First Two World Series of Poker Bracelets Won by a Pro and an Amateur

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The World Series of Poker crowned the first two bracelet winners of the summer in the $500 casino employees events and the $25,000 High Rollers six-handed event — two tourneys on the opposite ends of the poker spectrum, but nonetheless, packed with electricity.

Peter Thai
Peter Thai, a poker dealer from California, is the 2023 winner of the WSOP Casino Employees event. (Image: WSOP)

Casino event crests 1,000

The $500 casino employee event, restricted to dealers and anyone else who has a casino work badge, broke the 1,000-player mark for the first time since 2006, which was the most popular WSOP in terms of entrants.

Peter Thai was the last player standing out of a field of 1,015, only 217 short from the record-field set in 2006. The Parkwest Casino 580 dealer (Livermore, California), won $75,535.

“I’m an avid poker player. I don’t play that often, but I still know how to play. I play more cash games than tournaments. I have a lot of tournament experience, mostly from playing a lot of online sit’n’gos from my college days,” Thai told WSOP reporters. “Overall, the experience is unbelievable and I can’t wait to share this with everyone back home.”

Poker blogger and Sahara dealer James Urban was the runner-up.

Top nine finishers: 

1 Peter Thai $75,535
2 James Urbanic $46,690
3 Paul Blanchette $33,051
4 Bruce Jiang $23,738
5 Benson Tam $17,303
6 Sean Balfour $12,802
7 Keith McCormack $9,617
8 Joseph Pavan $7,337
9 Lisa Eckstein $5,686

High Rollers be rolling

The stars came out to the WSOP’s first open event, the $25,000 High Roller six-hander, but it was Alexandre Vuilleumier who wound up on top with the bracelet and $1,215,864.

Alexandre Vuilleumier
Alexandre Vuilleumier is the 2023 winner of the WSOP $25K High Roller six-handed opener. (Image: WSOP)

This is the Swiss’ largest cash, his second coming last year in the EPT London Main Event for $334,784. This is his second victory of 2023 after winning $237,700 and the trophy at the $10,150 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in February. He has $2.1 million in cashes, according to The Hendon Mob.

The event attracted 207 players who built the prize pool to $4,864,500. The top 32 finishers got paid at least $40,000, and they included many of the top players in the world: Daniel Negreanu, Ben Lamb, Justin Bonomo. and 2022 WSOP Main Event champ Espen Jorstad.

Bin Weng, who is having a breakout 2023 and nearly went-back-to-back in World Poker Tour events in May, finished 12th for $62,763.

Chance Kornuth was going for his fourth WSOP bracelet, but fizzled out in second.

This was Sean Winter’s eighth final table at a live WSOP event, but he has yet to win a bracelet. He still has more than $2.6 million in WSOP cashes.

Top six finishers: 

Alexandre Vuilleumier $1,215,864
Chance Kornuth $751,463
Sean Winter $518,106
Axel Hallay $363,326
Ren Lin $259,220
Joey Weissman $188,219

The WSOP is just getting started and the crowds have been huge. The $1,000 Mystery Millions event that began it’s first of four Day 1’s yesterday may even break the 4,000 entry mark, and WSOP officials are determined to make the Main Event historical.

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