2023 WPT World Championship: Recap of Week 1 Action

By David Huber
December 09, 2023

The 2023 WPT World Championship festival is in full swing at Wynn Las Vegas, with overall participation figures approaching record numbers. Thousands upon thousands of poker hopefuls have anted up and posted their buy-ins through the first week of event festivities. Included in those festivities were the phenomenal pair of meetup games, which — in case you missed them — we’ve got recaps for, the Premier MUG courtesy of our site founder Robbie Strazynski and the Ladies MUG recap by Christina Bradfield.

Below, we’ll recap some of the tournament action that’s taken place over week 1 of the 2023 WPT World Championship festival, including event prize pools, winners, and more.

2023 WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas

Action began Wednesday, November 29th, with the $50,000 Guaranteed, $600 buy-in Limit Omaha 8 tournament. The event was won by poker’s all-time cash leader ‘Miami’ John Cernuto – who was awarded $16,592 after coming out on top of a tough field that included more than 150 entries.

Cernuto, a bona fide poker legend who has earned over $6,000,000 in career tournament cashes, will be celebrating his 80th birthday this coming January.

With the arrival of more 2023 WPT World Championship hopefuls, action transitioned to the Encore Ballrooms at Wynn Las Vegas – where UK’s Ian Bradley took down the $10,500 buy-in NLHE 8-Max event for a cash prize of $240,625. Notably, WPT ambassador Brad Owen finished in third place in the same event, recording for himself a career-high cash of $107,800.

Not to be outdone, Italy native Michael Rossitto catapulted himself into his country’s Top 10 all-time money winner’s list with a $340,698 victory in the 2023 WPT World Championship opening tournament. The event more than 2.5Xed its $1m Guaranteed prize pool and fell just short of 5,000 total entries.

Australia’s Martin Kozlov was victorious in the $1,100 buy-in NLHE/PLO specialty event, banking $74,373 for his win over fan favorite Ben Ludlow, who took home over $50K for his runner-up finish.

Meanwhile, Michael Beck of Chicago received north of $70,000 upon taking down the $1,100 NLHE 6-Max tournament, defeating 2015 WSOP Main Event Champion Joe McKeehen heads up for the victory.

The poker world’s attention then turned to the highly competitive Seniors and Ladies events.

Lisa Costello of Las Vegas was awarded the coveted Wynn Las Vegas Ladies champion poker trophy along with her largest live tournament career cash of $85,297 late Friday night. She emerged victorious atop a star-studded field when she defeated poker vlogger Ashley Sleeth, who had been chip leader going into the final table, heads up.

The $1,100 buy-in Seniors Event also concluded late last week. Dave Larson of Las Vegas picked up a $141,385 payday for outlasting a field of more than 800 competitors aged 50 or over.

The final tournament we’re recapping here featured George Mircea Tomescu in the winners circle. The Romanian significantly elevated his career live poker tournament cash amount after battling an entire week in the $1,600 buy-in Mystery Bounty event. In all, Tomescu grabbed $63,000 in bounties to go along with his $500,202 first place prize.

2023 WPT Prime Championship is Now Underway

This year’s WPT Prime Championship has a guaranteed prize pool of $5,000,000 — and, as of press time, it’s looking like that number might be more than doubled — the guarantee has already been hit in level 1 of Day 1C!

The final table is scheduled to play out this Tuesday, December 12th. Last year’s WPT Prime Champion Stephen Song took home a whopping $712,650 for his first place finish.  This year’s winner will undoubtedly lay claim to even more money, most likely a 7-figure payday for their efforts!

2023 WPT World Championship: $40,000,000 Guaranteed

Tuesday December 12th also marks the beginning of the 2023 WPT World Championship – which boasts an incredible $40,000,000 Guaranteed prize pool!

The $10,400 buy-in No Limit Hold’em championship event will attract the biggest poker names and most skilled poker pros – and is set to conclude on Thursday, December 21st.

More 2023 WPT World Championship Updates & Results to Come

Cardplayer Lifestyle will continue to bring you more updates and results from the 2023 WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas as the action continues.

Full details of upcoming events along with satellite qualifiers can be consulted via the WPT’s official X account. The WPT has also published full schedules for all upcoming events this week on its official website, which you can find here.

Best of luck to all players who are competing this coming week at the Wynn Las Vegas!



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David Huber poker author
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David Huber

David Huber has been involved in the poker industry for close to two decades: initially as a professional online poker player and later as an editor, consultant, writer, and forum manager. Known as “dhubermex” online, David’s poker-related work has been heavily published across numerous websites since 2004.

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