World Series of Poker 2023 Breaks All-Time Records

Just when some said poker is on the wane, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) says, “Hold our beer.” Or possibly Red Bull.

The Vegas-hosted poker tournament has broken an all-time entrant record with 10,042 people taking part in the WSOP’s Main Event.

A record number of entrants means historic payouts: The first place finisher will take home $12.1 million. It costs $10,000 to enter.

This is the 54th installment of the WSOP, now held at the Horseshoe on the Las Vegas Strip.

Here’s our annual opportunity to mention casino chips are made from the same materials as kitty litter.

The WSOP Main Event’s previous participation record was 8,773, set in 2006. Jamie Gold won that year.

Gold won $12 million, the highest Main Event prize ever. This year, WSOP smartly added $100,000 so this year’s could be the highest. Marketing for the win!

The WSOP says fifteen percent of the participants in the Main Event will get prize money.

Beyond the top prize of $12.1 million, second place gets $6.5 million, third place gets $4 million.

Let’s just say it’s good to make it to the final table of nine players. The first of the nine to be eliminated gets a paltry $900,000.

The player who comes in 1,0004th gets $20,000.

In addition to the $12.1 million, the winner also gets some sweet bling, the 2023 Main Event gold bracelet. The bracelet was unveiled by Guy Fieri on July 7, 2023, so you know it looks classy.

Soon to be surreptitiously secreted from a Las Vegas hotel room in an escort’s lady parts. Also, Surreptitious Secretions was the name of our band in high school.

From the news release, the WSOP winner’s bracelet features “approximately 500 grams of 10-karat yellow gold with 2,352 various precious gemstones, including 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.”

This year’s bracelet also has a horseshoe, a nod to the WSOP’s return to the Horseshoe, formerly Bally’s.

The WSOP got its start at Binion’s Horseshoe, downtown.

The WSOP’s Main Event gets the most attention, but the tournament is a series of events spanning what feels like 26 consecutive months.

Another noteworthy item from this year’s World Series of Poker: Poker legend and unpleasant person Phil Hellmuth won his 17th WSOP gold bracelet in event #72: $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty.

Whatever one’s view of “Poker Brat” Phil Hellmuth’s personality, he’s the undeniable lead-holder of career WSOP bracelet wins, as he’s happy to remind anyone willing to listen.

The late Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan and Phil Ivey are all tied for second-most with 10 gold bracelets each.

The other most exciting thing to happen at this year’s WSOP was a kerfuffle about possible cheating by someone even more annoying that Phil Hellmuth.

Martin Kabrhel is apparently being investigated for marking cards. Kabrhel has denied cheating, but we suspect he’d have to plead guilty to charges of being, in the parlance of poker, a complete jackass.

Here’s video of some of the fireworks.

Sort of looks like somebody was a sore loser (Dan Smith), and there’s no rule against being a jerk, sadly.

For the most part, watching poker is largely akin to watching paint dry, so any and all drama is welcome.

On a somewhat related note, the WSOP is mostly a sausage fest. The percentage of female players has never surpassed six percent. About five percent of pro poker players are women.

The WSOP Main Event runs through July 17, 2023.

Phil Hellmuth has already been eliminated, so there’s that.