Whether you play online casino games for fun or you’re a serious poker player, you’ll no doubt have heard about the World Series of Poker (WSOP.) Every year since 1970, many of the world’s best poker players have gathered to face off against each at this anticipated event. But why is this such an important poker tournament, and did 2023 continue to raise the bar for competitive poker events around the world?
Learn about the WSOP and why it’s such an important annual event, as well as who was skilled enough to reach the Final Table in 2023’s Main Event and the winnings they took home.
What Is WSOP?
The World Series of Poker is a major annual poker event that features several tournaments across a range of variants including Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Seven Card Stud, and 6-Handed Poker. The first event was hosted in 1970 and it has been held every year since.
Why Is WSOP So Important?
WSOP is undoubtedly the most anticipated annual poker event in the world for several reasons. Not only is it the longest-running annual poker event, but it also offers the biggest prize pool compared to any other poker tournament in the world. Thanks to this incredible prize pool, its popularity is global, drawing thousands of poker players from many countries. This also makes it one of the largest tournaments as well.
Its importance indicates the incredible level of play it fosters. Without WSOP to incentivize players to hone their skills even further, it’s unlikely that the world would have witnessed such amazing plays in poker like these almost psychic laydowns.
How Much Money Did Previous WSOP Winners Make?
The first winner of the 1970 WSOP Main Event was Johnny Moss, who walked away with $824,922 of total tournament earnings. While this may not sound that awe-inspiring today, if you factor in inflation, this works out to between $6,499,258.53 (according to USInflationCalculator.com) and $6,671,196.59 (according to the CPI Inflation Calculator from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.)
Fast forward to more recent years and (apart from 2020 which took place using an online poker format) WSOP main event winners have walked away with incredible cash prizes for their efforts. Here are the winners and prizes of the last five events pre-2023:
- (2022) Espen Jørstad: $10,000,000.
- (2021) Koray Aldemir: $8,000,000.
- (2020) Damian Salas: $1,550,969.
- (2019) Hossein Ensan: $10,000,000.
- (2018) John Cynn: $8,800,000.
The majority of these events offered their winners incredible life-changing prizes for their efforts. Was this the case for the finalists of the WSOP 2023 Main Event?
The Finalists of WSOP 2023’s Main Event and Their Prize Money
2023’s prestigious WSOP Main Event had over 10,000 entrants, breaking the 2006 WSOP Main Event’s previous record of 8,773 players, who competed for a chance to win their share of tens of millions of dollars. The WSOP X (formerly Twitter) account shared that the final total prize pool was a staggering $93,399,900 for the entire WSOP tournament. It also announced what the top nine competitors would take home, with a massive $12 million first-place prize which matched the record for the largest prize pool in WSOP history. The previous record for first place prize was also set by the 2006 Main Event.
Unfortunately for many of these final table players, a significant portion of their winnings will go towards taxes. Russ Fox, EA, of Clayton Financial and Tax of Las Vegas, shared the likely tax outcomes for each of these players in his blog “The Real Winners of the 2023 World Series of Poker.”
Here are the final competitors and their prizes (in reverse order of ranking,) as well as Fox’s estimates on what they finally took home.
9th Place: Daniel Holzner
Prize Money: $900,000
Take-home Winnings: An estimated $387,000 in taxes in Italy, resulting in a final prize of $513,000.
8th Place: Juan Maceiras
Prize Money: $1,125,000
Take-home Winnings: An estimated $528,750 in taxes in Spain, resulting in a final prize of $596,250.
7th Place: Toby Lewis
Prize Money: $1,425,000
Take-home Winnings: Amateur and professional gamblers are exempt from taxes in the United Kingdom, resulting in a final prize of $1,425,000.
6th Place: Dean Hutchison
Prize Money: $1,850,000
Take-home Winnings: Amateur and professional gamblers are exempt from taxes in the United Kingdom, resulting in a final prize of $1,850,000.
5th Place: Ruslan Prydryk
Prize Money: $2,400,000
Take-home Winnings: An estimated $456,000 in taxes in Ukraine, resulting in a final prize of $1,944,000.
4th Place: Jan-Peter Jachtmann
Prize Money: $3,000,000
Take-home Winnings: Amateur gamblers are tax-exempt in Germany, resulting in a final prize of $3,000,000.
3rd Place: Adam Walton
Prize Money: $4,000,000
Take-home Winnings: Estimated $1,557,986 in taxes, resulting in a final prize of $2,442,014.
2nd Place: Steven Jones
Prize Money: $6,500,000
Take-home Winnings: Estimated $2,364,616 in taxes, resulting in a final prize of $3,941,684.
1st Place: Daniel Weinman
Prize Money: $12,100,000
Take-home Winnings: Estimated $4,831,195 in taxes, resulting in a final prize of $6,578,028.
Toby Lewis, Dean Hutchison, and Jan-Peter Jachtmann all benefited from their country’s tax laws and got to keep every cent of their prize money, with Jachmann taking home more than third place finish Adam Walton. It seems that some poker players are truly luckier than others.
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