As the 2023 World Series of Poker played out Day 6 with less than 100 players left, another tournament briefly stole the limelight in the Horseshoe Events Center.
And a big reason the $25,000 HORSE High Roller garnered that spotlight is the man who won it. Josh Arieh took home $711,313, his second bracelet of the summer and his sixth overall WSOP victory, defeating Dan Heimiller heads-up to seal the deal.
“I’m fucking so stoked,” said Arieh. “It was a tough field, and I was the last person to go on a heater. I feel amazing – I’m very lucky and very fortunate.”
With this win, and his victory in the $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship, Arieh became the third player to rack up two WSOP bracelets in 2023, joining Chad Eveslage and Chris Brewer. Arieh entered the final table, which also featured Mike Matusow (5th), John Hennigan (6th) and Scott Seiver (8th) with the chip lead, and managed to ride that all the way home despite a few brief hiccups.
“One thought process that I had was ‘just win the next pot you put your chips in,’ and I just continued to do that,” said Arieh. “And then, a couple of times when I took bad beats, I just got hit with the deck again.”
The last three years have been an absolute resurgence for Arieh’s career. He won two WSOP bracelets and WSOP Player of the Year honors in 2021, made three final tables including a pair of third-place finishes in $25,000 events, and has now added two more WSOP bracelets in 2023. Arieh largely credits the balance he’s struck in his life outside of poker for his wave of success.
“My life is so amazing – like outside of poker I got my shit straight,” Arieh said. “My relationships with my daughters, and my relationship with Rachel – we’re getting married in April. Everything is just great, and it’s definitely helped my career.”
Arieh is a finalist for the Poker Hall of Fame Class of 2023, with the winner set to be announced on Thursday as part of the festivities surrounding the kickoff of the $1,979 Poker Hall of Fame Bounty event. While he certainly made a strong case for himself this year, between the timing and the circumstances Arieh feels as though another player staked a strong claim earlier this summer.
“It’s definitely in the back of my mind,” said Arieh. “But this year is not the year – this year belongs to [Brian] Rast. He did what he had to do. He’s absolute crusher. Maybe one year, when and if they fix the election process or the nomination process and more than one player gets in, then maybe I’ll have my turn. But I’ll just keep playing and keep doing what I do, and whatever happens, happens.”
Another wrinkle added to the equation is that with this win, Arieh shoots up into second place in the 2023 WSOP POY standings with less than a week to go in the series, just behind Ian Matakis. While Arieh would join Daniel Negreanu as the only two-time POY winner, two of the three remaining big buy-in events – a No Limit Hold’em High Roller and the $10,000 Short Deck Championship – don’t play to Arieh’s strengths.
There are a handful of events that could play to Arieh’s skillset – a $2,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo/Omaha Hi-Lo, a $3,000 HORSE event and a handful of smaller buy-in No Limit Hold’em tournaments that could get big POY field bonuses. But there’s also a matter of clearing it up with his family, as Arieh already had a foot out the door before the $25,000 HORSE High Roller started.
“We have to talk about it,” Arieh said. “Even before this event, I cashed out all my TBIC [from the cage]. I was done, then I had another day off and decided to play.”
Regardless of his decision for the last few days of the 2023 WSOP, Arieh managed something substantial by joining a group that included Negreanu, Hennigan, Brian Hastings, Chris Ferguson, TJ Cloutier, Jeff Lisandro, Ted Forrest, Layne Flack, and Jay Heimowitz before the 2023 WSOP began. Arieh is the fifth player to join the six-timers club this year, joining Rast, Jeremy Ausmus, Jason Mercier, and Shaun Deeb; Deeb joined in on Arieh’s celebration shortly after he locked up No. 6.
“Catching Shaun and Daniel, I mean, those guys are insane players,” said Arieh. “Just to think that I’m in the same breath of them, it’s pretty cool.”