Isaac Haxton

Though his first WSOP cash was back in 2007 and he had racked up numerous cashes – even final tables – since then, he hadn’t won a WSOP gold bracelet. This tournament changed that. Haxton went from being one of the most acclaimed and successful players in poker without a bracelet to a 2023 WSOP bracelet winner. And that accomplishment came with a cash prize of nearly $1.7M.

Event 16:  $25K NLHE High Roller 8-Handed
1Isaac Haxton USA$1,698,215
2Ryan O’DonnellUK$1,049,577
3Darren EliasUSA$725,790
4Lewis SpencerUK$511,782
5Roman HrabecCzechia$368,134
6Frank FunaroUSA$270,238
7Brian RastUSA$202,532
8Joao VieiraPortugal$155,037

 Big Career Gets Bigger

Ike Haxton is a seasoned pro. He has been in the poker has been playing poker nearly as long as some of today’s new players have been alive.

He began playing live poker in New York, his home state, where gambling at Turning Stone Casino was legal at 18. He also began playing online poker, racking up quite a collection of wins on poker sites. Meanwhile, he made a quick splash on the live circuit by playing in the 2007 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure WPT Championship Main Event and finishing second for more than $861K.

Within a decade of playing poker seriously, Haxton had moved out of the United States due to its complicated poker laws. He also transitioned to higher buy-in live tournaments and made final tables around the world. He began winning High Roller titles in 2018 on the PokerGO Tour, won the 2018 Super High Roller Bowl for more than $3.6M, accumulated even more millions along the way.

His 2023 began with a win at the PCA Super High Roller for $1M and ended the Bahamas trip with another High Roller win for $1.5M. He made one Triton Super High Roller Series final table after another in Vietnam and won a PGT US Poker Open title in March. Haxton added a win and a second place in EPT Monte Carlo High Roller events in May.

Ike entered the 2023 WSOP with $35.8M in lifetime live tournament earnings.

By winning Event 16, the $25K buy-in NLHE High Roller in the second week of the World Series, he quickly catapulted his lifetime earnings past $37.5M and took photos with his first-ever WSOP gold bracelet.

Fresh and Focused

It is never a surprise to see Isaac Haxton in the top chip counts. So, when he finished Day 1 of Event 16 in fourth chip position of the 93 players still in action, no one blinked an eye.

Day 2 was more intense, starting with registration closing with 301 entries, a new record. Haxton got off to a slow start that day but chipped back up by eliminating some players, including Cary Katz on the money bubble. By the dinner break, Haxton had taken over the overall chip lead, though he staggered a bit into the evening. When play stopped for the night with 13 opponents bagging chips, Haxton finished in the middle of the group.

With the final table in focus, Haxton busted Taylor von Kriegenbergh in 13th place and eventually took the chip lead to the final table of nine.

Closing the Deal

After a brief break, Haxton got aggressive at the final table, taking initial big pots from Frank Funaro and Darren Elias. While others eliminated players like Michael Jozoff, and Joao Vieira, Haxton took a sizeable lead into the dinner break.

Lewis Spencer doubled through Haxton and ousted Brian Rast and Frank Funaro to build momentum. Darren Elias bumped Roman Hrabec, and dipped heavily into Spencer’s stack before eliminating him in fourth place.

Haxton was the shortest of the stacks when three-handed play began, but he quickly doubled through Elias.

When Elias retook the lead, Haxton doubled through him again. Ryan O’Donnell finally eliminated Elias but took a chip deficit into heads-up play.

It didn’t take long at all to finish the match. O’Donnell lost ground then shoved his final time.

Hints of a Smile

Haxton isn’t one to express a lot of emotion, as he’s a very even-keeled person overall. Add on a medical mask, and it can be difficult to know if he’s smiling. But he was happy. “It feels very good, very good,” he said. 

 He did celebrate with friend Justin Bonomo, the top live tournament money-earner in the world. But he’s not gunning for Bonomo’s top spot. “I don’t really look at that stuff,” he told PokerNews. “I just really like playing poker and making money at it.”

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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 is the editor and chief of Legal US Poker Sites, 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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