Top Stories of 2023, No. 2: Live poker continues to boom

Top 10 Live Poker 2023

It wasn’t long ago that the live poker world was placed under lockdown as it and the rest of the world were gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of the coronavirus was PokerNews‘ Top story of 2020, and rightly so.

Live poker only returned sporadically throughout 2021, including the Return of the live World Series of Poker (WSOP)with a mini poker boom achieved the following year in 2022. It turns out that the surge in live poker activity in 2022 was no flash in the pan, as live poker continued to boom throughout 2023, including through the end of the year.

Record attendance at the World Series of Poker 2023

Daniel Weinman Final Table
Daniel Weinman – 2023 WSOP Main Event Champion

The WSOP is usually a good barometer for the state of the live poker world. The longest-running and arguably most prestigious live poker tour of them all always attracts throngs of players, but the WSOP 2023 in Las Vegas was something different.

When the 2023 WSOP kicked off in May, most live poker tours saw increased attendance, but nothing prepared the poker community for what lay ahead. As the series concluded its first quarter and 20 events had crowned their champions, 18 saw an increase in attendance, which boded well for the event $10,000 WSOP Main Event.

Around 8,773 players took part Jamie Gold became the 2006 WSOP Main Event champion. A handful of main events exceeded 7,000 entries in the coming years Espen Jorstad Overcame 8,662 opponents on his way to becoming the 2022 WSOP Main Event champion.

With attendance at other events off the charts, everyone had their fingers crossed that the 2023 WSOP Main Event would be the biggest ever. Those fingers crossed their fingers were not disappointed as 10,043 entries were processed, resulting in a record prize pool of $93,399,900 and a grand prize of $12,100,000 for Atlanta Daniel Weinman. It’s entirely possible that the upcoming 2024 WSOP Main Event could be even bigger than this year’s; we will see.

New record in the WSOPE Main Event

Max Neugebauer wins the WSOPE Main Event
Max Neugebauer

New records were set not only in Las Vegas at the WSOP, but also in Rozvadov. The 2022 WSOP Europe Main Event set a new benchmark with 763 players, but the 2023 edition exceeded that with 817 participants. Former professional basketball player Max Neugebauer was the main beneficiary of the juicy prize pool as he emerged victorious, taking home a whopping €1,500,000 for his victory.

Poker in paradise in December

Stanislav Zegal
Stanislav Zegal

December 2023 was one of the busiest months on record for live poker grinders. Not only that PokerStars EPT Prague festival and the WPT World Championships in full swing, but the WSOP, together with GGPoker, has decided to host the first WSOP Paradise in the Bahamas too!

Some of the attendance was nothing short of remarkable given the competition that WSOP Paradise faced. For example, Martin Out from Canada fought its way through 2,233 opponents $1,100 Mini Main Eventwhile 533 players parted ways $25,100 in the GGMillion$ High Rollers Championshipincluding a worthy winner Samuel Mullurwho deposited $2,736,300.

Stanislav Zegal triumphed at the opening WSOP Paradise Main Eventdefeat Michael Sklenicka Heads up for the $2 million grand prize. The field of 3,010 wasn’t enough to reach the $15 million guarantee, but it was an excellent turnout under the circumstances.

The European Poker Tour and the return of the North American Poker Tour

Mike Watson
Mike Watson became the third two-time EPT Main Event champion

There were only five stops PokerStars European Poker Tour (EPT) in 2023, but each attracted players from far and wide. The EPT made its debut in Paris in February and, despite initial difficulties, an impressive 1,606 players took part EPT Paris Main Eventwith Romania Razvan Belea emerged as the winner and received a score of €1,170,000.

Mike Watson became only the third player in EPT history to win two main events when he triumphed at the EPT EPT Monte Carlo Main Event, made his way through a field of 1,098 players and collected €749,425. The event’s attendance was the largest at this stop.

Barcelona is always a popular stop on the EPT calendar and the 2023 edition was no different. A field of 2,120 participants made it 2023 EPT Barcelona Main EventHe is the second largest EPT Main Event entry of all time and is French Simon Wiciak is the man who mined it. Wiciak pocketed €1,134,375 after a heads-up deal with the Brazilian Joao Oliveira (€1,048,555).

PokerStars then flew to sunny Cyprus and made its second cancellation of the season. The combination of lovely weather and five-star accommodation helped $5,300 EPT Cyprus Main Event Attract 1,320 participants. Dutch star Gilles Simon was the last man standing; He secured first place prize money of $1,042,000.

The curtain fell on another hugely successful EPT season in picturesque Prague. Ireland’s 1,284 opponents Padraig O’Neill in its wake was another all-time high for EPT PragueWith the prize money of 1,030,000 euros, O’Neill has more than doubled his lifetime winnings in live poker.

Sami Bechahed
Sami Bechahed

The PokerStars North American Poker Tour (NAPT) returned to action after a lengthy 12-year break and has exceeded all expectations. It took place at Resorts World Las Vegas, immediately after Las Vegas hosted its first-ever Formula 1 Grand Prix. Each event recorded impressive numbers, with the $1,650 buy-in NAPT Las Vegas Main Event 1,095 players are competing for a share of the $1,500,000 prize pool. Poker dealer Sami Bechahed is the name entered into the NAPT history book under the heading “NAPT Las Vegas Main Event Champion,” an award that was worth $268,945. PokerNews expects big things from NAPT in 2024.

World Poker Tour offers a guarantee of $40 million

And Sepiol
And Sepiol

In December 2022 the World Poker Tour (WPT) hosted an event called the WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas with a $10,000 buy-in and secured a $15 million prize pool guarantee. A field of 2,960 entrants formed a prize pool of $29,008,000 Eliot Hudon claimed $4,136,000 of that princely sum.

Everyone knew that the WPT would host the event again in 2023, but they had no idea that the WPT would guarantee $40 million! The amount was ambitious in itself, especially since the EPT Prague was scheduled at the same time, but then the WSOP came along and announced the WSOP Paradise.

Although the tournament did not meet its guarantee, the fact that it attracted 3,835 participants and players were not allowed to re-enter until the next available day made the difference WPT World Championship 2023 a huge success. After a week of intense poker action, And Sepiol emerged victorious and saw his $10,000 investment grow to $5,282,954 just in time for Christmas.

Calvin Anderson
Calvin Anderson

Every side event voided his guarantee, including that $1,100 WPT Prime Championshipwho saw Calvin Anderson Saved $1,388,280 after beating 10,511 opponents.

Speaking of which WPT Prime, this mid-stakes tour has become increasingly successful in 2023. WPT Prime traveled to Australia, Cambodia, France, India, Italy, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain and Vietnam this year, uprooting trees at every stop. You can win packages and passes to WPT Prime events online at WPT Global has helped, but the tour’s popularity proves there is a thriving market for live tournaments that cost $1,000.

Triton continues to thrive

Chip leader Jason Koon
Jason Koon continued to smash the Triton Super High Roller Series

The Triton Poker Super High Roller Series sees tournaments with buy-ins that mere mortals can only dream of. The tour made stops in Vietnam, Cyprus, London and Monte Carlo this year, with some of the biggest names in the game winning these main events.

Talal Shakerchi outlasted 134 opponents $100,000 Triton Poker Super High Roller Series Vietnam Main Eventand saw $3,250,000 land in his bank account.

Jason Koon won the $100,000 Cyprus Main Event for $2,451,082, with Ramin Hajiyev He secured $4,122,554 in a Luxon Invitational event with a buy-in of $200,000.

Timothy Adams was the London champion (he won $4,185,000), while Matthias Eibinger was crowned Monte Carlo Champion and received $3,461,261 for his efforts.

Biggest PokerNews Cup of All Time; Other tours have had great success

Johnny Kelly
Johnny Kelly: 2023 PokerNews Cup Champion

Our very own PokerNews Cup broke its attendance record in 2023, thanks to the participation of 2,331 players Golden nugget and the creation of a guaranteed guaranteed prize pool of $1,356,642. Johnny Kelly took the lion’s share of the pot, $176,540. We have big plans for the PokerNews Cup, so stay tuned for our news next year.

888poker LIVEs Tour 2023 will go down in history as one of the most successful in its history. The Coventry Main Event in the UK saw Yiannis Liperis Returning home after converting his £888 buy-in into £120,000. 888poker recently announced the dates for the 888poker LIVE tour in 2024, including details of a new UK tour that looks incredibly exciting.

Alex Todd
Alex Todd: 2023 Goliath Champion

Speaking of Great Britain, the perennial favorite Grosvenor UK Poker Tour (GUKPT) has completed its 17th season, and what a season it was. There were so many highlights that we could have filled this article with GUKPT content alone. However, a standout performance was the ever-popular Goliath, which saw a record entry of 11,493 players battle it out for a share of £1,324,000. Alex Todd defeated the Goliath and secured a payout of £176,860, despite the tournament ending in a six-handed chop. The 2024 GUKPT schedule can be found here.

Shout-outs have to go to them too Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT)The PokerStars UK & Ireland Poker Tour (UKIPT)The WSOP circuit, The festival seriesThe fantastic one Kings of Tallinn, Irish Open, Asian Poker Tourand that EA Poker Tour among others.

So much work goes into planning and executing any live tour, regardless of the buy-ins offered. Anyone who played a role in hosting and running a live poker event in 2023 deserves a pat on the back and a long break over the holidays. But don’t get too comfortable because live poker action will be coming your way throughout 2024. We can hardly wait!


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