The record-breaking summer at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) has concluded with the crowning of a world champion. For the first time since 2018, an American has won the WSOP Main Event.
Daniel Weinman of Atlanta captured the coveted WSOP gold bracelet and the $12.1 million top prize.
Weinman’s journey to WSOP Main Event glory
The 2023 WSOP final table of nine players started Sunday and the remaining three players determined the winner over three hours Monday afternoon at the Horseshoe Las Vegas. Weinman won the Main Event over Scottsdale’s Steven Jones, who spends 30-35% of his time in Las Vegas. Jones will enjoy more time in Las Vegas after winning $6.5 million for his runner-up finish.
In three-handed play, Weinman knocked out Adam Walton of Henderson, NV, when his pocket aces (AA) held vs Walton’s pocket eights (88) in a massive pot that saw all the chips go into the middle pre-flop.
Weinman surged to the WSOP Main Event final table when he captured a huge pot with less than 15 players remaining on Day 8. He was also a huge underdog on the hand as three players got all their chips in the middle pre-flop with pocket kings (KK), pocket queens (QQ) and Jones’ pocket jacks (JJ). Jones was at risk of being eliminated, but caught a jack on the turn for a set (3 of a kind) to stay alive and advance.
“At the time, it was just so much emotion and so much adrenaline,” Weinman told Play Nevada ahead of the final table. “I had trouble for the next hour trying to regain my composure.”
Weinman had knocked out his good friend from Atlanta, Josh Payne, who held the pocket kings. But that big pot propelled Weinman to the final table and his historic win.
This year’s special gold WSOP bracelet
Designed by Jostens exclusively for the WSOP, this year’s Main Event championship bracelet features approximately 500 grams of 10-karat yellow gold and 2,352 various precious gemstones. That includes 42 carats of round genuine diamonds, 425 black and red stones to accentuate the suits and a removable golden poker chip that sits in the center of the bracelet.
WSOP celebrates records and growth in 2023
The popularity of poker and all types of variations has been on full display this summer in Las Vegas. The WSOP exceeded expectations with massive fields.
Weinman toppled the record-breaking field of 10,043 in the $10,000 buy-in WSOP Main Event that lasted 10 days. But at least 10 other bracelet events set entries and attendance records during the 2023 WSOP summer schedule, including the popular $1,500 Millionaire Maker Event #53 that drew 10,416 entries.
There was a total of 95 live bracelet events plus another 21 online poker bracelet events at the 2023 WSOP.
This year’s 54th World Series of Poker was the second year on the Las Vegas Strip at Paris and rebranded Horseshoe. It was played in honor of poker legend Doyle Brunson, who passed away in May.
Much has changed in 20 years since Chris Moneymaker’s stunning victory in the 2003 WSOP Main Event. His win fueled the “Moneymaker Effect” and popularity in poker until Black Friday in 2011. But poker started coming back until COVID hit again in 2019. This year’s WSOP made an exclamation point on the return to popularity of poker.
With Las Vegas visitation up in May and online gaming and poker revenue continuing to climb, Nevada added to the record-setting 2023 World Series of Poker.
Could poker’s momentum continue with WSOP Paradise?
On the heels of a record-shattering summer, the WSOP is heading to the tropics this winter to kick off a new live tournament poker series, WSOP Paradise. The newly minted series, made possible through a partnership with GGPoker, is set to take place from December 3-14, 2023, at Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas.
Featuring 15 bracelet events in total, WSOP Paradise will be headlined by a total of $50 million in guaranteed prize pools, including a $5,000 Main Event with a $15 million total prize pool guarantee, and a $1,500 Mystery Bounty with a $5 million guarantee.
“The summer was an unprecedented success, but the vision is equally as ambitious for WSOP Paradise,” said Ty Stewart, SVP & Executive Director of the WSOP.
GGPoker, who sent 774 players to the Main Event at this summer’s WSOP, has pledged to send at least 1,000 players to WSOP Paradise.