2023 WSOP Opening Day

The opening day of the 2023 WSOP got underway with two events on Tuesday, as the $500 Casino Employees Event #1 opened the show before the $25,000 High Roller Event #2 welcomed the starring members of a glittering cast of superstars.

Doyle Brunson Honored in Effel’s Opening Words

While the World Series of Poker (WSOP) will likely welcome a record-breaking crowd in 2023, one man who will be missing is the 10-time WSOP bracelet winner, Doyle Brunson. In his opening speech to kick-start the action, Vice President of the WSOP Jack Effel paid tribute to the ‘Godfather of Poker’.

“As we get another WSOP underway, we’re reminded how indebted we are to the colossal impact Doyle had on the WSOP and the game of poker itself. Doyle was the sport’s biggest ambassador who helped bring poker to the mainstream.” Effel said to a captivated audience of players of all levels. “He is a legend that we had the honor to work alongside for more than 50 years. We owe so much to Doyle and look forward to setting records this summer as a special tribute to his legacy.”

Brian Rast was one of many to use the occasion to remember the big man on his Twitter page.

With the crowd suitably inspired, cards were in the air as the $500 Casino Emplyees Event kicked off the action. This year’s venues are the Horseshoe Las Vegas – previously Bally’s in 2022 – and Paris Casino, whose ballroom is sure to be swelled by a cast of thousands across the summer.

Casino Employees Event Sees Bumper Field

In 2022 the traditional opener, the $500-entry Casino Employees Event, which is only open to those players who usually sit on the ‘other’ side of the felt, got 832 entries. In 2023, that number has grown by almost 25% to an incredible 1,015. This bodes very well for the rest of the World Series and after an exciting Day 1, it was Benson Tam who led the remaining 89 players with a stack of 889,000 chips.

Elsewhere in the top 10 chipcounts, Jesse Fullen (861,000) racked up the biggest stack and the PokerNews presenter, who has a huge fanbase online, will not be the only PokerNews player being cheered on when Day 2 kicks off. Ten years ago, Chad Holloway won this exact event, and he bagged 211,000 chips on his way to making the chipcounts in this year’s version of the event too.

If the 2013 winner is in with a shout, sadly, last year’s champion is not. Katie Kopp won over $65,000 when she took the bracelet in 2022 but failed to progress to Day 2 this year.

WSOP 2023 Event #1 $500 Casino Employees Day 1 Top 10 Chipcounts:

1stBenson TamU.S.A.889,000
2ndJesse FullenU.S.A.861,000
3rdLisa EcksteinU.S.A.775,000
4thZaen QatanU.S.A.773,000
5thJames UrbanicU.S.A.618,000
6thJohn VournasU.S.A.613,000
7thBurcu DagliU.S.A.583,000
8thJoshua HoneggerU.S.A.529,000
9thJoshua BrodskyU.S.A.527,000
10thSandra FaabengU.S.A.499,000

Negreanu and Hellmuth Both Survive Day 1 of $25k High Roller

Event #2 saw 174 entries whittled down to just 65 survivors as the $25,000 NLHE Event took place in the Horseshoe. Plenty of big names featured, with Daniel Negreanu (610,000) taking advantage of a re-entry to make the chipcounts in terrific shape to end his bracelet drought. He was joined in the end-of-day counts by the record-holding 16-time WSOP winner Phil Hellmuth (340,000) as the Poker Brat kept it friendly and made the cut.

Daniel Negreanu
Daniel Negreanu took part in Event #2, the $25,000 High Roller, bagging up a stack of 610,000.

Other big names to thrive on the biggest stage so far included the chip leader, Austrian player Daniel Rezaei, whose stack of 1,368,000 was tops on the day. Hot on his heels are Justin Liberto (1,147,000) and Brek Schutten (1,050,000), while Sean Winter (1,047,000), Brock Wilson (1,009,000) and the recent World Poker Tour champion (975,000) all made the top 10 chipcounts. PokerGO favorite Bill Klein (888,000), four-time WPT Main Event winner Darren Elias (685,000) and three-time WSOP bracelet winner Chance Kornuth (615,000), as well as the 2022 WSOP Main Event world champion Espen Jorstad (563,000) all bagged way over the average.

Others weren’t so fortunate, with British star Stephen Chidwick, the Brazilian 2022 WSOP Heads-up Championship runner-up Yuri Dzivielevski, 2021 WSOP Player of the Year Josh Arieh, and poker crusher Scott Seiver all unable to escape Day 1 with chips. With registration still open at the start of Day 2, they’ll have another chance to grab glory.

WSOP 2023 Event #2 $25,000 High Roller Day 1 Top 10 Chipcounts:

1stDaniel RezaeiAustria1,368,000
2ndJustin LibertoU.S.A.1,147,000
3rdBrek SchuttenU.S.A.1,050,000
4thSean WinterU.S.A.1,047,000
5thBrock WilsonU.S.A.1,009,000
6thKeith LehrU.S.A.997,000
7thBin WengU.S.A.975,000
8thChristopher BrewerU.S.A.899,000
9thBill KleinU.S.A.888,000
10thSamuel LaskowitzU.S.A.790,000

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Paul seaton

Paul Seaton, a poker luminary with over a decade of experience, has reported live from iconic poker events, including the World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour, and World Poker Tour. He's not just a spectator; he's been the Editor of BLUFF Europe Magazine and Head of Media for partypoker. Paul's poker insights have graced publications like PokerNews, 888poker, and PokerStake, where he's interviewed poker legends such as Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, Phil Hellmuth, and The Hendon Mob’s, entire lineup. His exceptional work even earned him a Global Poker Award nomination for Best Written Content. In the poker world, Paul Seaton's expertise is a force to be reckoned with, captivating enthusiasts worldwide.
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