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This was the largest ever Main Event field, with the largest ever prize pool and the largest ever first place prize – if there was ever a time and a place to run good, it was here! A total of 10,043 players made their way to Vegas for the biggest Main Event ever, with all the stars coming out to shine.
However, as the days went on, we saw the elimination of some of the biggest names in the field. Phil Hellmuth went down to the bigger two-pair of Nicholas Rigby on Day 2; last year’s winner Espen Jorstad also fell at the same hurdle, as did Phil Ivey and Daniel Negreanu. Tom Dwan made a rare appearance at the WSOP Main Event this year, but his K5s couldn’t crack the aces of his opponent, eliminating him on Day 3.
As the days moved on, more and more players were sent to the rail, the field shrinking at an alarming rate, until just 15 players remained going into Day 8 of the Main Event.
It was on the 8th day of the Main Event that we witnessed one of the craziest hands in Main Event history. With 14 players left in the Main Event, we saw the bad beat to end all bad beats. We saw a three-way all-in, where the short stack Josh Payne held KK, Jose Aguilera with QQ, and Dan Weinman with JJ. Aguilera covered the two other players in the hand, so things were looking bleak for Dan Weinman.
Things were looking even bleaker after a 4sAh7h flop, as Dan only had two more chances to hit his two outer. Out of nowhere, the Jh hit the turn, giving Weinman a commanding lead in the hand and making him a 90% favorite to win an 80 million chip pot. The shock on Dan’s face mirrored that of everyone watching at home, and you couldn’t help but feel bad for Josh whose Main Event journey was about to come to an end. The inconsequential 3s hit the river, and Dan went from one foot out the door to a real contender for the win.
When asked about this hand in his post-win interview, Dan said it was, “such a bittersweet hand because it was both the hand that propelled me to win this tournament, but also had to knock out and put a bad beat on a good friend from back home.”
🤯 WHAT JUST HAPPENED?! 🤯There might be a new contender for most ridiculous hand this @WSOP. pic.twitter.com/AqW94VvaZs— PokerGO (@PokerGO) July 14, 2023
🤯 WHAT JUST HAPPENED?! 🤯
There might be a new contender for most ridiculous hand this @WSOP. pic.twitter.com/AqW94VvaZs
— PokerGO (@PokerGO) July 14, 2023
Given the huge pay jumps that faced all of the players at the final table, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the early stages of the final table would be a cagey affair with very few big pots being played. However, the exact opposite was true, as the players came out swinging in an attempt to build their stacks and make a run at becoming the Main Event champ.
The Italian Daniel Holzner was the first to go taking home $900,000 for his efforts, his AJ running into the TT of Steven Jones. The chip leader at the start of Day 8, Juan Maceiras, was the next to go in 8th place for $1,125,000, his aggressive style eventually getting the better of him, as his K9o couldn’t beat the ATo of Toby Lewis.
Despite picking up chips against Maceiras, Lewis was the next player to hit the rail, after his squeeze with KJo ran into the TT of Jones and failed to improve. After starting the day with the shortest stack, he’ll be pleased that he was able to ladder up a couple of spots and take home $1,425,000 for his 7th-place finish. Dean Hutchinson was eliminated shortly after in 6th place for $1,850,000, his 55 running into the 77 of Jan-Peter Jachtmann.
This left Pydryk as far and away as the shortest stack at the table and needing to make a move if he wanted to survive. He found QcTc in the SB, but Dan Weinman woke up with AJ, and a flop of AhJs2s all but sealed Pydryk’s fate. No king came on the turn or river to save him, and Ruslan Prydryk was eliminated in 5th place for $2,400,000.
After Pyrdryk’s elimination, there was no clear short stack at the table, and many were anticipating a long battle between the remaining four players. However, if there’s one thing we’ve learned from this year’s Main Event, it’s that these players don’t like to hang around! After losing a big pot to Steve Jones, Jan-Peter Jachtmann found himself as the shortest stack with around 28bb.
Unfortunately for Jan-Peter, he would fall into the trap laid by Adam Walton; his KQo shoving into the aces of Walton, after he flatted the button against Jones’ opening raise. The 9s5h3c gave very little in terms of hope for Jan-Peter, and the 6s on the turn sealed his fate, eliminating him in 4th place for $3,000,000.
Another record broken by this year’s Main Event would be the shortest final table in recent memory – the pace of play was electric throughout the Main Event final table. Despite a $2.5 million pay jump between 3rd and second, and a $5.6 million pay jump between 2nd and 1st, the second day only lasted two hours!
You could tell these guys were playing for the win, and they weren’t going to slow down for a second. Adam Walton has been incredibly aggressive throughout the latter stages of this Main Event and is a big part of the reason why he was able to make such a deep run. However, after just an hour of three-handed play, he would make a misstep that would cost him his tournament life.
Jones opened the button with Qd6d on the button to 7 million, and Walton decided to flat the SB with 88. Dan Weinman woke up with red aces in the big blind and made a 3-bet to 27 million. Jones quickly released his hand, and Adam Walton instantly moved all in for 209 million chips! Weinman obviously snapped him off with his AA, and the two were suddenly playing a nearly 430 million chip pot.
The flop of 7c3c5h brought some backdoors for Walton, and the 9s on the turn gave him a total of six outs going into the river. However, the river was a brick, eliminating Walton in 3rd place for $4,000,000.
Given that Walton had a stack of around 84bb, it seems crazy to make such a huge shove, seemingly without thinking about it. However, fast, aggressive play has been what got Walton to this position, and when you play a hyper-aggressive style, you live by the sword, and you die by the sword.
😲 WOW! 😲Nearly 200 big blinds get in the middle before the flop between Daniel Weinman (@notontilt09) and Adam Walton.And we are now heads up for the title in the 2023 @WSOP Main Event.📺 – Watch Live Here: https://t.co/6Gci7QpvfH pic.twitter.com/izmKVuJTgL— PokerGO (@PokerGO) July 17, 2023
😲 WOW! 😲
Nearly 200 big blinds get in the middle before the flop between Daniel Weinman (@notontilt09) and Adam Walton.
And we are now heads up for the title in the 2023 @WSOP Main Event.
📺 – Watch Live Here: https://t.co/6Gci7QpvfH pic.twitter.com/izmKVuJTgL
— PokerGO (@PokerGO) July 17, 2023
After Walton was eliminated in third, there were whispers of a deal being made between the two players. Given the incredible pay jump between 2nd and 1st, you couldn’t blame the players, but as Weinman had a nearly 3:1 chip lead at the time, he was talked out of it by his rail, and the two would play out a $5.6 million heads-up match.
While neither has much experience in heads-up play, you’d expect Weinman as the more experienced of the two to have the upper hand in the match – and that’s exactly what happened. He looked in control from start to finish and never looked like giving up that control. Even when he lost a big pot against Jones, he’d find a way to grind it back and keep his commanding chip position.
After close to an hour of heads-up play, Dan still held a close to 3:1 chip lead over Steven Jones when he would play the hand that sealed his Main Event win. Jones opened J8o from the button to 7 million, and Dan would defend the big blind with KJo. The flop was an interesting one for the two players – Js5s2d – giving both players top pair. After checking to Jones and seeing a bet of 6 million, Weinman check-raised to 18 million. Jones made the call, and they saw the 4c hit the turn.
Weinman followed up his flop aggression with a bet of 33 million on the turn, which sent Jones into the tank. After nearly four minutes of thinking, Jones decided to shove for around 145 million. This put Weinman in a tough spot, but after getting a count from the dealer, he made the call and saw the good news. All he had to do was fade an 8 on the river, and he’d be the Main Event champion.
The river was the Ah, eliminating Jones in second place for $6.5 million, and crowning Dan Weinman as the 2023 WSOP Main Event Champion.
Daniel Weinman (@notontilt09) is your 2023 @WSOP Main Event Champion.In the final hand, Weinman and Steven Jones both flop top pair, and when Jones moves in on the turn, Weinman calls.Weinman walks away with $12,100,000 after conquering the largest Main Event field ever. pic.twitter.com/bxOOJaOcMH— PokerGO (@PokerGO) July 17, 2023
Daniel Weinman (@notontilt09) is your 2023 @WSOP Main Event Champion.
In the final hand, Weinman and Steven Jones both flop top pair, and when Jones moves in on the turn, Weinman calls.
Weinman walks away with $12,100,000 after conquering the largest Main Event field ever. pic.twitter.com/bxOOJaOcMH
Surrounded by his rail, you could see just how much this meant to Dan Weinman, and he was as smiley as ever in his post-win interviews. He revealed that he almost didn’t play this tournament, as he had taken some time off this summer to spend time with his family.
“I was honestly on the fence about even coming back and playing this tournament,” “Every year before this, I’ve been here from Event #1 to the last event,” Weinman said. “And by the time the Main Event comes around, I’m burnt out … I’ve said to many people, I don’t like this tournament. The structure is too good, I’m kind of over it for the summer.”
We’re sure he’s glad that he made the decision to come back and play, as he’s now a part of poker history and $12.1 million richer! When asked what he was planning on doing with the money, Dan said, “I have no clue. Probably invest it. Probably not the best answer everybody wants to hear, but I’m fairly cautious with it away from the table. Even though I like to gamble pretty hard.”
This Main Event win marks the second bracelet of Dan’s career, and given how he handled himself under pressure, we’re sure it won’t be his last.
Jackpot! You’ve flopped a winning hand! This article has surely added some extra chips to your stack. Tune in for more valuable insights and pro-level strategies!
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