Coming in 2023 World Series of Poker, Isaac Haxton was the highest earning tournament player in the world without a WSOP gold bracelet to their name. The 37-year-old poker pro raked in more than $37.7 million before the 54th annual WSOP kicked off.
Following the conclusion of this year’s $25,000 no-limit hold’em eight max event, Haxton can officially clear his name off the top of that dreaded ‘best braceletless’ list. Lui outshone the largest $25,000 buy-in event ever held at the WSOP, emerging victorious from a record-breaking field of 301 entries with the hardware and $1,698,215 in prize money.
“I agree it’s a bit of a monkey off my back, I guess,” admitted Haxton. “I’ve had a fun career in terms of final distributions. Before this year, all my high scores were like second and third place, except the win in Super High Roller bowl. And then I had six wins this year, all in pretty big stuff.
Haxton has actually won six titles this year, with 14 final tables and nearly $7.5 million in prize money earned through those scores. This latest huge win saw him earn 1,512 Card player Player of the Year points, enough to pass Jose ‘Nacho’ Barbero for the overall lead in 2023 POY extension tender presented by Global Poker. He also reclaimed the top spot in the charts Tour of PokerGo ranking thanks to the 750 PGT extension points accumulated with his last victory.
Haxton’s other seven-figure wins recorded in 2023 were a pair of title runs in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $100,000 super high roller events for $1,555,360 and $1,082,230.
He now has more than $39,418,364 in overall winnings, a good finish for 11th on the all-time poker list. His longtime friend Justin Bonomo, who sits at the top of the earnings list with nearly $63.3 million in total prize money, was there to support Haxton through the span of his bracelet win. When asked if he plans to catch up with Bonomo, Haxton said: “No, I don’t think about the all-time honors list at all. It’s just nice to still be around and still be able to win top tournaments. I like to play cards and make money”.
This event took three days to come up with a winner. The record attendance resulted in a prize pool of $6,204,000, with the top 46 finishers making money. The final day of the event began with just 13 contenders remaining, with Czech Roman Hrabec leading the way and Haxton near the middle of the pack.
Heavy hitters like Poker World Tour champion Taylor von Kriegenbergh (13th), three-time bracelet winner Kristen Foxen (12th) and two-time bracelet winner Aleksejs Ponakovs (10th) were eliminated early on.
Haxton had moved into the lead when the final table was set. Two-time bracelet winner Joao Vieira was eliminated in eighth place ($155,037) by five-time bracelet winner Brian Rast.
During the seven-man action, Britain’s Lewis Spencer doubled through Haxton to take the lead. He then eliminated Rast (7th – $202,532) to move even further in the chip count.
Bracelet winner Frank Funaro’s semi-bluff all-in with an open-ended straight draw was called by Spencer, who had pocket aces. Spencer held on from there by eliminating Funaro in sixth place ($270,238).
Hrabec quickly followed suit when his AJ suited ran into pocket kings four times WPT champion Darren Elias. Hrabec flopped pocket jacks, but got no further help from the board and ended up in fifth place ($368,134).
Elias moved into the lead after that hand. He soon extended his lead with a full house in a sizable pot against Spencer. Haxton then won another big showdown with Spencer, turning over kings against Spencer’s pocket aces on a flop that ended with Lewis’s stack in tatters.
He soon brought his last big blinds preflop with K-9 against Elias’ pocket tens. Spencer hit a flush draw to go with his overcard, but a brick on the river saw him eliminated in fourth place ($511,782). This was his biggest score in a live tournament. Lui increased his career earnings to over $1.1 million.
A preflop coin flip saw Elias and Haxton swap places in the leader board. Haxton’s AJ outlasted Elias’s pocket sevens, making two pair to give him the lead. Haxton and Elias would collide a couple more times, trading the lead back and forth. Elias lost one of those meetings to become the clear short stack, but was able to rally in time for the next key hand.
Elias moved all-in with his AJ to Ryan O’Donnell’s KJ. The flop gave O’Donnell an open-ended straight draw, which hit the river to see Elias bust in third place. He earned $725,790 as a third-place finisher, the second-highest mark of his career. He now has nearly $12.4 million in career earnings following this podium finish.
With that, Haxton took about a 5:4 chip lead in heads-up play against O’Donnell, whose supporters have described him as an online player and poker coach. Haxton was able to stretch his lead to nearly 3:1 when the final hand came up. O’Donnell limped in from the button with A10. Haxton moved all-in with a. O’Donnell called and the board was down 1033Qj to give Haxton jacks on the river for the win.
O’Donnell earned $1,049,577 as a runner-up, by far the largest live prize of his career.
Here’s a look at the prizes and ranking points awarded at the final table:
|Place||Player||Earnings||POY extension Points||PGT extension Points|
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