The biggest event in live poker is underway and has set a new player record. 10,043 received $60,000 in chips and sat down to play the 2023 World Series of Poker Main event earlier this month.
The 54th No Limit Hold-Em World Championship kicked off with four Day 1 sessions beginning on July 3rd. Hosted at the Horseshoe Casino and Paris Casino in Las Vegas, the two-week concludes the World Series, which sees thousands flock to the desert for competition, with winners of each event taking home a coveted WSOP bracelet and lots of money.
What was once a meeting of the best card players from around the world has become the biggest annual event in gaming. The WSOP Twitter page has called this year’s edition the “Biggest One Ever”, eclipsing the 2006 event that drew 8,773 during the height of the “internet poker” era.
Record Number of WSOP Winners
With the biggest field in history, this also means a record number of winners. The organizers decided the top 15 percent will cash this year, up from the traditional top 10 percent of finishers, meaning 1,507 will get to claim they cashed in the richest event in poker history, taking home a share of the pot that swelled to over $93 million. The champion will get the bracelet and a record $12.1 million.
The online poker boom of the mid-2000s made Texas Hold Em the darling of the American gaming scene. Millions learned how to bet and raise at home and at casinos across the country. The first “internet champion”, Chris Moneymaker, will cash on the 20th anniversary of his 2003 Main Event win. The spread of online casinos means more players can legally join tables in their home states, as poker looks to restore the popularity that existed before charges of money laundering and fraud shuttered sites like PokerStars in 2011.
In Memory of Doyle Brunson
The historic achievement does come with a twinge of sadness for the poker community. This is the first WSOP held since the passing of poker legend Doyle Brunson. The Poker Hall of Famer won the Main Event in 1976 and 1977, one of four to win multiple world championships. The icon and ambassador known as “Texas Dolly” retired from professional play in 2018 and died on May 14th of this year at age 89.
In their post announcing the record player pool, the WSOP honored Brunson’s memory with a quote imposed over a picture of him and others in front of the Binion Horseshoe casino from years gone by. “One generation opens the road upon which another generation travels.”
The event will reach its final table of nine players on Friday night, with the champion scheduled to be crowned on Monday. Fans can follow the action on streaming site PokerGo with televised coverage on the CBS family of stations.