Renji Mao’s Deepstack Aggression Earns Him First WSOP Bracelet ($402,588)

Renji Mao

Renji Mao entered the added day of Event #26: $800 No-Limit Hold'em Deepstack at a significant chip disadvantage, but his revamped strategy paid off. After less than a dozen hands against Matthew Elsby, Mao had flipped the chip lead and was celebrating his first World Series of Poker (WSOP) gold bracelet.

The final two players bagged up after a grueling Day 2, with Mao using the 12-hour break to study and change his approach as the short stack today.

“I did a lot of homework last night and I think it’s great to have a break, luckily,” Mao told PokerNews moments after his victory.

Follow live updates from the 2023 WSOP here!

“I changed my strategy completely today to be on a more aggressive end,” said Mao, whose adjustment paid off quickly to cement the biggest win of his poker career to date.

Mao took home $402,588 after defeating a field of 4,747 entries over three days of play. The win marked a triumphant return to Las Vegas and his first experience at Horseshoe and Paris Las Vegas as he was unable to travel since his run into the money in the 2019 WSOP Main Event. Mao earned his tenth career WSOP cash, though the win represented a larger prize than all previous results combined.

2023 WSOP Event #26 Final Table Results

1Renji MaoChina$402,588
2Matthew ElsbyUnited States$248,833
3Anthony PotisUnited States$186,250
4JJ LiuTaiwan$140,442
5Ta-Wei TouTaiwan$106,693
6Qiwen ChenChina$81,666
7Jesse RosenSouth Africa$62,984
8Vito BranciforteItaly$48,947
9Michael YounanUnited States$38,332

The massive field generated a staggering prize pool of $3,341,888, shattering last year’s tournament entry total by more than 700 players. Among the notable names to make deep runs were JJ Liu (4th - $140,442), Dinesh Alt (13th - $24,063) and former WSOP Main Event champion Ryan Riess (15th - $19,291).

JJ Liu
JJ Liu

Day 3 Action

Mao’s comeback today ended a rollercoaster heads-up battle, including a moment the previous night where his big chip advantage disappeared when Elsby flopped a straight. Elsby then ground out a nice lead of his own until play wrapped up for the night, leading to the fireworks on the added day.

After exchanging chips over the first four hands of play, Elsby was in prime position to take down the title with Mao at risk. Mao was behind until the river when he found a flush to regain the advantage. From there, only a few more hands were needed to see the cards turned over again. This time it was Elsby at risk, coming up empty while trying to chase down Mao’s ace-high. Elsby comes just shy of a second career bracelet, earning a runner-up finish for $248,833.

Renji Mao
Renji Mao

Mao now heads into the rest of the series with plenty of momentum, already having earned a ticket to this year’s WSOP Main Event. “My goal in poker is beyond the bracelet,” said Mao. “It’s more about enjoying the game, trying to improve, trying to be a better player, trying to be a better person in everything. The bracelet is just a small portion of it but it’s still a great thing for me.”

2023 World Series of Poker Hub

Bookmark this page! All you need to know about the 2023 WSOP is here.

  • Renji Mao won the #WSOP2023 Event 26: $800 No-Limit Hold'em Deepstack for $402,588.

Name Surname
Global Live Events Assistant Manager

In this Series

More Stories

Other Stories

Recommended for you

Next Fedor? This German 22-Year-Old is Taking the 2023 WSOP by Sturm Next Fedor? This German 22-Year-Old is Taking the 2023 WSOP by Sturm