Peter Thai Wins First Bracelet of the 2023 WSOP: Event #1: $500 Casino Employees ($75,535)
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The first tournament of the 2023 World Series of Poker has come to an end, and the first gold bracelet of the series was held up high today by Peter Thai. Thai stood tall at the end of Event #1: $500 Casino Employees Event No-Limit Hold’em after he defeated James Urbanic ($46,690) in heads-up play.
A total of 1,015 entries turned out and generated a prize pool of $426,300.
Paul Blanchette finished in third, while Bruce Jiang was fourth and Day 1 chip leader Benson Tam bowed out in fifth place after a double elimination that propelled Thai to the top of the chip counts.
This was the third largest Casino Employees Event in the history of the WSOP and an excellent indicator that this summer will be one of the biggest yet.
Event #1: $500 Casino Employees Final Table Results
|1||Peter Thai||United States||$75,535|
|2||James Urbanic||United States||$46,690|
|3||Paul Blanchette||United States||$33,051|
|4||Bruce Jiang||United States||$23,738|
|5||Benson Tam||United States||$17,303|
|7||Keith McCormack||United States||$9,617|
|8||Joe Pavan||United States||$7,337|
|9||Lisa Eckstein||United States||$5,686|
"I never expected to win," Thai said in his post-win interview with PokerNews. "I came here just wanting to have fun and one thing led to another. It was an unforgettable experience.
Thai's path wasn't easy. He entered the table among the chip leaders, but he found a lot of adversity on his path to his gold bracelet.
"I went through a tough final table. I doubled up several people, and it was kind of ridiculous."
Home is in California, where Thai is a table games dealer at Parkwest 580 in Livermore.
"I’m an avid poker player. I don’t play that often, but I still know how to play. I play more cash games than tournaments. I have a lot of tournament experience, mostly from playing a lot of online sit and gos from my college days."
Thai is headed back to California after the big win, but he plans to return later in the WSOP to play more events.
"Overall, the experience is unbelievable and I can’t wait to share this with everyone back home."
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Day 2 Highlights
Other notables who made Day 2 of this event included PokerNews’ own Chad Holloway and Jesse Fullen, who both fell short of the final two tables but logged their first cash in the series, nonetheless.
Thai started Day 2 with 391,000 chips, enough for 19th place, but he battled his way through the field and got his hands on all 23,000,000 chips in play. His reward for achieving that goal? A coveted gold WSOP bracelet and the top prize of $75,535.
Lisa Eckstein was the first casualty of the final table, bowing out in ninth place after Tam put her at risk with his queen-jack and caught up to her pocket tens. Joe Pavan hit the rail next after he got it in with pocket sixes and lost when Jiang rivered a set of fours.
Seven-handed play went on for some time as the action tightened up, but eventually, it was Keith McCormack who was out in seventh when his ace-queen couldn't beat Jiang's pocket fives. Sean Balfour was next in sixth after Blanchette beat his ace-six with pocket tens.
The slow pace of the final table evaporated quickly in the endgame with the double-knockout of Tam and Jiang. Tam shoved with a suited jack-nine, but Jiang had pocket queens, and Thai had pocket kings. Thai held on to knock both players out and send the tournament to three-handed play.
Blanchette was out quickly in third when his suited eight-nine couldn't beat Thai's flopped pair of kings. Urbanic was the last obstacle for Thai, and the big moment came when Thai held on with king-ten to beat a short-stacked shove with queen-seven.
That wraps up coverage of the opening event of the 2023 WSOP, but be sure to keep it tuned to PokerNews for live updates from the floor of your favorite events throughout the summer.
Las Vegas-based PokerNews Live Reporting Executive, originally from Chicago, IL
In this Series
- 1 Peter Thai Wins First Bracelet of the 2023 WSOP: Event #1: $500 Casino Employees ($75,535)
- 2 Alexandre Vuilleumier Captures 2023 WSOP Event #2: $25K High Roller Title
- 3 Cody "1eggadaymike" Bell Wins WSOP Bracelet and $87,665 in the Triple Treys Summer Tip Off
- 4 Michael Moncek Wins Event #6: $5,000 Mixed No-Limit Hold'em/Pot-Limit Omaha for $534,499
- 5 Chad Eveslage Steamrolls to Second WSOP Bracelet in Event #5: $1,500 Dealer's Choice (6-Handed) ($131,879)
- 6 Ronnie Day Reigns Supreme in Event #4: Tournament of Champions ($200,000)
- 7 Vadim Shlez Takes Down Event #7: $1,500 Limit Hold’em For $146,835
- 8 Chanracy Khun Wins Event #8: $25,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold'em Championship
- 9 Nick Schulman Wins Event #9: Seven Card Stud For Fourth WSOP Bracelet ($110,800)
- 10 Ian "IanMa" Matakis Wins Online Event #2: $500 No-Limit Hold'em Bankroll Builder for $120,686
- 11 Ryan "dna2rna" Hughes Wins Third Bracelet, Defeats Shaun "fortnite" Deeb in Online Battle
- 12 Tyler Brown Crowned Champion of Event #3: $1,000 Mystery Millions ($1,000,000)
- 13 Kenneth O’Donnell Wins Event #11: $600 No-Limit Hold’em Deepstack For $351,098
- 14 The Chosen One: Chad Eveslage Wins Third Bracelet in the $10,000 Dealer's Choice Championship
- 15 Estes Nabs Second WSOP MI Online Bracelet; Kershaw Victorious in First PA Event
- 16 Joseph Altomonte Returns to Poker With a Bang; Rakes in $217,102 and a WSOP Bracelet
- 17 Jeremy Eyer Defeats Felipe Ramos in Gruelling Heads Up Duel for $5K Freezeout Title ($649,550)
- 18 Danny "jackdaniels1" Wong Finally Bags WSOP Bracelet After 13 Hour Day
- 19 Isaac Haxton Removes Name from "Best Without a Bracelet" List w/ $25K High Roller Win
- 20 Brian Yoon Wins 5th WSOP Bracelet in $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship
- 21 Brazil Out in Force for Reis' First Bracelet in $1,500 6-Handed No-Limit Hold'em
- 22 Three Isn't a Crowd for Jim Collopy Who Wins His Third WSOP Bracelet
- 23 Valentino Konakchiev Denies Andres Korn a Second Bracelet in $2.5K NLHE Freezeout
- 24 Michael Rodrigues Becomes First Badugi Champion in Event #20: $1,500 Badugi
- 25 Stephen Nahm Toasts To His Victory in Event #21: $1k Pot-Limit Omaha
- 26 Fifth Bracelet for Josh Arieh in Event #22: $10,000 Limit Hold'em Championship for $316,226
- 27 Leon Sturm Bests Bill Klein in Event #23: $50,000 High Roller ($1,546,024)
- 28 Two Big Bets and a Chair - David “ODB” Baker Fights Back from the Felt to Win His Third Bracelet
- 29 Jason Simon Becomes WSOP's First Gladiator of Poker for $499,852
- 30 Renji Mao’s Deepstack Aggression Earns Him First WSOP Bracelet ($402,588)
- 31 Belyalovsky Defeats 2020 WSOP Online Domestic Main Event Champion Hebert
- 32 12 Year Drought Ends: Ben Lamb Runs "Hotter Than the Sun" to Win 2nd WSOP Gold Bracelet
- 33 Six is Sweet For Shaun Deeb in Event #27: $1,500 Eight Game Mix
- 34 Jans Arends Tops Star-Studded Final Table to Win $100K High Roller for $2,576,729
- 35 Benjamin Ector Busts Seven Straight to Win Event #28: $1,500 NLH Freezeout ($406,403)
- 36 Houston Firefighter Scott Dulaney Extinguishes the Opposition in Event #31 of 2023 WSOP
- 37 Cash Game Specialist Mark Ioli Wins First WSOP Bracelet for $558,266
- 38 John Monnette Joins Five-Timers Club With $1,500 Triple Draw WSOP Title
- 39 Sean Troha Wins 2nd WSOP Bracelet; Takes Down Event #34: $1,500 PLO for $298,192
- 40 “It’s Gonna Be Tough for You” Says Jerry Wong on Way to Winning 1st WSOP Bracelet
- 41 Chris Klodnicki Returns to WSOP, Wins $10,000 NLH Secret Bounty for 2nd Career Bracelet
- 42 Ryutaro Suzuki Becomes Japan's Mixed-Game Master in Event #36: $3,000 Nine Game Mix
- 43 Yuan Li Adds Name to List of 2023 WSOP Bracelet Winners after $2K NLHE Triumph ($524,777)
- 44 Benny Glaser Joins Five-Timers Club with Win in Event #38: $10K 2-7 Triple Draw Championship
- 45 Morgan Magee & Josh Dempsey Lay Claim to WSOP Online Bracelets in MI & PA
- 46 "suited_h13" Last One Standing in WSOP Online Event #6: $500 No-Limit Hold'em Turbo ($134,527)
- 47 Chris Brewer Wins $250k Super High Roller and First Bracelet ($5,293,556)
- 48 Joe "jimjam01" Serock Wins 2023 WSOP Online Event #7: $500 PLO 6-Max ($93,911)
- 49 "I've Got It!" Qiang Xu Wins First Bracelet in $800 Deepstack ($339,033)
- 50 Scott Abrams Becomes Inaugural Big O Champion for $315,203
- 51 Braxton Dunaway Wins Monster Stack for $1,162,681; Now Headed to Son’s College World Series
- 52 Jeremy “ChipChecka” Ausmus Claims Sixth Bracelet in Online Event #8: $3,200 No-Limit Hold’em
- 53 Jay Lockett Turns $500 into $262,526 and a Bracelet at the 2023 WSOP
- 54 Braxton Dunaway Wins Monster Stack for $1,162,681; Now Headed to Son’s College World Series
- 55 William Leffingwell Brings A Bracelet Home to Houston a Week After His Friend Did the Same!
- 56 Pengfei Wang Plays First Tournament Ever; Wins $270,700 in Event #49: $1,500 Super Turbo Bounty
- 57 Brian Rast Wins $50,000 Poker Players Championship For the Third Time ($1,324,747)
- 58 Yang Zhang Captures 2023 WSOP $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em Title ($717,879)
- 59 Yuri Dzivielevski Wins Third Bracelet and $207,678 in Event #47: $1,500 H.O.R.S.E.
- 60 Poker Player Proposes to Girlfriend After Winning WSOP Bracelet & $1,309,232
- 61 Team Savakinas Reign Supreme in WSOP Tag Team Event ($190,662)
- 62 Nick Pupillo Wins First Bracelet In $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw for $181,978
- 63 Justin Vaysman & Rudy Gavaldon Win WSOP Online Bracelets in Pennsylvania & Michigan
- 64 Ryan "GoFeltaFish2" Eriquezzo Multitasks His Way to His Third WSOP Bracelet
- 65 Lonnie Hallett Defeats Billy Baxter Heads-Up to Win 2023 WSOP Seniors Championship ($765,731)
- 66 Mike Gorodinsky Blazes Down the Home Stretch to Win $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship ($422,747)
- 67 Marcin Horecki Denies Mike Matusow as he Captures Poland's First-Ever Live WSOP Bracelet
- 68 Retired Fireman Steven Genovese Climbs a Different Type of Ladder to Take Home a WSOP Bracelet!
- 69 Jason Daly Steamrolls Final Table of Event #58: $3,000 Limit Hold'em to Win First WSOP Bracelet
- 70 Millionaire Maker Winner Pavel Plesuv Becomes Moldova's First WSOP Champion ($1,201,564)
- 71 Ka Kwan Lau Finds Redemption in $25K PLO High Roller ($2,294,756)
- 72 WSOP Online Pennsylvania & Michigan: Christopher Nunez & David Ferus Find Mystery Bounty Success
- 73 Calm, Collected, and Deadly: Robert Schulz Becomes a WSOP Champion
- 74 Jason Mercier Defeats Mike Watson to Capture Sixth WSOP Bracelet
- 75 Brazil’s Gabriel Schroeder Bad Beats Andy Black on Way to Super Turbo Bounty Bracelet ($228,632)
- 76 Austria's Klaus Ilk Wins 2023 WSOP Event #61: $1,000 Super Seniors for $371,603
- 77 "Can't Stop Kopp!" William Kopp Wins Event #66: $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha 8 or Better ($259,549)
- 78 David Simon Emerges Victorious in Battle of Davids to Win Maiden Bracelet in $1,500 Mixed No-Limit Hold'em/Pot-Limit Omaha ($410,659)
- 79 Ryan Miller Wins Maiden Bracelet in Event #63: $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship ($344,677)
- 80 David Guay Celebrates on Canada Day with WSOP Gold ($271,032)
- 81 Weiran Pu Captures His First Bracelet in Event #65: $5,000 6-Handed No-Limit Hold'em ($938,244)
- 82 Phil Hellmuth Wins Record-Extending 17th World Series of Poker Bracelet
- 83 Brewer Beats Baker and Livingston in 2-7 Single Draw Championship for Second Bracelet of the Summer
- 84 Jesse Lonis Steamrolls to Victory for Second Bracelet in Event #71: $50,000 Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller
- 85 An Unstoppable Tamar Abraham Wins Record-Breaking Ladies Event for $192,167
- 86 Tom “lultaxpayers” Hall Emerges Victorious to Claim Maiden WSOP Bracelet ($176,920)
- 87 Moshe Refaelowitz Fulfils a Promise to His Wife; Wins Event #70: $400 Colossus
- 88 Bradley Gafford Rallies Back to Win the Mini Main Event ($549,555)
- 89 Hassan Kamel Speeds to Victory in Event #75: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship ($598,613)
- 90 Sam Soverel Wins World Series of Poker Bracelet in Live/Online Hybrid Tournament
- 91 Zachary Grech & Blaze Gaspari Pick Up NV/NJ WSOP Online Bracelets
- 92 Thomas Skaggs Adds a WSOP Bracelet to His Circuit Ring in Event #76: $1,500 Bounty Pot-Limit Omaha
- 93 Shawn Daniels Wins Event #77: $777 Lucky 7's for $777,777
- 94 Josh Arieh Steam Rolls Final Table For Sixth Bracelet in Event #80: $25,000 H.O.R.S.E. High Roller
- 95 VAMOS!! Samuel Bernabeu Wins First Bracelet in Event #79:$2,500 No-Limit Holdem
- 96 Thai Ha Wins First Bracelet in 2023 WSOP Event #83: $1,500 Short Deck ($111,170)
- 97 Brazilian Vitor Dzivielevski Wins NV/NJ WSOP Online Event #16 Bracelet ($185,316)
- 98 Alex Kulev Wins $50K High Roller for $2,087,073; Moves Atop Bulgarian All-Time Money List
- 99 Tom Marchese Wins First Gold Bracelet in WSOP Online Event #17: $1,000 Online Championship
- 100 Matthew Parry Wins 2023 WSOP Event #82: $3,000 PLO 6-Handed ($480,122)
- 101 Prominent Poker Coach Faraz Jaka Leads By Example and Wins First Bracelet in Event #85: $1,500 Shootout
- 102 Diego Does It! Ventura Earns First Live Bracelet for Peru in $1,979 Poker Hall of Fame Bounty
- 103 Oh Canada! Bradley Smith Wins Maiden Bracelet and $221,733 in Mixed Omaha/Stud Hi-Lo
- 104 Beginner's Luck? Pierre Shum Wins a WSOP Bracelet in His First Ever Tournament
- 105 Dong Meng Holds Off "Westside" Wesley to Win 2023 WSOP Event #89: $1,000 Flip & Go
- 106 Alexandre Reard Wins Second Bracelet in Prestigious $10K 6-Handed Championship ($1,057,663)
- 107 Kang Hyun Lee Takes the Event #92: $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em Freezeout Bracelet Home to Canada!
- 108 Two Bracelets in Five Events; Ryan Miller Victorious in Event #91: $3,000 H.O.R.S.E.
- 109 Summer Saved! Nielsen Takes Home Short Deck Bracelet and $270,160 in Second Cash of 2023 WSOP!
- 110 14 Years in the Making: Alex Keating Wins His Maiden Bracelet at the 2023 WSOP
- 111 Paul Berger Didn't Plan to Play Event #95: Super Turbo No-Limit Hold'em But He is Now Its Champion