WSOP Main Event: Big Day 1C Field Sets Stage for Historic Day 1D

Over 3,000 players showed up for Day 1C of the 2023 WSOP Main Event, setting the stage for a potential record-smashing day on Thursday.

Tim Fiorvanti
Jul 6, 2023
Daniel Negreanu held court on the PokerGO streaming stage for most of Day 1C of the 2023 WSOP Main Event.

Since the World Series of Poker expanded into multiple ballrooms during its time at the Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino, the WSOP Main Event has stretched its capacity limits on multiple occasions. That typically doesn’t happen until the final starting flight, but on Wednesday, a Day 1C field of well over 3,000 players stretched across ballrooms at two different casinos and set the stage for multiple records to fall on Thursday.

Players spilled out of the Horseshoe Events Center and Horseshoe Grand Ballroom and into multiple sections over at Paris. Day 1C ultimately drew more than three times as many players as the Day 1A field that turned out on Monday, and tournament organizers already started taking precautions for a turnout that could well take up every seat and every table in all three rooms.

If there was any doubt that the all-time WSOP Main Event record of 8,773 players, set in 2006, would be eclipsed, it’s certainly evaporated by now. With over 5,000 players already in the field, that number will not only fall but it could be crushed with two more days available for players to enter the field. There is also a strong possibility that Day 1D will break the record for most players in a single WSOP Main Event starting flight.

As Chris Moneymaker celebrates the 20 years since his historic main event win, the ripples of a poker explosion that he helped to set off 20 years ago will be on full display.

What We Saw on Day 1C

Within the chaos and the sea of humanity, the field was littered with stars of the game. For most of the day, Daniel Negreanu held court on the PokerGO livestream table while his deep run in the 2015 WSOP Main Event played on the big screens in the Horseshoe Event Center. He was short-stacked for long stretches of the day, but Negreanu managed to bag 25,900 with a chance to spin it back up on Friday afternoon.

Current 2023 WSOP Player of the Year frontrunner Ian Matakis was part of the Day 1C field as well. After a summer in which he recorded 17 cashes, his first WSOP bracelet and deep runs in the $50,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller, $5,000 6-Max No Limit Hold’em, and Millionaire Maker, Matakis has managed to enjoy a ‘1 percent summer’ and outpace the busiest poker player in the game, Shaun Deeb. Unfortunately for Matakis, his Main Event run was short-circuited early, but the consolation prize is he’ll have his pick of another 30 events, between live and online, in which he can try to extend his lead.

Professional prognosticator Nate Silver also entered the 2023 WSOP Main Event on Wednesday. Despite considerable success over the last few years, including a runner-up finish in the 2021 $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship at the WSOP and five top-100 finishes in WPT Main Tour events, Silver is 0-for-his career in the WSOP Main Event. He feels like poker is part of his life for good, and as he works to finish his second book, which will highlight the parallels between successful gamblers and navigating risk, Silver hopes to earn his first career WSOP Main Event cash. He held steady on Day 1C and will take 63,900 into Friday’s Day 2ABC.

Who Are the Day 1C Chip Leaders?

1. Christopher Brammer – 386,100 – The Southampton, England-based pro won a WSOP gold bracelet in 2017, in a $5,000 No Limit Hold’em event. Brammer’s also no stranger to deep runs in big fields, with a fifth-place finish in the 2012 WSOP Europe Main Event and a final table appearance in the 2012 WSOP $10,000 6-Max No Limit Hold’em Championship. He has over $1.1 million in career WSOP earnings and $2.2 million total.

2. Michael Banducci – 292,600 – Banducci, who hails from Traverse City, Michigan, also has a WSOP gold bracelet win to his name, taking down a $1,000 No Limit Hold’em rebuy event in 2008 for $636,736.  has three other career WSOP final tables, including a fourth-place finish in Online Event 2 ($500 Bankroll Builder) this summer. Banducci, whose career earnings stand at $1.56 million, also has a deep WSOP Main Event run to his credit, finishing 69th in this tournament back in 2016.

3. Lawrence Chang – 280,900 – Prior to entering this tournament, Chang, who is from Austin, Texas, had just over $150,000 in career live tournament earnings. His previous best cash came in a $120 buy-in event during the 2019 Los Angeles Poker Classic, where he finished fourth for $25,650. In major events, Chang’s career-best came earlier this year, when he finished 21st in the WPT Main Tour stop in Choctaw.

4. Roman Valerstein – 273,300 – The Moldova-born, Newtown, Pennsylvania resident is no stranger to the WSOP Main Event. He’s finished in the top 100 twice in this tournament – 82nd in 2012, and 93rd in 2021. His two best career results came in the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event, where he finished fourth in 2016 and ninth in 2014. Valerstein has one major final table under his belt as well, finishing sixth in the 2015 WPT Borgata Poker Open.

5. Michael Pinto – 266,600 – Pinto, who is from The Netherlands, has never cashed in a WSOP event in Las Vegas, according to their records. He has had significant results on the European Poker Tour, however, including a final table in the 2022 EPT Barcelona Main Event, in which Pinto finished seventh for $262,612. That result makes up the bulk of Pinto’s $363,449 in career live tournament results.

Who’s Moving On, Who Isn’t

There are 2,326 players who advanced from Day 1C of the 2023 WSOP Main Event, with WPT Champions Club member Shawn Cunix (201,400) among those who bagged over 200,000 chips. Josh Arieh (181,200), Phil Laak (146,100), Stephen Chidwick (121,100), Shannon Shorr (116,500), Mike Matusow (116,200) and Alex Foxen (103,400) are a few of the many notables who had productive Day 1C performances. Soccer star Sergio Aguero, who spent the bulk of his career at Manchester City, entered late on Day 1C and bagged 85,500 for Friday. Rapper Hoodie Allen (106,500) is also on to Day 2ABC.

Previous WSOP Main Event champions Joe McKeehen (111,500), Tom McEvoy (90,400), Scott Blumstein (71,900), Ryan Riess (68,100) and Espen Jorstad (62,000) all remain in the mix as well.

In addition to Matakis, Erik Seidel, Darren Elias, Kristen Foxen, Maria Ho, Kevin Martin, Kitty Kuo, Greg Merson, and Vanessa Selbst were among the Day 1C casualties.