If there’s anything in the poker world that makes us put online poker sites to one side for a moment and focus on live poker instead, it is the game’s most prestigious annual festival, the World Series of Poker. We have just received word of the dates for its 2023 installment. Series organizer Caesars Entertainment revealed on Monday, Dec. 12, that the 54th WSOP will run from May 30 – July 18, 2023.
Just like this year’s, 2023’s WSOP will be held on the Las Vegas Strip at the Paris and Horseshoe (the rebranded Bally’s) casinos. 2022 marked the move from the off-strip Rio Casino, which had hosted the series since 2005. This change of venue appeared to be successful with a record $347.9 million in prize pools generated and the second-largest Main Event field in history.
World Series of Poker Executive Director Ty Stewart commented:
The historic debut of the WSOP on the Las Vegas Strip delivered in a big way, and we’re excited to announce our Summer 2023 dates in time for the holidays. Poker players and fans can now officially mark their calendars and maybe even book their loved ones or themselves a trip to the WSOP as a holiday gift. We’re glad to be back at Paris Las Vegas and the future Horseshoe Las Vegas for another exciting chapter in the tournament’s history as these two resorts raised the bar in hosting last year’s event.
Specific Events Announced
Although the full details of the tournaments contained in the 2023 WSOP have yet to be communicated to the public, we do know about a few of them.
The $10,000 Main Event will feature four starting days from July 3 – 6. The action will continue through to July 17 when a new poker champion will be crowned.
The $1,000 Mystery Millions, introduced in 2022, will be returning with a May 31 starting date near the beginning of the festival. In this tournament, bounties will begin on Day 2 with the value of each bounty randomly determined after each player is eliminated. There’s one bounty guaranteed to be $1,000,000, and the winner of the tourney is also guaranteed a $1 million prize.
Other returning events include the $1,500 Millionaire Maker on June 23 with a $1 million guaranteed top prize, the $1,000 Ladies Championship on June 29, and the $777 buyin Lucky 7s tourney on July 7 with a $777,777 prize to the winner.
New for 2023 is the Gladiators of Poker $300 buyin event, scheduled to begin June 7. Despite its low price point – the smallest ever for an official bracelet event – this tournament comes with an amazing $3 million guaranteed. The event needs 10,000 entrants to hit this ambitious total, so we ought to witness a massive crowd ponying up their $300 for a chance at a big payday.
Special Room Rates
Caesars is giving special room rates for visitors to Vegas during the 2023 Series. These rates can be accessed on the Caesars online booking page with the code WSOP23. Prices are as low as $56 per night at the Horseshoe and $75 at Paris for certain dates during the WSOP although other dates, particularly weekends, are much more expensive.
These promotional discounts are not exclusive to the two resorts that are actually hosting the series but rather extend across the whole Caesars LV empire, including such Las Vegas properties as Planet Hollywood, The Cromwell, and The Linq. Please note that the prices shown on the Caesars booking calendar do not include resort feess.
History of the WSOP
Poker’s premier annual event rose from inauspicious beginnings in 1970 when casino pioneer Benny Binion invited seven of his poker friends to play against each other at Binion’s Horseshoe in Downtown Las Vegas for a silver cup. The Main Event the following year actually had only six participants, but 12 contenders showed up in 1972 and 13 in 1973. It was clear that the series was becoming a fixture in the poker world, and it only grew larger from there.
After Chris Moneymaker won the Main Event in 2003, gaining his entry via online satellite and triumphing over the field of 938, this growth only accelerated. 2004’s WSOP saw a Main Event with 2,576 participants and a $5 million first prize, which was won by Greg Raymer.
Move to the Rio
2004 was the final year that the WSOP was held at Binion’s Horseshoe as Harrah’s had acquired the rights to the series and moved it to the Rio in 2005 although the final two days of the 2005 series were held at Binion’s. Here the World Series remained until 2021, Harrah’s having changed its name to Caesars Entertainment in the interim.
The years at the Rio saw continued growth of the series with the largest-ever Main Event taking place in 2006 with a field of 8,773, a prize pool in excess of $82 million, and a $12 million payday for victor Jamie Gold. However, its deficiencies as WSOP host became manifest over the years as the property was seldom upgraded, was in an inconvenient off-Strip location, and was allegedly as cold as a meat locker.
In 2019, Caesars announced the sale of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. Then in 2021, organizers revealed that from the following year, the WSOP would be held at Strip casinos Bally’s (soon-to-be Horseshoe) and Paris.
The 2022 WSOP was the first to be held on the Las Vegas Strip, and by almost every account, the new location is better than the Rio. With more space between the two casinos than in the old Rio and superior parking options, players found the new location much more convenient. At the same time, the dining options on-property improved vastly, and the rooms were nicer than those at the Rio.
The numbers speak for themselves: The total prize pool of more than $345 million across 101 bracelet events (88 live and 13 online) was the highest ever. As far as the Main Event is concerned, 2022 saw 8,663 players take their seats, 110 short of the record set in 2006 but still good for second place in the history of WSOP Main Events. The winner was Norway’s Espen Jorstad who collected the top prize of $10 million.
Prepare for the WSOP Now Online
You don’t need to wait for May 2023 to begin preparing for the World Series. Indeed, you may wish to log on to your favorite online poker site and get in some practice right now. Unless you’re fortunate enough to reside in the handful of states with licensed internet poker rooms, your best bet is to head offshore.
Offshore poker sites, though in a gray area for the operators, are totally legal from your perspective as an ordinary player. You can learn more about them, including how to sign up, in this guide to USA online poker. For additional info on the legal aspects of this pastime, check out this page devoted to online poker and the law.