnout this year resulted in two million-dollar bounties, which were eventually pulled by Shant Marashlian and Patrick Liang. Klint Teveraei took home the lone $500,000 bounty, while two-time bracelet winner Eric Baldwin drew the $250,000 payout.

This event took six days to complete, with four starting flights and then two more full days of action. Day 2’s bounty excitement ended with just 30 players remaining and Chen in the lead. Brown was fifth in chips to start the final day, and ended up in the middle of the pack when the final table was set.

Raymond Taylor (9th – $96,100) and Tam Ho (8th – $121,683) were both knocked out by Steven Thompson, who moved closer to the top of the leaderboard thanks to securing those two early eliminations.

Dan Shak’s was sent packing when his pocket eights clashed with the pocket jacks of Chen. All of the chips went in preflop with Shak well behind, but he picked up a flush draw when three hearts were revealed on the flop. The turn and the river brought no help to Shak, though, and he was eliminated in seventh place. The $154,940 he secured for his deep run was enough to grow his career tournament earnings to over $13.1 million. He also pulled a $100,000 bounty earlier in the day to further increase his haul for the event.

Tauan De Oliveira Naves was the next to fall. The Brazilian called all-in from the big blind with A-J suited facing a small-blind shove from Thompson, who had 10-9. De Oliveira Naves flopped top pair, but Thompson turned a straight and faded De Oliveira Naves’ backdoor flush draw to narrow the field to five. De Oliveira Naves earned $198,320 as the sixth-place finisher. He now has more than $1.7 million in recorded earnings to his name.

A classic race spelled the end of Rhian Fineis’ run in this event. He got all-in with A-J facing the pocket tens of Brown. The pocket pair held up and Fineis was eliminated in fifth place ($255,210). This was his first-ever six-figure tournament score.

With that, Brown overtook the chip lead heading into four-handed action. On the other end of the spectrum, Steven Thompson’s stack had been whittled down during short-handed play. He managed a double to go from around five big blinds back over ten, but was soon back in the danger zone. He ultimately got all-in with Q-6, shoving for just shy of 6.5 big blinds from the small blind. Chen called from the big blind with A-5. Neither player connected and Chen’s ace-high was enough to earn him the pot and the knockout. Thompson earned $330,150 for his fourth-place showing, just edging out the $328,487 he earned as the runner-up in the 2016 WSOP $3,000 six-max event to set a new ‘top score’ on the circuit.

Another battle of the blinds saw Ryan McKnight sent to the rail in third place. There were other similarities between this hand and the previous elimination because both saw the small blind shove nearly 6.5 big blinds with Q-6. McKnight was looked up by Chen, who held Q-10. The board brought three jacks and two non-six low cards to send the pot to Chen. McKnight was awarded $429,360 for his third-place showing, growing his career earnings to just shy of $1.7 million in the process.

Heads-up play began with Chen holding 471,000,000 to 258,000,000 of Brown. It did not take long at all for the leaderboard to shift drastically, though. Chen lost a bit right away, calling with bottom pair against Brown’s top pair on the first hand of their showdown.

The very next deal saw the previously-discussed hero call that changed everything. Brown took nearly an 11:1 chip lead after the hand. Shortly after that, Chen move all-in with A-J suited. Brown called the shove of five big blinds with Q-7. He flopped a seven to take the lead, and rivered trips to lock up the pot and the title. Chen took home $561,320 as the runner-up finisher.

Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:

Place Player Earnings POY Points
1 Tyler Brown $1,000,000 1440
2 Guang Chen $561,320 1200
3 Ryan McKnight $429,360 960
4 Steven Thompson $330,150 720
5 Rhian Fineis $255,210 600
6 Tauan De Oliveira Naves $198,320 480
7 Dan Shak $154,940 360
8 Tam Ho $121,683 240
9 Raymond Taylor $96,100 120

Visit the Card Player 2023 World Series of Poker page for schedules, news, interviews, and the latest event results.

Winner photo credit: WSOP / Danny Maxwell.