Two decades ago, one of the biggest reasons for the poker boom was the idea that anyone could land a significant win in a tournament and change their life forever. This year, the 2023 WSOP reminded us that that dream can still come true with the Gladiators of Poker event.
The $300 tournament was the cheapest-ever live bracelet event, and it naturally attracted a massive field of 23,088 entries. It took several days to get through all of them, but by the time it was all said and done, it was one Jason Simon holding all the chips in play and pocketing $499,852 for his impressive run.
The Gladiators of Poker was not just the most extensive field of the 2023 WSOP so far. It also turned out to be the second-largest live tournament in the history of poker, eclipsed only by 2019’s Big 50 bracelet event.
- Up to $100 in free play with first deposit
- Top-quality software
- Compete for WSOP bracelets & rings
A Tournament for Poker History Books
When the World Series of Poker first announced the $300 Gladiators of Poker event, there was no doubt that the event would result in a huge turnout. However, the final tally surprised everyone, the organizers included.
Over the four starting flights, the tournament generated 23,088 entries, resulting in a jaw-dropping prize pool of almost $5.7 million. This is an impressive number for any event, but for a tournament with a buy-in of just $300, it is simply mind-boggling.
It was one of the few tournaments on this year’s WSOP schedule accessible to all players, and the massive field reflected that fact quite well. While it primarily consisted of amateur players and those looking to take a cheap shot at the bracelet, it also featured some big-name pros.
The poker legend Daniel Negreanu had quite a run at it, surviving the initial ordeal and bagging a solid stack for Day 2. The GGPoker app ambassador failed to survive the day, but he gave it a good go and enjoyed his time on the felt.
Living the Poker Dream
The tournament may have been fun and games for Negreanu, but it was a huge deal for those who managed to make their way to the final table. The top prize was just shy of half a million dollars, and making it into the top five events with a five-figure score, so there was a lot to fight for on top of the pride that comes with winning a WSOP bracelet.
Eventually, the massive tournament field trickled down to just two players — Eric Trexler and Jason Simon, both hailing from the United States.
Simon entered the final skirmish as a significant chip leader and never gave Trexler a chance to catch up. It was all over rather quickly as Simon made a good call after Eric had moved all in from the button, and his King-high held up through all five cards.
- Full 2023 WSOP coverage
- 100s of hours of on-demand poker content
- Exclusive offer to pokerfuse readers
- Watch PokerGo on your PC, tablet, TV, or phone
What is interesting about the winner is that he rarely plays No-Limit Hold’em. Jason prefers Mixed games, and this is not just his first WSOP bracelet but also his biggest tournament score by far. His lifetime winnings now stand at just under $700,000.
Simon may not be a No-Limit Hold’em expert. Still, he navigated his way through the final table well, keeping his cool during rough stretches and eventually coming up on top to become the first WSOP “Gladiator” of poker.
There is much more action to come, and we are confident there will be many more inspiring stories to tell before the Series is done and dusted. If you want to keep up with the action in real-time, make sure to subscribe to PokerGO and enjoy the unparalleled 2023 WSOP coverage every day.