One hand changed everything

Atlanta’s Daniel Weinman is the new champion of the poker world, winning the 2023 World Series of Poker Main Event in a quick, two-hour final day. The Georgia Tech grad won the biggest prize in Main Event history, $12.1 million, triumphing over a field of 10,043 players, far and away the largest in the 50+ years of the Main Event.

Since changing the schedule to make the final day three- or four-handed rather than nine handed, all night affairs aren’t as common as they used to be on the concluding day of the tournament, but Monday’s contest was still quite short, lasting fewer than 50 hands.

Steven Jones entered Monday as the chip leader, holding 238 million. Weinman was second with 199 million, and Adam Walton was third with 165.5 million. With 83 big blinds, Walton was not your typical short stack, so it could have been a long night.

But it wasn’t. Though Weinman grabbed the lead fairly quickly, there wasn’t too much relative movement in the stacks. Nobody had really separated up or down. But suddenly, on Hand #140 of the final table, the 24th hand of Monday, everything changed. Jones raised to 6 million from the dealer position, Walton called, and Weinman three-bet to 27 million from the big blind.

Jones folded, but then Walton surprisingly moved all-in for 209.5 million, possibly thinking he could get Weinman to fold. But Weinman immediately called with two red Aces, way ahead of Walton’s two black 8’s. By the turn, Walton had a gut-shot straight draw, but the river bricked and he was suddenly out in third place.

Heads-up was all Weinman

Now Weinman had a gigantic lead going into heads-up, 443 million to 159.5 million. Jones made a little headway, but only maxed out at barely 50% of Weinman’s stack.

On the final hand, Jones raised to 7 million pre-flop with J-8 offsuit and Weinman called with K-J offsuit, the same suits as Jones. The flop of J-5-2 hit both players and Jones bet 6 million chips. Weinman check-raised to 18.5 million and Jones called.

A 4 on the turn brought a 38 million-chip bet from Weinman. After four minutes of thought, Jones decided to move all-in for 146 million. Weinman asked for a count, pondered his move briefly, then made the call. An Ace on the river sealed the deal and Daniel Weinman became the 2023 World Series of Poker Main Event champion.

Talking about the final hand in his post-game interview, Weinman said, “When he went in the tank for what seemed like ten minutes, it felt like genuine uncertainty at this point. I didn’t think he was trapping with a set or some kind of turned wheel, it really did feel like he had some middling pair or a weak jack and just couldn’t decide, ‘Is this the time to go?’ … I just kind of made my decision that when he took that long and jammed, that’s about where he was at.”

“….to win this Main Event, it doesn’t feel real. I mean, (there’s) so much luck in a poker tournament. I thought I played very well, but so many hands that (I got) incredibly lucky for the situations to arise.”

2023 World Series of Poker Main Event – Final Table Results

  1. Daniel Weinman – $12,100,000
  2. Steven Jones – $6,500,000
  3. Adam Walton – $4,000,00
  4. Jan-Peter Jachtmann – $3,000,000
  5. Ruslan Prydryk – $2,400,000
  6. Dean Hutchison – $1,850,000
  7. Toby Lewis – $1,425,000
  8. Juan Maceiras – $1,125,000
  9. Daniel Holzner – $900,000

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