After just two hours of play on Day 2 of the Main Event, Daniel Weinman has secured a place in poker history by winning the 2023 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event. He tops a record-breaking field of 10,043 entrants, claiming $12.1 million of a nearly $93.4 million prize pool.
No Slowing Down
Much of this year’s WSOP has been played at a relatively fast pace, but given how deep the players were going into the final day of the Main Event, many spectators anticipated a long, drawn-out match as the players tried to grind down their opponents. In fact, we got the opposite, as players were slugging it out early on, playing huge pots with each other right from the get-go.
Adam Walton has earned a reputation over the past couple of days for being hyper-aggressive, and despite millions of dollars in pay jumps on the line, he did not slow down for a second. While he started the day third in chips, Walton quickly found himself up to second place thanks to some characteristically aggressive play.
Despite losing the first couple of pots, Walton won a big pot with AK against the AQ of Jones, despite neither player having a pair. Jones opened the button with AQ to 6.5 million with 1/2 million blinds, and Walton 3bet his AK to 22.5 million. Jones made the call, and the pair saw a flop of J57. Walton c-bet tiny - betting 8.5 million into 49 million, which baited Jones into putting out the raise.
Despite having no pair and no real draw, Walton almost instantly shoved all in! Jones had no choice but to fold, and Walton took down a significant pot without a showdown.
Walton’s Blunder With 88
Undeterred by his fluctuating chip stack or the magnitude of the occasion, Walton continued his aggressive play throughout the first 50 minutes of Day 2 of the final table, as he searched to recover the chip lead he held at the start of the final table. However, that aggression would come back to bite him, as he found himself with only a couple of outs in a nearly 430 million chip pot.
The three players were still relatively even at this point, with Jones having slipped into third on 165 million, Walton in second on 209 million, and Weinman holding a narrow lead with 227 million. The hand started reasonably, with Hones opening Q6 on the button to 6 million, and Walton deciding to take an unusually passive approach by calling with 88 in the small blind.
Dan Weinman then looked down at two red aces in the big blind and put in the 3bet to 27 million. Jones got out of the way, and the action was on Walton, who immediately shoved nearly 84bb with his pair of eights! Weinman snap-called and had an 80% chance to eliminate Walton in third place and take a commanding chip lead.
The flop came 735, giving Walton a backdoor flush draw and backdoor straight draw. The turn was the 9, bringing in the first part of Walton’s backdoor straight draw, more than doubling his outs. However, the K on the river eliminated Walton in third place and took us into heads-up play less than an hour into the day.
After eliminating Walton in third place, you could hear Dan Weinman discuss the potential of making a deal with Jason Mercier who was on his rail. Given that there was a nearly $6 million pay jump between the two positions, you could see why he was considering it! However, he was warned off by Mercier - at least while he had a dominating chip lead. Eventually, Jones and Weinman went into heads-up playing for it all.
Being the more practised in playing in big tournament situations of the two players, you’d expect Dan Weinman to exert his years of experience over the relatively green Steven Jones - and that’s exactly what happened. He started heads-up with a nearly 3:1 chip lead and he held it through.
Whenever Jones won a decently sized pot, Weinman would recalibrate and grind his way back into the lead he had before. In situations where you potentially see your lead slipping away, it’s easy to start panicking and overplaying your hands to try and win it back - but there was absolutely none of that from Weinman. He was the personification of cool in a situation where many players would melt under pressure.
Sealing The Win
Nearly an hour into heads-up play, Dan still held that nearly 3:1 chip lead when he called a raise with KJ against the 7 million raise from the J8 of Jones. The flop was one that was always going to lead to fireworks - J52. Both players caught the top pair, but Weinman had the better kicker.
Weinman checked over to Jones, who fired out a c-bet of 6 million. That bet of 6 million was met by a check-raise from Weinman, who bumped it up to 18.5 million. Jones quickly made the call, and the 4 hit the turn. Weinman made a significant bet of 33 million into 53 million on the turn - a bet which sent Jones into the tank.
Seemingly debating a call or a fold, Jones had been in the tank for around 4 minutes when he made the shocking decision to shove all-in! Weinman had to call 108 million from his 365 million stack to be a 93% favourite to win the Main Event. While he didn’t look like he loved the decision, after getting a quick count of Jones’ stack, he made the call and saw the good news.
The players retreated to their rails to sweat what could be the final river card of the tournament. The river came the A to seal the win for Daniel Weinman, securing him a permanent place in poker history, the WSOP Main Event bracelet, and the $12.1 million first-place prize.
After the adrenaline of that river card had somewhat subsided, the media was able to grab Dan to get his reaction to winning poker’s biggest tournament. When asked about how he felt after winning, Dan said, “...to win this Main Event, it doesn't feel real. I mean, (there's) so much luck in a poker tournament. I thought I played very well, but so many hands that (I got) incredibly lucky for the situations to arise.”
Given some of the names at the final table, it was always going to be a hard-won bracelet, and when Dan was asked about the calibre of his opponents, he said, “Final tables can go so many different ways… You need some cards to get chips, there were a lot of good players left with a lot more tournament experience than me. But when we got down to three, I did feel like I was the best player of the three. And a couple good hands at the right time; it all came together.”
Part of the reason why Dan was able to do so well in this year’s Main Event could be down to his altered schedule. “Every year before this, I've been here from Event #1 to the last event," Weinman said. "And by the time the Main Event comes around, I'm burnt out ... I've said to many people, I don't like this tournament. The structure is too good, I'm kind of over it for the summer.”
When asked what he was going to do with his $12.1 million, Dan said, “I have no clue. Probably invest it. Probably not the best answer everybody wants to hear, but I'm fairly cautious with it away from the table. Even though I like to gamble pretty hard.”
We at Natural8 would like to congratulate Dan on winning the biggest-ever WSOP Main Event and hope to see even more players make the trip out to Vegas next year.
Event #76 $10,000 Main Event No-Limit Hold'em World Championship Final Table Results
|1||Daniel Weinman||United States||$12,100,000|
|2||Steven Jones||United States||$6,500,000|
|3||Adam Walton||United States||$4,000,000|
Did Dan Weinman deserve the win after his final table performance? Will we see another record-breaking field in the 2024 WSOP Main Event? Let us know on social media and stay tuned for all the latest WSOP news and events.
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