Twittertainment: Will The 2023 WSOP Main Event Break Records?

Date IconLast Updated : May 9th, 2023
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Twittertainment: Will The 2023 WSOP Main Event Break Records?
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This week’s Twittertainment asks a question that’s been on everyone’s lips since 2006: will the WSOP Main Event record be broken this year?

Those who were around at the height of the poker boom will remember the now-infamous WSOP Main Event featuring Jamie Gold. Aside from the speech play Gold used to win a world title, 2006 is best remembered as the biggest WSOP Main Event in history.

Three years after Chris Moneymaker topped a field of 839 players to become WSOP World Champion, Gold outlasted 10X that many players. Indeed, by the time he had all the chips in play, Gold had overcome a record-breaking field of 8,773 players. 

Recent Trends Suggest 2023 WSOP Main Event Could Break Records

That victory earned Gold $12 million, and although he’s rarely seen on the circuit these days, his name will forever be synonymous with the WSOP. While that event won’t be easily forgotten, recent attendance figures have threatened the longstanding record. 

2019’s $10,000 Main Event attracted 8,569 players, and after two years of disruptions caused by COVID-19, the Big Dance was even bigger in 2022. Norway’s Espen Jorstad outlasted 8,662 other players to bank $10 million. 

With last year’s WSOP just 11 players short of breaking the record, Daniel Negreanu is confident it will fall this summer. Such is his confidence that he tweeted that the record “will be broken.” Not only that, but it will also be the “largest first prize” in WSOP Main Event history. If that’s the case, the 2023 WSOP World Championship will bank more than $12 million. 

Negreanu knows poker better than most. Therefore, when he makes a bold claim, it’s worth paying attention to, but why is he so confident? As you can see from the list below, barring a few exceptions, the number of WSOP Main Event entries has gradually increased each year for more than a decade. 

The Top 10 Biggest WSOP Main Events

  • 2006: 8,773 players – Winner = Jamie Gold, $12 million top prize
  • 2022: 8,663 players – Winner = Espen Jorstad, $10 million top prize
  • 2019: 8,569 players – Winner = Hossein Ensan, $10 million top prize
  • 2018: 7,874 players – Winner = John Cynn, $8.8 million top prize
  • 2010: 7,319 players – Winner = Jonathan Duhamel, $8.9 million top prize
  • 2017: 7,221 players – Winner = Scott Blumstein, $8.1 million top prize
  • 2011: 6,865 players – Winner = Pius Heinz, $8.7 million top prize
  • 2008: 6,844 players – Winner = Peter Eastgate, $9.1 million top prize
  • 2016: 6,737 players – Winner = Qui Nguyen, $8 million top prize
  • 2014: 6,683 players – Winner = Martin Jacobson, $10 million top prize

There’s no doubt the WSOP Main Event has continued to thrive, even during tough economic times. It took a hit following the events of Black Friday in 2011, but it’s rebounded over the last 10+ years. We may now finally be at a point where the record is broken. If that happens, we can say poker is in a better place (in some respects) than it was during the Moneymaker era. 

There is certainly a lot of positivity this year. Negreanu’s tweet has received over 230 likes since it was posted. What’s more, a lot of people in the comments are playing for the first time this year, which suggests Negreanu could be onto something. 

“Playing for the first time after a few years off, excited,” wrote Pelham Fund. 

“Been watching the WSOP coverage for 20 years. Going to be my first year playing! Also buying a piece of DNeg for add’l sweat,” MLBactuary tweeted. 

Also among the replies to Negreanu’s Tweet were questions about the payout structure. Since Gold won in 2006, the number of players making it into the money has increased.

New Structure May Mean One Record Remains 

In 2006, 12% of the field got paid. Today, it’s 15%. As noted by Terry Thomasson, the 2023 WSOP Main Event would need to attract more than 10,000 entrants if the top prize will surpass $12 million. 

The payout structure is also something pros have been thinking about. Tournament crusher Patrick Leonard would love to see the top prize fixed at $10 million so more players get paid. 

“Keep it 10m and make bigger prizes for other places IMO,” Leonard wrote.

Paying more people would certainly appeal to casual players and tournament grinders. However, a bigger top prize gets more headlines. The main reason Chris Moneymaker’s win went viral in 2003 is the fact he won over $1 million as an amateur. 

Since then, the WSOP Main Event has been seen as a lottery ticket. Qualifying online for a few dollars and winning life-changing sums of money is the tournament’s main selling point. Therefore, a top prize over $12 million would inevitably become headline news in poker and, moreover, the mainstream. 

The minutiae of payout structures aside, there’s a lot of optimism heading into this summer’s WSOP, and that can only be a good thing for poker. Will the 2023 Main Event break records? We’ll find out when the action gets underway on July 3.

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