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It comes quicker every year, doesn’t it? We’re already coming up on this year’s World Series of Poker (WSOP), so that means we’re getting closer to crowning another WSOP Main Event champ. Norwegian poker pro Espen Jørdstad took down the title last year, as well as a $10 million first-place prize.
The question on everyone’s mind is “who’s going to win it this year?” Are we going to see another poker pro take it down, or will 2023 finally be the year of the amateur again? We were so close to breaking the record last year that it’s almost a lock to be the biggest-ever Main Event, so everyone will be in Vegas vying for what will surely be a historic WSOP Main Event win.
Check out the video below to learn everything you need to know about this years WSOP Main Event:
Just like last year, the Main Event will start with Day 1a on the 3rd of July, with three additional Day 1s played on successive days. The days will start at 12pm and consist of five 120-minute levels, with 20-minute breaks at the end of each level and a 75-minute dinner break at the end of level 3.
Once all the Day 1s have been completed, the players from Day 1a, Day 1b, and Day 1c will converge and play in Day 2a, 2b, & 2c on Friday the 7th of July, whereas all remaining players from Day 1d will play the following day on Saturday the 8th of July.
Late registration will be open until the end of the second level on Days 1 & 2, so make sure to enter before then! You won’t want to miss out on what could be the biggest ever WSOP Main Event.
The Main Event has changed a lot since its inception in 1970. In the first iteration of the event, it wasn’t even a tournament! Instead, the seven entrants played a cash game and voted on the best player. Johnny Moss took home the silver cup that day (no bracelets back then!) and became the first-ever Main Event champ.
Fast forward to today, and thousands of players come from all over the world to play in the Main Event. The buy-in has remained $10,000 ever since it was first introduced in 1972, but the prizes have reached astronomical heights. The prize for the Main Event champ has hit eight figures on three separate occasions, and with poker’s popularity growing, we can only see that number increasing.
As well as the prize money, people play for the prestige of being the Main Event champ. The names of those players live on through the annals of history. For those who might be unaware of the Main Event champions before the Moneymaker era, here’s the complete list of WSOP winners from 1970 to 2022:
The idea for the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and the Main Event was first thought up by a group of Texan card players in Reno back in 1969. Tom Moore, a Texan magnate, invited some of his poker-loving friends–including Benny Binion–to the Texas Gambling Reunion. Seeing how much action this get-together brought to the cash games, Benny Binion decided to start his own event, which he called the World Series of Poker, at the Binion’s Horseshoe in 1970.
The very first World Series of Poker (WSOP) was very different from how we know it today. To start with, there weren’t any tournaments–not a single one! The only event played was the Main Event, which was decided over a cash game. Over three days, a range of games was played, including five-card draw, seven-card stud, razz, and, of course, Texas Hold ’em. At the end of the three days, the winner was decided by a vote. The legend goes that two votes had to be held, as, after the first one, every player voted for themselves, resulting in a 7-way tie!
Eventually, Johnny Moss was voted the WSOP Main Event champion, and he took home the silver cup–bracelets weren’t introduced until 1976. There was no prize money either, though it’s rumored that Johnny won a good amount from the other players over those three days.
Since that day, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) has grown in size and reputation. Players from all over the world come to play in its tournaments, notably the Main Event. Naturally, everyone wants their chance to become a world champ and put their names alongside all-time greats like Johnny Moss, Puggy Pearson, and Doyle Brunson. With so many players wanting to play the WSOP Main Event, the World Series eventually outgrew Binion’s Horseshoe and has been on quite the journey ever since…
In 2005, just as the poker boom was gaining momentum in the US and across the world, the WSOP made its first venue change from Binion’s Horseshoe to The Rio. Harrah’s (now Caesar’s Entertainment) bought Binion’s back in 2004, but only made the change to The Rio in 2005. Even during that first year at The Rio, the Main Event’s final table was played back at Binion’s.
The decision to move the WSOP to The Rio was made out of practicality. Chris Moneymaker won the 2003 Main Event, and after that famous day, the WSOP (and poker as a whole) exploded in popularity. Everyone wanted to become the next Chris Moneymaker and win millions of dollars. The year Chris won the WSOP Main Event, there were 839 players; the following year, that grew to 2576 players; by 2006, there were 8773 players, a record that’s yet to be topped!
There simply wasn’t the room at Binion’s to keep up with the demand, while The Rio had plenty of space in its colossal convention center. So The Rio became the permanent home for the World Series until 2021, when it was announced that the series would have a new home the following year.
For the first time in its history, the World Series was played on the Las Vegas strip! This move was in the cards ever since The Rio was sold to a New York investment group back in 2020, as Caesar’s wanted to keep the WSOP “in-house.” We’re all excited to see how playing in these new locations will impact the series and whether the party atmosphere of the strip may liven up the games!
While the original Main Event and World Series have stayed in Vegas since its inception, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) brand has traveled across the globe.
As the poker boom was taking the world by storm, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) decided to expand its brand beyond the US, and in 2007, WSOP Europe was born. The World Series teamed up with sportsbook/online casino Betfair to host the first-ever WSOP Europe Main Event at The Sportsman Casino in London, England. The event was a great success, the £10,000 buy-in had 362 entrants, and the winner, Annette Obrestad, took home a cool £1,000,000.
Annette became a record-breaker when she won the title, becoming the youngest person ever to win a WSOP Main Event at just 18 years old. It’s a record that still stands to this day!
The WSOP Europe is a much smaller series than the one held in Vegas each year, but it still creates a lot of interest and big prize pools. The series has moved around a lot since its inception. Starting in London, it has been hosted in Cannes, Berlin, and finally Rozvadov, where it seems to have found a permanent home.
We’re still waiting for the WSOP to release its European schedule for 2023, but as soon as they do, you can be sure that we’ll keep you in the loop.
After the rousing success of WSOP Europe, the World Series brand expanded even further… into the land down under!
The first Asia Pacific (APAC) WSOP took place in Melbourne in 2013, where Daniel Negraneau beat out over 400 players to win the inaugural Main Event for more than AU$1,000,000. The following year the WSOP APAC returned to Melbourne, but the event’s popularity dwindled as only 329 players fought to win the 2014 WSOP Main Event.
It was decided by the WSOP that WSOP Europe and WSOP APAC would be held biennially, with the European series being held in odd-numbered years and the APAC series being held in even-numbered years. However, when 2016 came around, no plans were made for WSOP APAC, and it was quietly dropped from the brand.
In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic meant that the World Series could not go on as usual for the first time since 1970. The majority of countries worldwide went into lockdown, airports stopped taking international flights, and casinos everywhere shut their doors. It was a disaster for the WSOP as the number of entrants to the Main Event had been steadily growing since 2015, and all of a sudden, they couldn’t even open the doors of The Rio to let people play.
While it tried to hold out as long as possible, Caesar’s eventually canceled the 2020 World Series. So instead, they announced an online version of the WSOP. Split between WSOP.com and GG Poker, 85 bracelet events were held from July 1st to September 8th. One of the events on the schedule holds the record for the lowest buy-in WSOP event in history–the $50 “Big 50” event, which was won by Huahuan Feng for a staggering $211,282; not bad for a $50 investment!
The series came to a head with the $5000 Main Event. This is the first time the WSOP Main Event cost $5000 to enter since 1971 and is the first and only time in its history that it has been a re-entry tournament, with players having the option to re-enter up to three times. It broke the record for the largest prize pool for an online poker tournament and was won by Stoyan Madanzhiev for $3,904,686.
The eagle-eyed readers among you may have noticed that Stoyan’s name was not on our list of WSOP Main Event winners. Why’s that, you ask? In November 2020, the WSOP announced that the $10,000 Main Event would still be held but in a unique format.
International players would play on GG Poker, starting on November 29th, and American players would play on WSOP.com, beginning December 13th. Once both tournaments reached a final table of 9 players, each final table was played in person–the GG Poker final table being held in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, and the WSOP.com final table being held at the Rio, in Las Vegas, Nevada. The winner of these final tables would then face each other in a winner-takes-all heads-up match for the bracelet and an additional $1 million.
We saw a huge turnout at last year’s WSOP, and many industry experts are anticipating an even bigger crowd this year. It will be a shock if we don’t break the record for WSOP Main Event entries this year, and there’s a chance we could even break the five-figure barrier!
If you’d like more information on the WSOP schedule for 2023, check out our dedicated WSOP Schedule page, and if you’re looking to satellite your way into the Main Event, you can find all the information you need on our WSOP Satellites page.
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The 2023 WSOP is back on its regular summer schedule and will run from May 29th to July 18th. There will also be a WSOP Europe which takes place later on in the year, and that will be running from October 13 to November 3.
The WSOP has partnered with CBS Sports for coverage for the second year running. There will also be daily streaming on Poker Go, with 18 different bracelet events set to be televised along with a minimum of 15 hours of Main Event coverage.
The WSOP has stated that it will follow the local, state, and CDC guidelines related to COVID-19 that are in place during the event. Therefore, there are no vaccination requirements to play, although players are expected to follow the CDC guidelines.
There are plenty of great places to stay during the Series, so it depends on your budget and what hotel suits you best. Many hotels will offer special offers during the Series, especially those owned by Caesars Entertainment. Use the code WSOP23 at checkout, and you can get a discount on your stay!
An online series will run alongside the live events at this year’s WSOP. It will consist of 13 events, the first taking place on June 5 and the last taking place on July 17.
The Main Event is a freezeout tournament, which means that once you’re eliminated, you cannot re-enter or rebuy.
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