After weeks of previous attendance records being shattered at the 2023 WSOP, the long awaited Main Event turnout has been finalized, and as expected all summer, it was another record breaker. The final tally of players just barely broke five figures, totaling a massive 10,043 player field. Of course, this also meant a record setting prize pool for the Main Event, at $93,399,900, with one more record for the first place prize: $12,100,000. While the turnout got rave reviews, the top payout drew some criticism from many of the top pros.

Controversial Payouts

A couple of hours after the field was officially finalized, the WSOP officially announced that first place would also be setting a record, $100,000 more than the 2006 payout.

However, these payouts caused plenty of complaints from Poker Twitter, saying that the payouts were poorly distributed, with a massive pay jump between first and second, and ninth place not earning $1,000,000. Many pointed out that the 2006 Main Event paid only 10%, while this is paying 15%, so paying so much for first inevitably had a negative effect on many of the other payouts.

Two members of the OnlyFriends Poker Podcast were quick to criticize the top heavy payouts.

Former WSOP Main Event champion Chris Moneymaker, who kicked off the poker boom when he won in 2003, pleaded to the WSOP to reconsider the payouts overnight.

Meanwhile, Chance Kornuth, who has had a fantastic WSOP so far, was one of the few players who approved of the massive first-place payout.

Previous Biggest Main Events

As mentioned above, 2006 held the previous title records when it came to the Main Event. That year, amateur Jamie Gold talked and played his way through a field of 8,773 players. He earned a record breaking $12,000,000, defeating Paul Wasicka heads up. Last year’s Main event came the closest to the record, missing by just 110 entries.

YearPlayer TotalWinner1st Prize
20068,773Jamie Gold$12,000,000
20228,663Espen Jorstad$10,000,000
20198,569Hossein Ensan$10,000,000
20187,874John Cynn$8,800,000
20107,319Jonathan Duhamel$8,944,310
20177,221Scott Blumstein$8,150,000

Other Records at This WSOP

This incredible turnout in the Main is nothing new at the 2023 WSOP. Several events shattered previous attendance records, spread out over a spectrum of buy-ins, from the $1,500 Millionaire Maker, to the biggest buy-in event of the series.

$25,000 PLO High Roller – 449 players, over $10,000,000 in the prize pool.

$1,500 Millionaire Maker – 10,430 players, nearly $14,000,000, top two players each won $1,000,000.

$250,000 Super High Roller – 69 players, breaking the previous record of 56. Won by Chris Brewer for $5,300,000

$1,500 Mystery Bounty Event – 18,188, largest Mystery Bounty Event in history. Two $1,000,000 bounties, one $500,000, one $250,000

Moving Forward to Day 3

Registration officially closed earlier in the day, and with both Day 2’s in the books now, the record breaking field is down to just 3,542 players. Leading the way is controversial poker pro Maurice Hawkins with 941,000 in chips, while second place belongs to Nicholas Rigby, who made a deep run last year thanks to his wild play.

Some of the many notables still alive and well include Nick Marchington (716,000), James Obst (593,000), Patrik Antonius (584,500), Ronnie Bardah (519,000), Kathy Liebert (477,000), Stephen Chidwick (472,500), Chance Kornuth (449,500), Billy Baxter (434,000), Doug Polk (433,000), and Alex Foxen (384,000), amongst many.

The remaining players will be combining into one field for the first time today for Day 3 of the Main. The action starts at 12 PM local time, and the plan is to play down to the money by the end of the night.