Daniel Weinman is the new World Champion of Poker. On Monday, Weinman defeated Steven Jones to win the 2023 World Series of Poker Main Event. The 2023 Main Event was the largest in history, with 10,043 entrants. Weinman went on the run of a lifetime to win his first bracelet and $10.1 million.

However, how many people actually witnessed his win live? PokerGo decided to put the Main Event and the final table behind a paywall, forcing fans to pay at least $15 to watch the event. While some feel this is OK, there are better ways to attract new players to the game.

Weinman Wins Largest Main Event in History But Barely Sets a New Prize Record

The 2023 World Series of Poker was setting records long before the Main Event, with many events drawing record fields. Unsurprisingly, the Main Event set a new all-time record of 10,043 players.

You’d think that a field of 10,043 players would create a first-place prize that would easily eclipse the $10 million won by Jamie Gold in 2006. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Since the WSOP now pays a larger portion of the field, the first-place prize was just $10.1 million.

The flatter structure drew much criticism this year, especially after discovering that 9th place would only get $900,000. In 2006, Dan Nassif finished 9th and won $1.56 million. Seventh through ninth place in 2023 made less than Nassif.

Heading into the final table, the two big names remaining in the field were UK Pro Toby Lewis and German WSOP bracelet winner Jan-Peter Jachtmann. Lewis started the final table as the short stack but managed to ladder up to 7th place. Jachtmann ultimately finished in fourth place.

Monday’s final was an all-American affair between Adam Walton, Steven Jones, and Daniel Weinman. Walton started the final day as the chip leader, but hyper-aggressive play resulted in him finishing in third. He busted when he shoved pocket eights into the pocket aces of Weinman.

Weinman started heads-up play with a 2 to 1 chip lead and never relented. Jones shoved with top pair in the final hand, but Weinman had the same pair with a better kicker. The kicker proved enough to win Weinman the 2023 WSOP Main Event.

Following his win, Weinman said he might invest his Main Event earnings. While not the most exciting answer, his $10.1 million could grow into generational wealth with the right investment strategies.

Would YOU Pay to Watch the Main Event?

If you wanted to watch the 2023 WSOP Main Event final table, your only option was to do so through PokerGo. The largest Main Event final table in history was placed behind a paywall that required players to sign up for at least a month’s subscription ($15).

The decision to put the Main Event behind a paywall drew much criticism. Chess pro and poker player Alexandra Botez spoke out on the paywall and called it shortsighted, and which could lead to a decrease in poker’s relevance.

Imagine having to pay money to watch Kansas City play the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII. Would you have paid to watch it? How many of you were introduced to poker via TV on ESPN or The Travel Channel? Would you have paid a fee only to watch poker shows? We’re guessing you wouldn’t have.

Some people argue that true fans will pay to watch their favourite events. If this is the case, why haven’t the NFL, Major League Baseball, the NBA, or FIFA placed thir world championship events behind paywalls?

The reason is simple. Major sports don’t rely exclusively on diehard fans. They know that putting major events behind a paywall will drastically reduce viewership and fan participation. Many people who follow sports are casual fans unwilling or unable to pay extra to watch major events. Free broadcasts of events like the Super Bowl or World Cup guarantee these fans stay engaged.

The WSOP Needs the Exposure MORE Than They Need a Paywall

The World Series of Poker is not the Super Bowl. It is not on the same level in terms of presentation, pageantry, or star power. For example, if two wild card teams made the Super Bowl, many people would still tune in to the game for the Halftime Show, the commercials, and to see if the game is competitive.

The WSOP can’t claim the same. Often, the final table is full of lesser-known or unknown players. If the final table consistently features the top players in the world like Daniel Negreanu or Phil Ivey, then more people would be willing to pay to watch. As it stands, it is often hard to keep casual fans engaged on free TV, much less on a paywall.

It will be interesting to see the report on the number of views for the final table broadcast and if PokerGo decides to do the same in 2024. If they want to draw more players to the game, they will make the event free to the public.


Ian Thompson

Poker Expert and Gaming Guru

Ian Thompson, a poker fanatic from his college days, has evolved into a respected connoisseur and writer in the online casino community. At Gamble Online Australia, Ian shares his deep understanding of game strategy and psychology, enriching readers with expert tips and insights.

His self-taught expertise and years of experience make his contributions not just informative but also essential for anyone serious about mastering any casino game.

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