World Series of Poker Main Event Begins with High Hopes

The iconic World Series of Poker Main Event began this week, hosting over 1,000 eager participants, each contributing a $10,000 entry fee. Tournament organizers remain optimistic about breaking the 2006 record of 8,776 entrants. This optimism is grounded in the fact that the 2022 event was within 100 entrants of this record, while this year’s Day 1A featured 896 players.

Day 1A Survivors and Leaders

From the 810 contenders who made it past Day 1A, Yehuda Dayan from Israel emerged as the chip leader, holding 389,900 chips. The only other player exceeding 300,000 chips was Shota Nakanishi of Japan.

Jamie Gold, the celebrated 2006 champion, started the event strong, concluding the first night in the 58th position. Additionally, three other Main Event champions survived the day: Joe Cada, the 2009 champion, Martin Jacobson who won in 2014 and Damian Salas, winner of the 2020 Main Event.

Noteworthy survivors of the opening flight also included Doug Polk, Faraz Jaka, James McManus, Shaun Deeb, Dominik Nitsche, along with Poker Hall of Famers John Hennigan and Billy Baxter.

Hard Luck for the Unfortunate

Elimination from the WSOP Main Event is considered a harrowing experience, even if the player walks away with a cash prize. Unfortunately, the most brutal loss of the day was suffered by Israel’s Idan “The One,” experiencing his first Main Event. 

In a disheartening series of hands, The One went head to head with Ruben Correia. Initially, The One was playing well, but as Level 2 approached, the luck turned. The One was dealt pocket Kings in two unfortunate hands while Correia drew Aces. Both times, Correia’s Aces held up, resulting in The One’s early exit from the tournament.

WSOP Hold'em Event Gold Bracelet

Day 36 Highlights: WSOP Championships: Gafford and Kamel Emerge Victorious

In a thrilling turn of events, Bradley Gafford clinched his first WSOP bracelet in Event #74: $1,000 Mini Main Event. Despite entering the final day last in chips among five remaining players, Gafford secured the title and a prize money of $549,555, making for an extraordinary narrative.

Simultaneously, Event #75: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship concluded in a swift seven hours, as the initial 19 players were rapidly whittled down. Australia’s Hassan Kamel emerged victorious, defeating Ryan Hoenig in the final heads-up. Kamel’s first WSOP bracelet and a prize of $598,613 were met with resounding cheers from his supporters both in Vegas and Australia.

Day 1B of the WSOP Main Event: An Independence Day Start

Coinciding with Independence Day festivities, Day 1B of Event #76: $10,000 WSOP Main Event World Championship saw more than 1,100 players embarking on their journey towards victory. Jean-Pierre van der Spuy from South Africa took the chip lead with 287,000 chips, positioning him fourth overall behind Day 1A leaders Yehuda Dayan, Shota Nakanishi, and Hai-Chi Ho.

Julien Martini, a four-time WSOP bracelet winner, finished Day 1B with an impressive stack of 284,700 chips. Other high stack holders included Patrik Antonius (263,500) and Anatoly Filatov (231,000). Greg Raymer and Johnny Chan, previous Main Event winners, also held substantial stacks of 201,400 and 218,000 chips respectively.

Top 10 Overall (Day 1A and 1B)



Chip Count



Yehuda Dayan




Shota Nakanishi




Hai-Chi Ho




Jean-Pierre van der Spuy


South Africa


Julien Martini




Yuze Ding




Doug Polk




Gar Cheung




Andrew Graham




Neville Endo Costa



Day 1C on the Horizon

Scheduled for July 5, Day 1C of the WSOP Main Event is anticipated to attract an even larger number of players. The previous year’s Day 1C drew 1,860 entrants, following 896 and 879 entries on Days 1A and 1B, respectively. With this trend, the 2023 WSOP Main Event Day 1C could surpass 2,000 entries.

Looking Ahead: Day 37 of the 2023 WSOP

The final table of the Online Event #13: $5,300 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller Championship will take place at the Horseshoe and Paris Las Vegas on July 5. Sam Soverel leads the competitors, including Yuval Bronshtein, Aleksejs Ponakovs, Ethan Yau, Lingkun Lu, and Gergely Kulcsar.

Day 37 also marks the beginning of Day 1C of Event #76: $10,000 WSOP Main Event World Championship. As one of the most significant Main Event flights, it promises high-stakes competition, potentially featuring a few players recovering from the previous night’s Independence Day celebrations.

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