What Celebrities Were at the 2023 WSOP?

The list may seem a bit slim because it is. The last several years have lacked the celebrity power that was present before Black Friday, when sites like PokerStars sponsored players and celebrity-themed poker shows were regularly broadcasted. There are some die-hards, though, like Kevin Pollak, who return year after year. And Caesars – WSOP parent company – delivers some appearances.

Let’s take a look at who showed up this year:

  • Martha Stewart
  • Kelsey Plum
  • Jim Jefferies
  • Wayne Newton
  • Guy Fieri
  • Kevin Pollak
  • Richard Seymour
  • Ryan Garcia & Adam 22
  • Boston Rob
  • Farah Galfond
  • Beth Hall
  • Nate Silver

Caesars-Related Celebrities

It is a no-brainer from an advertising and marketing perspective. Caesars Entertainment owns the Horseshoe and Paris Las Vegas properties that host the WSOP on the Las Vegas Strip.

Martha Stewart

Prior to the World Series beginning at the end of May, Martha Stewart tweeted a message to poker players, as her restaurant in Paris had just opened prior to the start of the WSOP, just down the hall from the WSOP ballroom entrance.

Kelsey Plum

Caesars did bring in a star of the Las Vegas Aces WNBA team – the 2022 WNBA championship team, in fact. Point guard Kelsey Plum did the “shuffle up and deal” to kick off the Mystery Millions tournament on May 31.

Jim Jefferies

Famous comedian Jim Jefferies was at the WSOP early in the series to play Event 3. He was doing shows down the Las Vegas Strip at the Mirage, and regular poker player and comedian Clayton Fletcher was opening for him. The appearance at the WSOP didn’t seem to be Caesars-related, as Caesars does not own the Mirage, but Jefferies did play a low buy-in event to try it out.

Wayne Newton

To kick off the Salute to Warriors tournament on June 25, Caesars brought its Flamingo Casino performer and Las Vegas legend, Wayne Newton to the tables. Newton wanted to do the honors and thank members of the military for their service, and he was clearly happy to be there.

Guy Fieri

And when it came to the Main Event, the WSOP gave the “shuffle up” microphone to previous Main Event champions like Chris Moneymaker and Jamie Gold, as well as last year’s champion Espen Jorstad. But to present the special gold bracelet, Caesars pegged Guy Fieri, whose new restaurant just opened days prior in near the entrance to Horseshoe.

Main Event Celebrities

Kevin Pollak

One celebrity is such a fan of poker and regular player that he plays the Main Event almost every year. Longtime actor, Screen Actors Guild Award winner, and comedian Kevin Pollak is always busy in Hollywood but finds time for home games and the occasional major tournament. Some might remember that he also hosted the first season of Celebrity Poker Showdown, a poker boom production that aired on Bravo. As far as the WSOP Main Event, he cashed twice in the past, once in 2019 and with a deep run in 2012 (when he finished 134th for $52,718).

Richard Seymour

A staple at poker tournaments for years, Richard Seymour played the Main Event again this year. The American football player knows what it feels like to win, having been a part of the New England Patriots and three of their Super Bowl wins. Poker filled his need for a challenge after his football career, playing tournaments since 2014. His biggest cash to date was at the 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, when he finished third in a High Roller tournament for $376K. He has played in numerous WSOP events over the years as well, making a deep run to finish in 131st place in 2019 and then cashing in 285th place this year.

Ryan Garcia & Adam 22

There were a couple new faces in the crowd, as professional boxer Ryan Garcia and media star Adam 22 put their skills to work in the 2023 Main Event. It was the first time they played, an Garcia specifically lived out a dream to do so, and he did go deep into Day 4 and cash in the tournament. He indicated he may even pursue some poker coaching to do better in the future.

Must-Mention Celebs

There are people who have become such regulars at the poker tables that the community forgets that they were/are celebrities to the non-poker world.

Boston Rob

Rob Marciano, more commonly known as Boston Rob, is a fan favorite from the Survivor reality TV show, and he is also an avid poker player. He has poker tournament cashes dating back to 2006, playing quite a few major series through the years and regularly showing up at RunGood Poker Series events in recent years. He did cash in this year’s Main Event to add to his long list of results.

Farah Galfond

Farah Galfond, longtime actress, has been a part of the poker community for many years. She is married to seasoned poker pro Phil Galfond, and she plays regularly. People outside of poker will recognize her from iconic roles on Days of Our Lives and One Life to Live, but she has become a fixture at the poker tables with nearly $300K in tournament cashes to date.

Beth Hall

Beth Hall has poker tournament scores dating back to 2008, though her full-time job has always been acting. She has had roles in prime-time comedies like Mom but is also known for her recurring role on Mad Men. She won a WSOP Circuit ring this year, as well as an event at the California State Poker Championship. And at the WSOP this summer, she ran deep in the Ultra Stack event.

Nate Silver

Nate Silver is a regular at many poker tournaments, more so since he sold his famous FiveThirtyEight statistics and politics website. His has focused much of his statistical knowledge on presidential elections, but he is an avid poker player as well with more than $800K in tournament cashes.

Conclusion

The 2023 World Series of Poker showcased a mix of celebrities from various fields, despite a noticeable decline in celebrity participation compared to previous years. Caesars Entertainment, as the parent company of WSOP, leveraged its affiliations to bring in some well-known figures, such as Martha Stewart and Wayne Newton, who added a touch of glamour to the tournament.

Furthermore, comedian Jim Jefferies made an appearance, contributing to the entertainment factor of the event. The Main Event, as always, attracted some familiar celebrity faces, with longtime actor and comedian Kevin Pollak, former NFL player Richard Seymour, and professional boxer Ryan Garcia trying their luck at the tables.

Notably, some lesser-known poker enthusiasts among the celebrities, like Rob Marciano, Farah Galfond, Beth Hall, and Nate Silver, continued to make waves in the poker world, demonstrating their passion and skill in the game. While the celebrity power may not have reached its former heights, the 2023 WSOP still provided an exciting blend of poker and star-studded moments that captivated both poker enthusiasts and casual fans alike.

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Jennifer's poker journey began with the World Poker Tour in the early 2000s, leading her to a prolific freelance writing career by 2006. With nearly two decades of experience, she has become a poker expert, specializing in writing for publications like Poker Player Newspaper, Poker Pages, PokerStars, and Mediarex. Beyond her writing, Jennifer has managed poker news aggregation at PokerScout and undertaken ghostwriting for poker pros and gambling executives. Her preference lies in interviews and opinion pieces, but her in-depth industry knowledge often guides her towards reporting on legislative and legal developments in poker and the broader gambling landscape. Notably, Jennifer is a passionate advocate for women in poker, working to promote gender diversity in a traditionally male-dominated field. Her impact on the poker community extends from her expertise to her advocacy for greater inclusivity.

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