Sunday July 9, 2023 at 4:10 pm

It's official. The 2023 World Series of Poker smashed a 17-year-old record when the $10,000 buy-in Main Event Championship passed over 10,000 in entries and settled on 10,043 runners and a prize pool just shy $93.4 million. The top 1507 players will get paid out with $12.1 million set aside to the champion and the top eight places snagging at least a seven-figure payout. American pro Maurice Hawkins bagged the chip lead heading into Day 3.

Maurice Hawkins - WSOP Main Event End Day 2 Chipleader (Pic by @WSOP)

It's official. The 2023 World Series of Poker smashed a 17-year-old record when the $10,000 buy-in Main Event Championship passed over 10,000 in entries and settled on 10,043 runners and a prize pool just shy $93.4 million. The top 1507 players will get paid out with $12.1 million set aside to the champion and the top eight places snagging at least a seven-figure payout.

Let's jump into a time machine and set the flux capacitor to 2006. It was a special year. The Pirates of the Caribbean sequel was the top grossing movie and Sexy Back from Justin Timberlake was booming all over soundsystem in Las Vegas. Poker had been enjoying its new-found status in the mainstream with numerous programs filling the airwaves. The world had to get turned upside down by social media and the WSOP hit its zenith during the peak of the online poker boom before American politicians got involved and pulled the plug on one heck of a raging party known as the poker industry.

The 2006 WSOP Main Event attracted 8,773 runners and little did anyone know at the time but that number would become a high-water mark in early 21st Century gambling history. Jamie Gold, a slick agent operating in the shadows of Hollywood, ran away with the 2006 Main Event championship when he amassed a monster stack and steamrolled everyone in his path en route to the final table and eventual championship.

It took 17 long years but the WSOP finally broke their old record when the Main Event reached new heights. Of course, the poker industry and gambling world look vastly different today than it did in the mid-2000s. Poker has taken a backseat to sports betting, which has become a behemoth monster with sharpened fangs that can penetrate into every aspect of professional sports in North America and beyond. Yet, despite the sports betting boom, ye ole poker chugs along. Yes, the Cadillac of poker – Texas Hold'em -- is still the game of choice for many poker enthusiasts which is why the Main Event is still popular without the massive engine of online poker to whip everyone up into a frenzy.

Poker is no longer mainstream and in the public's consciousness like it was 17 years ago, but poker is still a huge deal for a large segment of card-slinging gamblers, degens, and enthusiasts around the world.

The suits running the WSOP have been on a specific mission over the last decade to set a new record with the Main Event. Even the global pandemic did not deter them; it was a mere setback. Just three summers after the 2020 WSOP was postponed and the polarized poker world wondered if they would ever play together in a live setting and breathe the same oxygenated air, the 2023 WSOP smashed an old record and finally reached a new nadir with 10,043 entrants who generated and an insane prize pool just shy $93.4 million.

Things are a tad different at the WSOP these days. The Rio is a ghost town in the summer, and the Paris/Horseshoe (nee Bally's) is the new Mecca for the WSOP. The prize pool in the Main Event gets distrusted to 15% of the masses instead of 10% back in the day. Despite a broader redistribution of wealth (thanks Obama!), the WSOP suits made sure the 2023 champion will earn more than Jamie Gold did back in 2006 with his $12 million** score. The winner of this year's Main Event will bank $12.1 million. Let's hope that this year's champion has a full vested interest in themselves. (** Yes, there's still lot of drama surrounding how much Gold actually won because he apparently had a handshake 50/50 deal with a friend.)

Players could still buy into the Main Event through the end of registration at the start of Day 2. They officially broke the record on Day 1D, but the bean counters didn't know an exact number of entrants until Day 2D. Now we know. Get used to this new number: 10,043. Will it just be an afterthought and get passed next year or in ensuing years? Or will this be another high-water mark that AI-generated poker articles on content mills and shill sites reference for another decade or more?

At the conclusion of Day 2D, there are 3,663 lucky souls remaining in the hunt for the WSOP Main Event gold bracelet -- presented by the Mayor of Flavortown himself. The entre remaining field -- from Day 2ABC will combine with Day 2D -- for action on Day 3 and everyone will slug it out on the same day for the remainder of the Main Event.

Mo Hawkins is a WSOP Circuit legend, but he might finally get his due at the WSOP in Sin City. Hawkins bagged the overall lead with 941K, and Nicholas 'Dirty Diaper' Rigby is right behind him with 921K when Day 3 starts. Rounding out the Top 5 are the UK's Chris Brammer (879K), American Jeff Shapiro (878K), and Argentina's Julio Belluscio (825,500).

Rigby knocked out Phil Hellmuth on Day 2, might to the delight of all the haters out there. Hellmuth will have to wait another day to win bracelet #18.

Among the noteworthy players with heady stacks above 420K are Kalidou Sow, Kathy Liebert, Chance Kornuth, Tom Dwan, and Sergio Aido.

So, who else survived that you might know? Players returning to Day 3 action include... Chris Vitch, Victor Ramdin, Richard Seymour, Ryan Tosoc, Punnat Punsri, Danny Alaei, Christian Harder, Joe Hachem, Sammy Lafleur, Blair Hinkle, Chris Moneymaker, Rob Hollink, Brandon Shack-Harris, Fabian Gumz, Robert Mizrachi, Barry Greenstein, Dylan Linde, Chris Moorman, John Racener, Michael Adamo, Tracey Nguyen, Anthony Zinno, JC Tran, Darryll Fish, Svetlana Gromenkova, Brittney Stout, Randy Ohel, Minh Nguyen, Pete Carini, Theo Tran, Chris Hunichen, Jameson Painter, Nick Pupillo, Phillip Hui, Johnny Bax, Erwann Pecheux, Sam Soverel, JamesPaxton, Ebony Kenney, Dylan Weisman, Kyle Julius, Quin Do, Yu Wang, Dani Stern, and Ryan D'Angelo.

How about stacks under 100K? That group of smaller stacks include... Jason Mercier, Adam Levy, Vinny Pahuja, Russ Rosenblum, Nam Le, William Kassouf, Brett Apter, DJ MacKinnon, Poorya Nazari, James Romero, Cary Katz, Paul Newey, David Williams, Eric Mizrachi, Grayson Rampage, Jeff Shulman, Jonathan Little, Dzmitry Urbanovich, The Grinder, and Will Molson.

Day 3 resumes on Sunday with the intention to play five full levels. The money bubble is not expected to bust until Day 4, but it's been a weird summer and wild Main Event so who knows what could go down if people get super frisky.

2023 WSOP Main Event

Buy-in: $10,000

Entrants: 10,043

Prize Pool: $93,399,900

Payouts: 1,507

Top 10 Chip Counts:

1 Maurice Hawkins (USA) 941,000

2 Nicholas Rigby (USA) 921,500

3 Jeffrey Shapiro (USA) 832,000

4 Jacob Mitich (USA) 660,000

5 Liran Betito (Israel) 604,000

6 James Obst (Australia) 593,000

7 Nai Hu (Taiwan) 577,500

8 Emmanuel Lopez (Argentina) 576,000

9 Steve Watts (UK) 555,000

10 Joseph Lind (USA) 549,000


Final Table Payouts:

1st Place $12,100,000

2nd Place $6,500,000

3rd Place $4,000,000

4th Place $3,000,000

5th Place $2,400,000

6th Place $1,850,000

7th Place $1,425,000

8th Place $1,125,000

9th Place $900,000

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