A year ago, the World Series of Poker felt like a summer housewarming party as everyone involved was adjusting to its new home on the Strip.
Now, the WSOP is all settled in.
“This year, the theme is ‘bigger and better,’ ” WSOP vice president Jack Effel said. “We are ready for the biggest Main Event ever and the biggest series ever.”
The 54th annual WSOP begins Tuesday at Horseshoe Las Vegas and Paris Las Vegas, with the $500 buy-in Casino Employees No-limit Hold’em tournament along with the $25,000 buy-in High Roller Six Handed No-Limit Hold’em event.
The $10,000 buy-in No-limit Hold’em World Championship, known as the WSOP Main Event, begins July 3. After narrowly missing out in 2022 on the record for the largest Main Event field, officials ran numerous promotions and satellites to ensure they broke the mark this year.
In all, the schedule features 95 live bracelet events and 20 online events with buy-ins ranging from the $300 Gladiators of Poker No-limit Hold’em with a $3 million guaranteed prize pool to the $250,000 Super High Roller No-limit Hold’em tournament.
Here are five players to watch this summer at the WSOP
1. Phil Ivey
It’s always a mystery how many events he will play, or whether he even shows up at all. But few players move the needle at the WSOP the way Ivey does.
Last year, he cashed in nine events and narrowly missed out on his 11th bracelet, finishing second in the $100,000 buy-in High Roller No-limit Hold’em event. It might be fitting if this is the summer he breaks the tie for second-place on the all-time bracelet list with the late Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan.
2. Shaun Deeb
The five-time winner always performs well at the WSOP. Last summer, Deeb cashed in 18 events. He also won the $1,700 buy-in WSOP Circuit Main Event in March at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, for more than $275,000.
But it’s Deeb’s prop bet with billionaire Bill Perkins that will be the conversation starter at the tables. Deeb wagered $100,000 that he can get down to 17 percent body fat by the 2024 WSOP tournament and will win $1 million if he does.
3. Angela Jordison
The Oregon resident was one of the breakout players of the 2022 WSOP after a third-place finish in the $1,000 buy-in Freezeout No-limit Hold’em event for more than $151,000 followed by a deep run in the Main Event.
Jordison crushed the WSOP Circuit this winter. She collected her first ring on the WSOP Circuit by winning the $3,250 buy-in No-limit Hold’em High Roller at Thunder Valley Casino in Northern California, then made the $1,700 Main Event final table a day later.
4. Jeremy Becker
The Las Vegas resident has become a cult hero in the poker community recently for his astonishing run of success. Becker has won nine tournaments at Wynn Las Vegas since March 25, including five this month alone. The latest was Sunday.
Jeremy Becker continues his streak by winning Sunday’s $200 nightly for $5,292!
The Wynn Summer Classic ramps up this week, and features eight $1,100 nightly events.
— Wynn Poker Room (@WynnPoker) May 29, 2023
All of those victories came in daily events with buy-ins of $200 or $300 and against small fields. But Becker has more than $854,000 in career live tournament earnings, and it will be interesting to see whether he can continue his heater.
5. Matt Berkey
If there’s drama on poker social media, odds are Berkey will be in the middle of it. The Las Vegas resident is fresh off wiping out Nik “Airball” Arcot for more than $1 million in their heads-up grudge match at the Resorts World poker room.
Berkey has more than $1.8 million in career WSOP earnings and made one final table last year. But he is still in search of his first career WSOP bracelet.