RUN THE NUMBERS: Record-Setting Fields, Million-Dollar Dreams at the 2023 WSOP

We’re looking at some key stats and figures from the first two weeks of the 2023 World Series of Poker.

Jeff Walsh
Jun 13, 2023
2023 World Series of Poker (photo courtesy: Ernest Myers)

The 2023 World Series of Poker is in full swing with million-dollar dreams being made in record-breaking fields. And we’re only two weeks in.

If there was any question that the WSOP would be back and bigger than ever this year, the first couple of weeks have proven that the appetite for poker is at an all-time high. From veterans of the series to shot takers hailing from around the world, this has already been a WSOP to be remembered and the numbers prove it.

So, let’s check in and Run The Numbers on the first 14 days of the 2023 WSOP.


23,088: The total number of entries in the four-flight, multi-entry $300 Gladiators of Poker (Event #18). This is the lowest buy-in ever for a WSOP gold bracelet and nearly everyone who could spell the word “poker” took a shot at this one. The numbers were astronomical all around; here’s a breakdown of the entries per flight.

Day 1A: 3,940
Day 1B: 4,571
Day 1C: 6,110
Day 1D: 8,467

This makes the Gladiators of Poker the second-largest all-time field for the WSOP (and all of live poker), just behind 2019’s $500 WSOP Big 50, which brought out 28,371 entries and was won by Femi Fashakin for $1,147,449. Typically, an event of this size would have been held on the opening weekend of the series, but that was occupied by the $1,000 Mystery Millions, which brought its own record field of 18,188, the largest field ever for a WSOP $1K.

One final number for the Gladiators of Poker, the first-place prize will be $499,852 – giving the eventual winners a 1,666x ROI on the $300 buy-in. Not bad.

3: Phil Hellmuth hats, cashes, and days off. It seemed like Hellmuth was running some numbers of his own when he came up with the number 3. The 16-time WSOP bracelet winner is looking to extend his all-time record this year and he’s off to a pretty good start, racking up three early cashes for a total of $15,088. His best finish was in the $600 NLHE Deepstack (Event #11) where he finished in 47th place out of 6,076 runners for $7,385.

So, when you regularly tout how many bracelets you have on the hat you wear every day, it’s best to prepare for success. It turns out that in Hellmuth’s on-site break room, he’s already got his signature hats embroidered with “17 and “18” so as soon as he levels up, he can switch his lid with his new record.

2,168.65: The number of WSOP Player of the Year points currently held by POY frontrunner Chad Eveslage after scoring a pair of WSOP bracelets in the first week of the series. Eveslage has some experience in winning a POY race as he’s also the current reigning, defending World Poker Tour Player of the Year (2022). While every year is different, we can take a look at last year’s WSOP POY winner, Dan Zack, and his total points of 4,530.64 as a rough barometer for what it’s going to take to win it this year. With that in mind, Eveslage basically has half of what he needs to hold both POY titles at the same time.

5: Number of bracelets now won by both Brian Yoon and Josh Arieh. It’s one thing to win a WSOP gold bracelet and another to do it again – proving the first time was no fluke. Well, reaching 5 bracelets is really the next milestone and this week two players padded their poker resume by joining the five-timers club. Brian Yoon was the first to do it in the $10,000 WSOP Seven Card Stud Championship (besting 130 entries for $311,433) and then 2021 WSOP Player of the Year Josh Arieh picked up number five in the $10,000 WSOP Limit Hold’em Championship (besting 134 runners for $316,226).

Yoon and Arieh boost the five-timers club to 17 players that include modern-day grinders like Shaun Deeb, Brian Rast, Jeremy Ausmus, and Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi as well as legends of the game including Scott Nguyen, Allen Cunningham, John Juanda, and Stu Ungar. Which one of these players will be the next to reach 6? It could happen this year.

100…and counting: According to Allen “Chainsaw” Kessler, the longtime grinder joined the WSOP 100 club in the first week when he finished in 34th place in the $1,500 Seven Card Stud (Event #9) for $3,051.

7: Millionaires made so far. With 24 events completed at the time of writing, seven players have walked away with scores of $1,000,000 or more. Two players, Shant Marashlian and Patrick Liang, pulled million-dollar bounties in the Mystery Millions and a third, Tyler Brown, won the event for an even $1M. At the same time, Swiss pro Alexandre Vuilleumier took down the $25,000 High Roller Six-Handed (Event #2) for a $1,215,864 payday.

A week later Isaac Haxton bested a field of 301 entries in another $25,000 High Roller (Event #16) and collected his first bracelet and $1,698.215. United Kingdom’s Ryan O’Donnell finished as the runner-up in this event and took home a $1,049,577 consolation prize.

Finally, Leon Sturm took down the $50,000 High Roller (Event #23) for a career-high cash of $1,546,024. This brings us to….

52: The age difference between 22-year-old Leon Strum and the runner-up of Event #23, Bill Klein who is still crushing in high rollers at 74 years old.

$150,000: Matt Berkey-sized side pot. Sure the WSOP is taking place at the Horseshoe and Paris, but everyone knows that the WSOP as a summer camp extends to all of the side tournaments and cash games around Sin City. Matt Berkey, of he-who-vanquished-Airball fame, is back on his cash game grind and is regularly showcasing his six-figure swings in the private room at the Aria. Including this wild hand which is too good not to share.