2023 WSOP Main Event Day 1D: Chris Moneymaker delivers heartfelt speech, Phil Hellmuth, Dan Cates roar; past record breached; 18 champions into Day 2


It took a year of aggressive preparation and it paid off as the 54th Annual World Series of Poker $10,000 No Limit Hold’em World Championship aka 2023 WSOP Main Event breached the long-standing 2006 turnout of 8,773 players.

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Chris Moneymaker and Gene Calden

Before the announcement was made, 2003 champion Chris Moneymaker delivered a heartfelt welcome speech comparing the past to the present,

“It’s an honor to be here, it’s a really special event. To be here 20 years later to kick off this event. What many people don’t realize is that 20 years ago poker was a dying game. They were shutting down poker rooms throughout the country. It was hard to find a game. You wouldn’t have tournaments you could go to at anytime and anywhere you wanted to. It was really hard to find a place to play.

The landscape now, you could play just about anywhere in the world. So many different opportunities, so many ways you could play this game, and also, the amount of people playing is just phenomenal, the diversity of players compared to back then when the game got smaller because people were dying off. Just a bunch of old guys sitting around playing, very few women. Now we have tons of women in the field today, a lot of people from a lot of different professions, it is a well respected game and a growing game. I am so happy to be a part of it.”

With that, Moneymaker passed the mic to his friend, Gene Calden, the oldest player  to attend the Main Event who gave the customary call “Shuffle up and deal!”. Funnily, at a 100-years old, the automated registration also recognized Calden as the youngest player at age zero.

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Horseshoe Casino Las Vegas Ballroom

Within the first 45 minutes of Level 1, WSOP Executive Director, Ty Stewart, announced that the previous record had officially been eclipsed. The exact number would be revealed at the end of registration on Saturday, July 8, 2023. At the end of Day 1D, it was near the 10,000 mark.

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Purple section at Paris Las Vegas

As it happens nearly every year, WSOP bracelet record holder Phil Hellmuth came out in costume and brought the entire entourage. To the tune of Katy Perry’s “Roar”, Hellmuth waltzed in as “The Greatest Showman” pulling a caged lion, Dan “Jungleman” Cates, and 17 models at their tail to boast of his incredible 17 WSOP bracelets.

Hellmuth was then whisked off to the feature table where he was planted for the rest of the day. He did change to his usual attire and chatted up his tablemates until bagging time. Hellmuth advanced to Day 2 with 105,800 (132 bb). Cates was not so fortunate.

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Also closing the day with chips were past Main Event champions Moneymaker (179 bb),  Joe Hachem (156 bb), Qui Nguyen (156 bb), Phil Ivey (98 bb), John Juanda (72 bb), and Scotty Nguyen (10 bb).

WSOP Main Event champions into Day 2

Champion Stack BB
Johnny Chan 218,000 273
Greg Raymer 201,400 252
Jamie Gold 163,500 204
Martin Jacobson 154,600 193
Chris Moneymaker 143,100 179
Joe Hachem 125,300 157
Qui Nguyen 124,800 156
Joe Cada 115,100 144
Joe McKeehen 111,500 139
Phil Hellmuth 105,800 132
Tom McEvoy 90,400 113
Phil Ivey 78,300 98
Scott Blumstein 71,900 90
Ryan Riess 68,100 85
Espen Jorstad 62,000 78
John Juanda 58,100 73
Damian Salas 56,200 70
Scotty Nguyen 8,400 11

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Tricia David

Tricia David has long experience as a recreational poker player and has been covering poker events since 2010 for numerous outfits in Asia. She spent one year working part time with Poker Portal Asia then became editor and lead writer for all event coverage of the Philippine Poker Tour (PPT). Under the PPT, she overlooked content for their website, and produced live updates on all their events. In addition, she served as the live and online events website content writer for the Asian Poker Tour. Currently, she does live events reporting in Asia for online news site Somuchpoker and is also one of their news contributors.

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