2023 WSOP Day 1: Doyle Brunson Honored; Rezaei Leads $25K High Roller 31 May

The first day of the 2023 World Series of Poker at the Horseshoe Las Vegas and the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino will be one that many players remember and not for reasons one might expect.
Those in attendance witnessed WSOP Vice President Jack Effel conduct a heartfelt opening ceremony with all players and staff observing a moment of silence for the Godfather of Poker and two-time WSOP Main Event champion Doyle Brunson who recently passed away at 89 years old.
“As we get another WSOP underway, we’re reminded how indebted we are to the colossal impact Doyle had on the WSOP and the game of poker itself,” said Effel. “Doyle was the sport’s biggest ambassador who helped bring poker to the mainstream. He is a legend that we had the honor to work alongside for more than 50 years. We owe so much to Doyle and look forward to setting records this summer as a special tribute to his legacy.”

Meanwhile, Benson Tam bagged the overnight chip lead in the $500 Casino Employees event, while Daniel Rezaei heads into the second day of Event #2: $25,000 High Roller Six Handed No-Limit Hold’em.

Benson Tam Leads Event #1: $500 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold’em

Signs are looking good that the 2023 WSOP will be the biggest in the festival’s illustrious 54-year history. The $500 Casino Employees Event kicked off the WSOP as usual and players came out in droves with 1,015 entries generating a $426,300 prize pool. This eclipsed the same event last year won by Katie Kopp for $65,168 after navigating through a field of 832 entries.
The top 153 players are slated to receive at least a $801 min-cash but the field was trimmed down way past the money bubble with 89 players bagging chips for at least a $1,047 payout after the opening day played out 17 blind levels of 40 minutes each.
According to WSOP, Bensom Tam snagged the chip lead midway through the opening day and never looked back. Jesse Fullen had a strong end of the day and will begin the second and final day just inches behind Tam with his eyes on the bracelet and the $75,535 top prize. Lisa Eckstein, Zaen Qatan, and James Urbanic round out the top five players.
Meanwhile, Chad Holloway is the only player remaining in the field that has previously won a WSOP bracelet after winning this very event 10 years ago and has some hope alive for a second bracelet with 21 big blinds.
The final day will feature the same 40-minute blind structure as the opening day with the action resuming at 10 a.m. Here is a look at the top 10 chip counts.

Place Player Country Chips Big Blinds
1 Benson Tam United States 889,000 89
2 Jesse Fullen United States 861,000 86
3 Lisa Eckstein United States 775,000 78
4 Zaen Qatan United States 773,000 77
5 James Urbanic United States 618,000 62
6 John Vournas United States 613,000 61
7 Burcu Dagli United States 583,000 58
8 Joshua Honegger United States 529,000 53
9 Joshua Brodsky United States 527,000 53
10 Sandra Faabeng United States 499,000 50

Daniel Rezaei Leads the $25K High Roller Six-Max

While the $500 Casino Employees Event featured one of the smaller buy-ins and was only available to a select group of players, the second event of the day was on the opposite end of the spectrum with big names turning out for Event #2: $25,000 High Roller Six-Max No-Limit Hold’em.
The event already attracted 187 entries during the eight one-hour levels featured on the first of three days with a few more to come with late registration open until the start of Day 2 at noon.
Daniel Rezaei heads into the second day on top of the 58 opening day survivors with the chip lead. He still has a long way to go to win his first WSOP bracelet with many big names close on his tail including Justin Liberto, Brek Schutten, Sean Winter, and Brock Wilson also bagging big stacks. Six-time WSOP champion Daniel Negreanu, 16-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth, and 2022 WSOP Main Event champion Espen Jorstad are also still in contention.
Day 2 will feature eight more blind levels of an hour each with plans for the payouts to be announced shortly after the penultimate day begins. Those surviving today will battle it out for one more day until the bracelet is crowned.

Place Player Country Chips Big Blinds
1 Daniel Rezaei Austria 1,368,000 137
2 Justin Liberto United States 1,147,000 115
3 Brek Schutten United States 1,050,000 105
4 Sean Winter United States 1,047,000 105
5 Brock Wilson United States 1,009,000 101
6 Keith Lehr United States 997,000 100
7 Bin Weng United States 975,000 98
8 Christopher Brewer United States 899,000 90
9 Bill Klein United States 888,000 89
10 Samuel Laskowitz United States 790,000 79

May 31, 2023 WSOP Schedule

Three new events kick off on May 31 in addition to the two ongoing events that began on May 30. Event #3: $1,000 Mystery Millions No-Limit Hold’em will boast its first of four opening flights at noon while mixed game players will battle it out in the first of three days in Event #5: $1,500 Dealers Choice 6-Handed at 2 p.m.
Players that have previously won a WSOP bracelet or 2022/2023 WSOP Circuit gold ring will enjoy some added value today as Event #4: Tournament of Champions is an invite-only affair with no buy-in attached.
Below is a look at today’s schedule while head to yesterday’s WSOP article to check out the full schedule of the 2023 World Series of Poker.

Time Event Info
10 a.m. Event #1: $500 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold'em Day 2 of 2
10 a.m. Event #3: $1,000 Mystery Millions - No-Limit Hold'em - Flight A Day 1 of 3
12 p.m. Event #2: $25,000 High Roller Six Handed No-Limit Hold'em Day 2 of 3
12 p.m. Event #4: Tournament of Champions Day 1 of 3
2 p.m. Event #5: $1,500 Dealers Choice 6-Handed Day 1 of 3

Images courtesy of WSOP/PokerNews.
Article by Jason Glatzer
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