World Series of Poker Kicks Off Next Week: Preview & Players to Watch

(Photo: PokerGO)

The bracelet-hunting action returns to Las Vegas beginning next week with the World World Series of Poker set for May 30 – July 18 with 95 tournaments from the Horseshoe and Paris casinos. This marks the second year the biggest festival in poker has been held right on the Vegas Strip.

The gold bracelet has become the biggest prize in poker since the series launched in 1970 and players from around the world will once again head to Sin City to take a shot at winning some big money.

Organizers are aiming for the largest series in history and that goes for the $10,000 Main Event, considered poker’s world championship. WSOP officials hope this year’s Main Event beats the record of 8,773 players after attracting 8,663 in 2022. Those attending can expect more tables and an even more varied schedule that also includes an additional 20 online events with more bracelets up for grabs.

“With the momentum generated from the WSOP’s debut on the Las Vegas Strip last year, we expect a record-breaking WSOP and World Championship (Main Event) at Paris and Horseshoe Las Vegas in 2023,” WSOP Senior Vice President Ty Stewart said. “If the Main Event is on your bucket list, this is the year to get to Vegas.”

Some Highlights from This Year’s Series

The WSOP has greatly expanded the live and online qualifying action for this year’s Main Event in hopes of setting a new record. Casinos around the world have been holding satellites, along with and GGPoker online.

The “Main Event for Life” promotion has been a nice addition to this year’s tournament as well. If the tournament breaks the record, everyone in the field is entered into a drawing on July 8. The winner scores a non-transferrable Main Event entry for the next 30 years.

Beyond the Main Event, players can expect the largest space ever for the series with 608 tables and 200,000 square feet of playing area in the casinos’ convention centers. Tournament buy-ins range from $300 to $250,000, giving players of all bankrolls a shot at some WSOP glory. Cash games will run 24/7 and the WSOP is unveiling a new permanent Hall of Fame Poker Room. Much of the action will be shown live on PokerGO, the PokerGO YouTube channel, and CBS Sports Network.

The Tournament of Champions is also back again, running May 31– June 2. The $1 million freeroll is an exclusive event for all live or online bracelet and WSOP Circuit championship ring winners from July 20, 2022, to May 22, 2023. The $1,000 Mystery Millions is another major highlight, offering a top bounty of $1 million.

For a complete WSOP schedule, click here. For a complete WSOP streaming schedule from PokerGO, click here.

American Players to Watch at the WSOP

When the action kicks off, here are a few players to watch when the cards get in the air.

  • Phil Hellmuth – The 16-time bracelet winner and 1989 Main Event champion will be back in force. He scored a win and a runner-up in 2021 and then followed that up with another runner-up in 2022. In March, the “Poker Brat” grabbed a win in the U.S Poker Open for $211,200.
  • Dan Cates – After winning the $50,000 Poker Players Championship in 2021 and 2022, “Jungleman” will be looking to make it three in a row. He even recently offered to take bets on Twitter at odds of 37.5 to 1 that he could complete the trifecta. Cates has only four WSOP chases but those two wins total $2.4 million.
  • David Peters – He’s won bracelets each of the last three years for just under $2 million and has $42.7 million in live tournament winnings. Fresh off a World Poker Tour Super High Roller win for $328,527, he should be in top form again.
  • Dan Zack – After scoring two titles in 2022, this New Jersey online grinder will be looking for more. Along with the wins, Zack collected third- and eighth-place finishes as well to earn WSOP Player of the Year honors. Look for the big grind to keep going this summer.
  • Jeremy Ausmus – This has been one of the hottest players in the game over the last few years with big wins on poker’s biggest stages. That included the WSOP with two wins in 2022 (one live and one online). That followed two bracelets in 2021 for more than $1.2 million. He now has five bracelets and will be looking for more.
  • Phil Ivey – The 10-time bracelet winner and poker legend has been more active at the series in recent years. His last bracelet came in 2014 but don’t rule out Ivey finding the winner’s circle again this year. He remains one of the best players in the world.

Sean Chaffin is a longtime freelance writer, editor, and former high school journalism teacher.