WSOP Main Event: Hawkins Bags Day 2D Lead, Players Chase $12.1M

Day 2D of the World Series of Poker Main Event will always be known as the day the historic event broke through the 10,000 entries barrier for the first time. On Sunday, the survivors from Day 2ABC and Day 2D will combine into one field and begin the middle stretches of the journey towards crowing a new champion.

Lance Bradley
Jul 9, 2023
Maurice Hawkins will be in the spotlight on Day 3 after bagging the Day 2D chip lead. (Drew Amato photo)

Mission accomplished. That’s how World Series of Poker officials must feel after registration in the 2023 WSOP Main Event closed on Saturday afternoon in Las Vegas. Not only had the record for largest WSOP Main Event field been broken, but the final number of registrants eclipsed 10,000. 

Maurice Hawkins has more WSOP Circuit rings (15) than any other player but the Florida resident has never won a WSOP bracelet. What a story it would be if he was able to turn his Day 2D chip lead into his first bracelet. Hawkins, known for being aggressive and chatty at the tables, built a stack up to 941,000 and is in position to be the first person to eclipse the 1 million chip mark on Day 3. 

Sunday will mark the first time that the entire 2023 WSOP Main Event field are in action at the same time as the Day 2ABC and Day 2D survivors – all 3,542 of them – will be merged into one field with action getting underway at Noon PT. 

What We Saw on Day 2D

There were no grand entrances from 17-time bracelet winners or celebrity chefs, but there was a lot of poker being played and a late push that carried the 2023 WSOP Main Event field over 10,000 players for the first time. A number of big names joined the fray during the first two levels of Day 1D, including 2018 Main Event champ John Cynn, NFL Hall of Famer Richard Seymour, 24-year-old boxing star Ryan Garcia, Maria Konnikova, and Fedor Holz.

Holz found his way to a table that would’ve been a tough draw on Day 5 of this tournament, let alone Day 2. He joined recent $50,000 High Roller winner Jesse Lonis and Chris Hunichen, who had one of the biggest stacks in the field early in the day. Holz would not find a bag, as he’d go out midway through play on Saturday.

Kerry Welsh was the last player to walk into the Horseshoe, as entrant 10,043 of 10,043 into this record-setting WSOP Main Event field.

Phil Hellmuth started the day on the lone PokerGO streaming stage, and when the cameras on the main stage whirred to life, his table moved to the primary stage known colloquially as ‘The Mothership.’ Hellmuth’s run in the 2023 WSOP Main Event ended when he ran head-first into Nicholas ‘Dirty Diaper’ Rigby, when both players flopped two pair and Rigby got the better end of it.

It was part of a surge that drove Rigby to the top/second-biggest stack entering Day 3.

Payouts Announcement Comes With Reaction

Not long after registration closed and WSOP officials confirmed the final number of entrants, the payouts were announced. The eventual champion will take home $12.1 million, the single largest prize in WSOP Main Event history.

2023 WSOP Main Event final table payouts

  1. $12,100,000
  2. $6,500,000
  3. $4,000,000
  4. $3,000,000
  5. $2,400,000
  6. $1,850,000
  7. $1,425,000
  8. $1,125,000
  9. $900,000

The payouts were largely met with disappointment and confusion from players on social media. The $12.1 million first place prize pips the previous record of $12 million, won by Jamie Gold in 2006, by a mere $100,000. At the heart of a lot of the complaints about the payouts is the fact that in 2006 only 10% of the field finished in the money whereas this year approximately 15% will walk away with something to show for their efforts. Other were surprised to see ninth place not crack the $1 million mark.

Who Are The Day 2D Chip Leaders

  1. Maurice Hawkins – 941,000 – One of the greatest WSOP-C players of all time, Maurice Hawkins has $4.75 million in lifetime earnings. While he has 15 WSOP-C rings, the closest he has come to winning a WSOP bracelet came in 2017 when he finished sixth in the $1,500 Monster Stack event. He has only cashed in the WSOP Main Event once, finishing 271st in 2012.
  2. Nicholas Rigby – 921,500 – You undoubtedly know him as ‘The Dirty Diaper’ guy. In 2021, Rigby caught the attention of the poker world during the WSOP Main Event when he bluffed his opponent holding 2-3 offsuit. Rigby had the chip leader after Day 1D and continued to accumulate chips through Day 2D.
  3. Jeffrey Shapiro – 878,000 – Jeffrey Shapiro has just north of $26,000 lifetime earnings according to Hendon Mob and his normal buy-in level is in the $100-$300 range. The Woodstock, GA resident went from 146,000 at the end of Day 1D to the third biggest stack on Day 2D and could be in position for his first WSOP Main Event cash.
  4. Jacob Mitich – 660,000 – Jacob Mitich managed to 8X his stack on Saturday after starting the day with 88,000 chips. The El Cajon, CA native has $96,841 in lifetime earnings with almost a quarter of that coming from his victory in a $400 No Limit Hold’em event during the Potomac Winter Poker Open at MGM National Harbor in Maryland back in January.
  5. Matthew Adams – 620,000 – Matthew Adams – the one from Castle Rock, CO, not the one from England, started play on Sunday with the eighth biggest stack and basically doubled his stack to make the top five. Adams has $11,944 in lifetime earnings including five WSOP cashes, though none came in the Main Event.

Who’s Moving On, Who’s Not

With 1,662 players advancing from Day 2D, there’s a slew of big names who managed to finish the night with chips in a big. Included in that group is James Obst (593,000), 2023 Poker Hall of Fame nominee Kathy Liebert (477,000), Chance Kornuth (449,500), Sergio Aido (424,500), former NFLer Richard Seymour (375,000), Christian Harder (349,000), 2005 WSOP Main Event champion Joe Hachem (328,000), Conrad Simpson (318,000), 2003 WSOP Main Event champion Chris Moneymaker (317,000), and Chris Moorman (253,000). 

Just 48 hours removed from his grand entrance as the Greatest Showman of All Time, Phil Hellmuth made his exit from the 2023 WSOP Main Event after starting the day on the PokerGO streaming table. Hellmuth was joined on the rail by three-time WPT champion Chino Rheem, Benny Glaser, Fedor Holz, Phil Ivey, Dan Smith, Ethan Yau, and Viktor Blom.