Less than 1.5 percent of the players who registered for the 2023 World Series of Poker Main Event are still in the running for the title, the $12.1 million first-place payout and the oversized WSOP bracelet. And even though there are only 149 players out of the 10,043 who entered, there are still three full days of poker separating the lucky nine who will eventually lock in their place in history.
That’s not to say there wasn’t a lot of work done towards reaching that goal on Tuesday. Just under two-thirds of the 441 players fell by the wayside over the course of Day 5, and it’s a certainty that Day 6 will be just as unforgiving for the unfortunate players who see their Main Event dreams evaporate on Wednesday.
On the plus side, the minimum payout has nearly doubled day over day; 441st place finisher Jason Koon received $37,500, while the next 50 players who go out will get $67,700 for their efforts.
There’s a lot to look forward to on Day 6, but before we dig into what’s yet to come, let’s take a look back at a truly wild day of poker.
What We Saw on Day 5
It’s rare that you get two different hands that could go down among the all-timers in a single day, and yet that’s what we got on the featured tables over the course of Day 5.
The first such hand featured a three-way all in, where Bill Klein’s pocket kings faced Stuart Taylor’s pocket aces and Ryan Brown’s . While Klein jumped way ahead on a king-high flop, the runout would be one for the ages.
Brown got the unlikeliest of triple ups, and would go on to bag a top-20 stack heading into Day 6. Spencer Taylor was immediately eliminated in 374th with his pocket aces ending up third-best. Klein, a regular presence in high roller tournaments and live streamed cash games including Hustler Casino Live, fought back valiantly and chipped up for a time. But his run in this tournament would also come to an end on Day 5, in 279th place.
The second hand, unbelievably, had even more of a viral appeal. Rather than spoil the action, we’ll let you follow along as it happens.
The bluff that Daniel Vampan pulled off with eight-high against Toby Lewis’ ace-high flush will likely go down as one of the most memorable hands of this WSOP Main Event. For the time being, both players are still in the hunt; Vampan in 38th (5.4 million) and Lewis in 64th (4.275 million).
Japanese vlogger Masato Yokosawa spoke about chasing honor and how much his fans and subscribers motivate him. His WSOP Main Event dreams carry on into Day 6.
Jeremy Becker, who went on an incredible tear in winning an improbable sting of daily tournaments at Wynn Las Vegas and throughout town, also reached Day 5 of the tournament. Daniel Negreanu picked up on Becker’s story and he and Josh Arieh helped back Becker over the course of the 2023 WSOP. Unfortunately, Becker couldn’t carry over his magic any longer in this tournament, and went out 306th for a career-best cash of $44,700.
Who’s Moving On, Who’s Not
Of the 149 players left in the hunt for the 2023 WSOP Main Event, two women look to make history and join Barbara Enright as the only women ever to make the WSOP Main Event final table. Nikita Luther of India and Estelle Cohuet of France are both well within striking distance, in 58th and 79th, respectively.
WPT Commentator Tony Dunst finished the night in seventh place with 8.285 million. His previous best finish in the WSOP Main Event came in 2010, when he finished 50th; that was also Dunst’s most recent WSOP Main Event cash prior to this year.
2010 WSOP Main Event runner-up John Racener bagged 7,670,000, good for 13th place overall. Ryan Tosoc, who held the chip lead after Day 5, is just behind in 15th with 7,625,000.
15-time WSOP Circuit Ring winner Maurice Hawkins (6,145,000), WPT Champions Club member Andrey Pateychuk (5,965,000), Amit Makhija (6,045,000), Daniel Weinman (5,340,000), Sam Stein (4,450,000), Alec Torelli (3,600,000), Nate Silver (2,130,000), Sean Troha (2,125,000) and John Duthie (1,510,000) are still in the hunt as well.
Tuesday started with Jason Koon going out first, and the eliminations were fast and furious from there. The last two former WSOP Main Event champions went out back-to-back, as Chris Moneymaker (404th) and Joe Hachem (403rd) fell short of repeat performances, taking home $40,000. Pre-tournament sleeper Giorgii Skhulukhiia (392nd), Phillip Hui (381st), Niall Farrell (378th) and Jake Bazeley (371st) also 4x’d their buy-ins.
Amanda Botfeld (341st), Micha Raskin (326th), James Obst (324th), Darryll Fish (323rd), Kyna Englad (322nd), Chance Kornuth (302nd) and Jason Somerville (289th) each bumped it up to $44,700. NFL Hall of Famer Richard Seymour (285th) and Jeff Gross (261st) hit $50,900. Faraz Jaka (219th), Jesse Lonis (209th), Huy Nguyen (198th), Nick Marchington (184th), Michael Duek (178th), Davidi Kitai (170th) and WPT Ambassador Andrew Neme (164th) each got another pay bump, to $58,500. Another WPT Champions Club member, Matt Salsberg (160th), managed to last just long enough to get the final jump of the night, to $67,700.
Who are the Day 5 Chip Leaders?
1. Zachary Hall – 16,130,000 – While we failed to lock down a single tournament result for Hall, who’s from Massachusetts, we do know one key fact thanks to a Tweet. Ethan ‘Rampage’ Yau, who is in the mix heading into Day 2 of the EveryOne for One Drop event right now at Wynn Las Vegas, sent out a Tweet that identified Hall as his early poker “mentor” when Yau was first starting off and playing $1/3 cash games.
2. Bryan Obregon – 12,295,000 – Obregon, who is from San Antonio, Texas, has $104,531 in lifetime live cashes. The bulk of that comes from winning a $600 MonsterStack event at The Venetian back in November 2021 for $67,230. He’s already locked up a bigger cash than that in the 2023 WSOP Main Event, and he’s positioned well to chase a considerably higher dollar amount in the days to come.
3. Liran Betito – 11,140,000 – Betito, who is from Israel, is no stranger to cutting through big fields at the WSOP. In 2019, Betito final tabled the $1,000 Little One for One Drop event and finished fourth for $236,151, a career-best. Betito also final tabled an $800 Deep Stack bracelet event in 2022, finishing ninth. His total career tournament earnings stand at $605,321.
4. Andrew Hulme – 11,065,000 – Hulme, an English pro, has accumulated a plethora of final tables and results throughout Europe on a variety of different tours. He’s less than a year out from his career best in a €2,200 Eureka Poke Tour Prague High Roller, finishing fourth for $167,864. With $1,676,908 in total tournament winnings, Hulme stands out as the most experienced and accomplished player among this top five.
5. Joshua Payne – 9,850,000 – Payne has only logged four career tournament cashes, according to The Hendon Mob, but one of them came just last year in the 2022 WSOP Main Event. That $25,500 cash makes up almost the entirety of Payne’s lifetime earnings, but Payne’s second straight run in this tournament is already guaranteed to multiply that total at least a few times over.