Memorable WSOP

The 2022 WSOP in Las Vegas had its moments. It had a lot of moments, in fact.

The overwhelming sentiment of the 88-event WSOP that took place at Bally’s and Paris on the Las Vegas Strip was positive. The new combination of the two venues offered more space than in the past. The rooms appeared bigger and more well-lit.

The callout prior to the WSOP for dealers and the offer of better pay brought in a plethora of dealers. While there were some rookie mistakes – a dealer scooping all of the table’s chips during a break, a male dealer being openly misogynistic with a female player – most errors were fixable. And most players exhibited patience with newer dealers.

Initial confusion about the use of two venues – which tournament is where? – became easier to navigate as the series moved forward. The layout made more sense, and people saw the method to the madness.

One of the benefits of the new two casinos was the availability of more food options. Bally’s offered a food court with cheaper, faster food, while Paris offered a variety of cuisines with a range of pricing. There were more restaurants between Bally’s and the Strip and more casinos fairly close. The WSOP Café was overpriced and the fodder for many jokes, but there were too many other options to feel roped in to buying WSOP food.

The cost of parking in the Paris/Bally’s garage was the primary gripe, though most found ways to avoid it (rideshares, monorail, parking at a nearby casino) or simply wrote it off as a price of playing.

There was the air conditioning unit breakdown in the Bally’s ballrooms near the start of the series, which made for some unpleasant days. But for the most part, players seemed grateful not to require jackets and scarves at the tables as they did at the Rio.

Did we mention the periods of Covid-19 outbreaks? There was that, too.

And at the end, on the last weekend of the 2022 WSOP, on the night that Espen Jorstad won $10M and the WSOP Main Event bracelet, there was an active shooter scare at a number of casinos, including Bally’s and Paris. Some players were injured in the resulting stampedes, only to find out that there never was a shooter.

There will be time for more in-depth breakdowns of the positives and negatives of this year’s Las Vegas series. But for now, most will probably agree that the WSOP staff did a great job with the new venues and resolving issues that arose.

Memorable Moments

This year, the WSOP produced memories right from the start. Poker dealer Katie Kopp won Event 1, the one reserved for casino employees. Little did she know that she would become the only woman to win an open event at this year’s Vegas WSOP.

Women made final tables of numerous other events, with several finishing in second and third places, so close to the bracelets. A number of women made it well into the money of the Main Event, with Shelby Wells eventually making $73,100 and Efthymia Litsou making it all the way to 18th place for a $323,100 cash.

As many women felt that gender diversity had grown in poker in the past several years, more so than in the past, the final numbers did show some growth. While it was not as much as I and others had hoped, it did put the overall participation of women at the WSOP closer to 6% than it had ever been.

Speaking of the Main Event, several recent champions – namely Koray Aldemir and Damian Salas – made deep runs. But Espen Jorstad emerged from the extremely-diverse final table as the first-ever Norwegian Main Event champion.

Dan Smith won his first bracelet, one of several players who are considered top-tier or vastly experienced but had yet to win a WSOP bracelet. Ali Eslami and Amnon Filippi also fit into that category, as did Alex Foxen, Brian Altman, Nacho Barbero, and Patrick Leonard.

Dan “Jungleman” Cates won the Poker Players Championship for the second year in a row. And he did it in a costume and the persona of Randy “Macho Man” Savage of wrestling fame.

Lawrence Brandt, Daniel Zack, and Espen Jorstad each won two bracelets during the Las Vegas series, with Zack also emerging as the 2022 WSOP Player of the Year.

Brian Hastings won his sixth WSOP bracelet and came close to a seventh. Adam Friedman and Eli Elezra each won a fifth bracelet; Jeremy Ausmus, Scott Seiver, and David Peters each a fourth; and Phillip Hui his third.

Final Totals

According to the WSOP, the 53rd Annual World Series of Poker set records. (To be clear, however, we do not know if these numbers include online bracelet events in Nevada/New Jersey only or if they include those won in Pennsylvania and Michigan markets as well. Live reporting did not record the winners in those last two states, so we cannot confirm.)

  • Total prize money awarded: $347,941,800 (broke 2019 record of $293,183,345)
  • Total tournament entries: 197,626 (broke 2019 record of 187,298)
  • Total participating countries: More than 100 (no exact number in 2019, either)
  • Total wins by country: 20 (fewer than 22 countries in 2019)

We took a few minutes to break down the 2022 WSOP, including 88 live events (two bracelets for Tag Team winners brings total to 89 bracelets), plus the Tournament of Champions, and the 13 online bracelet events offered in Nevada/New Jersey. That is a total of 103 bracelets won by players from 20 countries as follows:

  • United States: 64 (57 live, 7 online)
  • France: 5 (4 live, 1 online)
  • Canada: 4
  • UK: 4 (3 live, 1 online)
  • Germany: 3 (2 live, 1 online)
  • Bulgaria: 3 (2 live, 1 online)
  • Austria: 2
  • China: 2
  • Hungary: 2 (1 live, 1 online)
  • Norway: 2
  • Brazil: 2
  • Latvia: 2
  • Italy: 1 (online)
  • Cyprus, Japan, Israel, Argentina, Portugal, South Korea, Russia: 1 each

Upcoming: WSOP Europe

The World Series of Poker Europe series is set for October 26 through November 16. And the 15 bracelet events will guarantee €12M in total.

King’s Casino has been posting updates on its own website this year for the WSOP-branded activities at the Rozvadov casino in the Czech Republic. Just today, the WSOP announced the WSOPE series and provided the full schedule. The dates listed are the starting dates:

  • Event 1 (Oct 26-Nov 1): €350 buy-in NLHE Opener (€500K GTD)
  • Event 2 (Oct 29-Nov 1): €550 buy-in PLO 8-Max (€200K GTD)
  • Event 3 (Oct 31-Nov 4): €1,350 buy-in NLHE Mini Main Event (€1M GTD)
  • Event 4 (Nov 1-2): €2K buy-in PLO (€200K GTD)
  • Event 5 (Nov 3-7): €550 buy-in NLHE Colossus (€1M GTD)
  • Event 6 (Nov 6-7): €5K buy-in PLO (€150K GTD)
  • Event 7 (Nov 7-8): €1,650 buy-in NLHE 6-Max (€200K GTD)
  • Event 8 (Nov 7-8): €25K buy-in NLHE Platinum High Roller (€1M GTD)
  • Event 9 (Nov 8-9): €2,200 buy-in Short Deck (€100K GTD)
  • Event 10 (Nov 9-10): €2K buy-in 8-Game Mix (€100K GTD)
  • Event 11 (Nov 10-11): €50K buy-in NLHE Diamond High Roller (€2M GTD)
  • Event 12 (Nov 11-17): €10,350 buy-in NLHE Main Event (€5M GTD)
  • Event 13 (Nov 13-14): €1,650 buy-in NLHE-PLO Mix (€200K GTD)
  • Event 14 (Nov 14): €1,100 buy-in NLHE Bounty Hunter (€200K GTD)
  • Event 15 (Nov 15): €1K buy-in NLHE Turbo Freezeout (€150K GTD)

The structure sheets are not yet available. We also do not yet know how many starting flights will be available for the larger events.

Upcoming: WSOP Circuit International

King’s Casino revealed earlier this month that it will host a WSOP Circuit series leading up to its WSOP Europe action. The WSOP website just added this today, along with a series of international tour stops.

The WSOP Circuit Autumn Edition is set to run September 21 to October 11. It will offer 12 gold ring-awarding events, and the entire series will guarantee €2.6M.

There is almost a full schedule available on the King’s Casino website, with only one event missing from it. Most of the tournaments and details are there, though, as well as satellite information and non-ring event information.

  • Sept 21-26 (Event 1): €250 buy-in NLHE Mini Main Event (€500K GTD, 7 flights, each plays until 10% of the field min-cashes for €400)
  • Sept 25-26 (Event 2): €660 buy-in NLHE Fifty Stack (€100K GTD)
  • Sept 26 (Event 3): €550 buy-in PLO Bounty Hunter (€50K GTD, €150 bounties)
  • Sept 27-28 (Event 4): €550 buy-in Mixed NLHE-PLO (€50K GTD)
  • Sept 28-29 (Event 5): €777 buy-in NLHE Lucky 7s (€100K GTD)
  • Sept 29-Oct 3 (Event 6): €550 buy-in NLHE Monster Stack (€500K GTD 5 flights)
  • Oct 2 (Event 7): €1,100 buy-in 5-Card PLO (€50K GTD)
  • Event 8 missing
  • Oct 4-5 (Event 9): €2K buy-in PLO 8-Max (€100K GTD)
  • Oct 5-6 (Event 10): €3K buy-in NLHE 8-Max (€100K GTD)
  • Oct 7-10 (Event 11): €1,700 buy-in NLHE Main Event (€1M GTD, 2 flights)
  • Oct 10 (Event 12): €1,100 NLHE Bounty Hunter (€100K GTD, €250 bounties)

There is a list of ten tour stops on the international schedule thus far, with more locations to be added. Individual series schedules will post when they are official. The current 2022-2023 International WSOP Circuit season is listed as follows:

  • September 21 – October 11: Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort in Aruba
  • October 11-23: Cintermex Convention Center in Monterrey, Mexico
  • October 18-28: Unique Hotel in Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • November 2-14: The Star Sydney in Australia
  • November 25 – December 3: Holland Casino in Rotterdam, Holland
  • December 2-10: Enjoy Punta del Este Resort in Uruguay
  • January 11-23: Deerfoot Inn & Casino in Calgary, Canada
  • January 14-22: Es Saadi Marrakech Resort in Morocco
  • March 22 – April 3: Casino Royale in St. Maarten

Already Underway: WSOP Circuit in America

Speaking of the WSOP Circuit, the World Series announced its 2022-2023 schedule last month. It contained 24 events located within the United States.

The first stop got underway on July 20, before the Tournament of Champions had even set its field in Las Vegas. The action at Choctaw Casino in Oklahoma offered 13 events to run through July 31. Details for the next two stops are available on the WSOP website, and others will be added as the dates approach.

  • July 20-31: Choctaw Durant in Oklahoma
  • August 4-15: Harrah’s Cherokee in North Carolina
  • August 17-28: Hard Rock Tulsa in Oklahoma
  • September 15-26: Horseshoe Council Bluffs in Iowa
  • September 29 – October 10: Thunder Valley in Northern California
  • October 13-24: Isle of Capri in Pompano Beach, Florida
  • October 20-31: Harvey’s Lake Tahoe in Nevada (new stop)
  • November 3-13: Choctaw Durant in Oklahoma
  • November 10-21: Grand Victoria Casino in Chicago, Illinois (new stop)
  • November 24 – December 5: Harrah’s Cherokee in North Carolina
  • December 3-14: Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles, California
  • January 4-15: Choctaw Durant in Oklahoma
  • January 12-23: Thunder Valley in Northern California
  • January 19-30: Horseshoe Tunica in Mississippi
  • February 2-13: Isle of Capri in Pompano Beach, Florida
  • February 16-27: Harrah’s Cherokee in North Carolina
  • February 23 – March 6: Horseshoe Hammond in Indiana
  • March 4-15: Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles, California
  • March 9-20: Hard Rock Tulsa in Oklahoma
  • March 16-27: Turning Stone in Verona, New York
  • April 6-17: Grand Victoria Casino in Chicago, Illinois
  • April 20 – May 1: Horseshoe Tunica in Mississippi
  • May 4-15: Harrah’s Cherokee in North Carolina
  • May 11-22: Caesars Southern Indiana

More stops may be added as the season progresses.

Jennifer Newell

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Jennifer Newell

Author
Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including PokerStars.com and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years.
Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs.