The afternoon of Monday, July 17, 2023 saw a new poker champ crowned as Daniel Weinman of Atlanta, Georgia outlasted all his competitors to become the winner of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event. Along with supreme bragging rights and a coveted gold bracelet, Weinman picked up a prize of $12.1 million.
The tournament was the largest WSOP Main Event ever and was hosted jointly by the Paris and Horseshoe (formerly Bally’s) casinos in Las Vegas, just as last year’s Main Event was. There were 10,043 entrants who paid enough in buy-ins to create a prize pool of $93,399,900. Both of these figures beat the records set in 2006 when 8,773 players registered for the Main Event, which had a prize pool of $82,512,162.
Final Day Action
Heading into the Horseshoe Events Center for the 10th and final day of the tournament, the field had been whittled down to just three. Daniel Weinman had about 100 big blinds in his stack, putting him in between Steven Jones’ 119 and Adam Walton’s 83. Curiously, all three remaining contenders hailed from the United States, so whoever ended up winning, it would mark the first time an American won the WSOP Main Event since John Cynn did it in 2018.
Weinman was able to grow his stack to larger than either of his opponents through aggressive play. Then a fateful hand happened after about two hours of play that saw Daniel Weinman’s A♥ A♦ square off against Adam Waltons’ 8♠ 8♣ all-in preflop. The 7♣ 5♥ 3♣ 9♠ K♣ board connected with neither player, and Weinman’s aces prevailed, giving him nearly a 3:1 chip advantage going into heads-up play against Steven Jones.
The one-on-one denouement of the WSOP Main Event didn’t last too long this time around. After some inconclusive skirmishing that lasted about an hour and saw little movement in chip stacks, the final hand occurred.
Jones opened on the button and Weinman called. After a check, Jones made a c-bet on the J♠ 5♠ 2♦ flop, and Daniel check-raised. Steven made the call.
The turn came 4♣and Daniel continued his aggression from the previous street by leading out. Jones thought for several minutes before raising the remainder of his stack. Weinman called, and the hands were revealed:
Steven Jones: J♣ 8♦
Daniel Weinman: K♣ J♦
They both held top pair, but Daniel had the better kicker. The river was the inconsequential A♥and Daniel Weinman became poker’s 2023 champion.
Though Weinman booked the largest cash prize of the event with $12.1 million, everyone at the final table walked away with at least $900,000:
- Daniel Weinman (United States): $12,100,000
- Steven Jones (United States): $6,500,000
- Adam Walton (United States): $4,000,000
- Jan-Peter Jachymann (Germany): $3,000,000
- Ruslan Prydryk (Ukraine): $2,400,000
- Dean Hutchison (United Kingdom): $1,850,000
- Toby Lewis (United Kingdom): $1,420,000
- Jaun Maceiras Lapido (Spain): $1,125,000
- Daniel Holzner (Italy): $900,000
Not Daniel Weinman’s First Rodeo
Weinman, 35 years old, is no stranger to the live tournament circuit. His first cash in a WSOP event dates all the way back to 2010 although Daniel has stated that he’s been grinding the series longer than this, since about 2007.
Despite scoring 79 cashes in World Series of Poker tournaments – including international and circuit events – prior to 2023, Daniel was not happy with his performance. Notably, much of his previous success came in low-buyin tourneys, and he in fact only cashed in one Main Event before for a relatively modest $44,200. “I was honestly on the fence about even coming back and playing this tournament,” he remarked after Monday’s win.
However, signs were apparent (perhaps only in retrospect) that Daniel has been working toward greater glory in recent years. In 2015, he picked up his first WSOP Circuit ring for winning the Harrah’s Cherokee $1,675 main event, good for $280,260. In 2017, he prevailed in two prestigious World Poker Tour festivals, winning both the Borgata Winter Poker Open $3,500 Main Event and the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown $15,000 Tournament of Champions: worth $892,433 and $381,500 respectively. Then last year, Weinman secured his first WSOP bracelet in the $1,000 PLO event, taking home $255,359.
Daniel’s win on Monday brings his number of WSOP bracelets to 2 and his total live tournament cash earnings to $15,857,357. On the list of all-time money winners from Georgia, Daniel is now in second place, sandwiched between Cary Katz ($38.6 million) and Josh Arieh ($12.2 million).
When the final card was dealt and Daniel’s rail erupted in celebration, the bystanders included not just the usual friends and family from back home, but also several poker pros. Weinman had after all attended the WSOP for 16 years straight, and he naturally made new buddies over the years. Josh Arieh and Shaun Deeb were among the crowd ready to congratulate him.
Speaking of his victory, Daniel Weinman said:
Final tables can go so many different ways. You need some cards to get chips, there were a lot of good players left with a lot more tournament experience than me. But when we got down to three, I did feel like I was the best player of the three. And a couple good hands at the right time; it all came together.
WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart opined in a press release:
Today will hold a special place in the history of live tournament poker. After 17 years, we have named the winner of the largest Main Event in the history of the WSOP. To watch Daniel’s emphatic victory over the 10,043 entrants was nothing short of spectacular.
Info About the 2023 WSOP
2022 was the first year that the World Series of Poker was held at its current venues of Paris Casino and Horseshoe Casino, having moved from the Rio Casino, which had hosted the Series for more than a decade and a half. The new locations proved to be popular with players, leading organizers to go all out to make the 2023 festival one to remember.
For the first time this year, the WSOP held a Global Qualification Weekend May 20 and 21 at 15 cardrooms around the world, including the Horseshoe Las Vegas and Turning Stone in New York. These participating cardrooms ran $140 satellites that fed into a $1,175 mega, which awarded at least one guaranteed WSOP Main Event seat along with travel expenses. In addition, more than 700 seats were awarded online via GGPoker and WSOP.com.
Both of these promotions likely contributed to participation in the Main Event exceeding all previous iterations. Because this record was broken, with 10,043 entries recorded, a special raffle was held among all Main Event participants. Canada’s Jason Clarke won the “Seat for Life,” which consists of free entry to the WSOP ME until 2053.
Some of the other records set at this year’s premier poker event were:
- Phil Hellmuth extended his 16-bracelet record to 17 by prevailing in Event #72: $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty
- The total prize money across all live bracelet tournaments in the series was $402,808,892, breaking the record set last year of $347,941,800
- Mike Holtz cashed in 25 bracelet events, surpassing Daniel Negreanu and Chris Ferguson, each of whom had cashed 23 times a single series
- 36 individuals won a prize of more than $1 million, setting the record for the series
Play Online to Practice for the Big Game
Although there’s no online poker tournament with the cachet of the World Series of Poker Main Event, there are still plenty of respectable places on the internet where you can win real money in poker tourneys. Even as you pile up the online winnings, you’ll be practicing for the day when you take your seat at the WSOP. Some offshore poker sites even host satellites to major live events, so you could win your way to the Main Event without having to put up the whole $10,000 yourself.
To find out more about your options for playing poker over the internet, check out this guide to USA online poker. It’s completely legal for you to participate at these sites, and you can learn more about this topic with this page devoted to online poker legality in the United States.