A few weeks ago, Daniel Weinman was sitting at his home in Atlanta and the thought of skipping this’s year World Series of Poker Main Event crossed his mind. He had only cashed once in the last 16 years (2021), and this year had been sort of a bust with cashes in just four events during the first week of the 2023 Series, so Weinman, 35, figured he might sit this one out.
He’s been a WSOP regular since turning 21, usually grinding the whole Series, but this year he took a break and went home to recharge his batteries and ponder his next poker move.
“Every year before this, I’ve been here from Event #1 to the last event. And by the time the Main Event comes around, I’m burnt out,” he told a throng of media after the last hand of one of the shortest final tables in history was dealt.
That’s when the thought of skipping what would be a record-breaking event floated through his mind.
“I was honestly on the fence about even coming back and playing this tournament.”
He’s sure glad he didn’t listen to that voice because Weinman put together the run of his lifetime and is the 2023 WSOP Main Event Champion. He wins $12.1 million, the richest prize in WSOP history, and a bracelet that could choke Guy Fieri.
It’s his second WSOP bracelet, his first coming last year in the $1,000 Pot-Limit Omaha 8-Handed event. In those 16 years grinding the WSOP, he had won $1,894,290. He already more than doubled that by making the final three of the Main Event, but getting to this point in the tournament required plenty of luck. At one point, he needed to hit a two-outer to survive.
But once he got to the very end, he felt like it was his tournament to lose.
“Final tables can go so many different ways,” Weinman said. “You need some cards to get chips. There were a lot of good players left with a lot more tournament experience than me. But when we got down to three, I did feel like I was the best player. And a couple of good hands at the right time — it all came together.”
Weinman was indeed the most accomplished player left yesterday. Besides sitting at his ninth WSOP final table, he holds two World Poker Tour titles and a Circuit ring. His lifetime tournament cashes before this was $3.7 million.
Jones, 35, came into the Main Event with $215,000 in winnings, while Walton, 40, had $989,000. Neither had made a WSOP final table before.
Adam Walton failed by snowmen
Adam Walton was the first player out of the three who returned to Horseshoe Las Vegas yesterday for the final battle. All the players had plenty of blinds to make this final day marathon, but that’s not how it played out.
In Hand #140, he raised 2.5 big blinds with pocket eights on the button. Weinman rebumped it to more than 10 bbs and he had a good reason: Two red aces.
Walton shoved his 84 big blinds (209,500,000) and was snapped-called by Weinman. The aces held and Walton, a 40-year-old Las Vegas pro, was out in third. He wins $4 million.
Weinman now had a more than 2-t0-1 stack again Jones, and that gap would spread even wider as the end of the Main Event approached.
Steve Jones is the runner-up
Steve Jones, 35, a realtor from Arizona, began playing poker in casinos after his mother took him to play on his 21st birthday. Fourteen years later, he came as close as possible to winning the WSOP Main Event, but it wouldn’t be.
“I mean, obviously right now, I’m a little upset,” Jones told the Detroit News after busting out. “I think tomorrow I’m gonna wake up very happy.”
That’s fairly guaranteed when it sinks in that he just won $6,500,000.
The final knock-out came in Hand #164. With the blinds at 1,250,000/2,500,000/2,500,000, Jones opened to 7 million on the button with J8, and Weinman made the call with KJ.
The flop came J52. Weinman checked to the raiser, who continued with a 6 million bet. Weinman check-raised to 18.5 million, and Jones, with top-pair, called. The 4 on the turn prompted Weinman to bet 38 million. This put Jones to the test that he unfortunately failed.
It took about four minutes for Jones to say “all-in,” and less than 30 seconds for Weinman to call.
“When he went in the tank for what seemed like ten minutes, it felt like genuine uncertainty a this point,” said Weinman. “I didn’t think he was trapping with a set or some kind of turned Wheel. It really did feel like he had some middling pair or a weak jack and just couldn’t decide ‘Is this the time to go?’ So it seems kind of weird to play this final hand for a 120 big blind pot with just one pair, but I just kind of made my decision that when he took that long and jammed, that’s about where he was at.”
Jones missed his three-outer and that was it for the 2023 WSOP Main Event.
“Kudos to (Weinman). He played a great game. I had a lot of fun. It’s a little tough right now,” Jones told the Detriot News.
The Main Event shattered the 2006 record of 8,773 by 1,270 players who started the ball rolling on July 3. A prize pool of $93,399,900 paid the top 1,507 at least $15,000. Caesars collected $7 million in tournament fees from the Main Event.
Top nine of the 2023 WSOP Main Event
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