Dan Sepiol Wins 2023 WPT World Championship

Dan Sepiol won the 2023 WPT World Championship Thursday and the $5.3m first prize. [Image: Flickr.com / World Poker Tour]

Happy holidays, indeed As 2023 comes to a close, six people still had work to do before the holiday break, each vying for the title at the 2023 WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas. On Thursday, Dan Sepiol emerged victorious after a roller coaster heads-up match against Georgios Sotiropoulos to claim the first prize of $5,282,954.

willingness to make plays in big moments”

At 29 years old, Sepiol has live tournament cashes dating back to 2017 and had well over a million dollars in earnings before this week, but obviously this victory dwarfs anything he had done before. He had even considered quitting professional poker several years ago, but Jeremy Brown, Justin Brown, and Taylor Black took him under their wings and coached him up, building on his innate “willingness to make plays in big moments,” as Black told WPT.com.

“….I’d say he’s earned it. He’s worked hard. He’s also earned it not just in the hard work, but also in the swings. So yeah, I honestly couldn’t be more happy for him,” Black added.

Jumped the gun Sepiol entered heads-up play with a huge chip lead over Sotiropoulos, 310.5 million to 72.6 million, a gap that only grew wider over the first hour. At one point, his lead ballooned to 10-to-1 and it looked like a victory was inevitable.

But after a small double-up to get up off the felt, Sotiropoulos doubled again in an almost miraculous hand. Holding K-2, Sepiol was looking good on the flop of A-K-8. Sotiropoulos only had 5-7, but hit a runner-runner straight to get his stack up to 115.9 million, which, while still less than half of what Sepiol had, was now enough to be dangerous.

The crazy thing about the hand was that when the cards were turned over, Sepiol misread his opponent’s hand and actually thought he won. He went to his rail to celebrate when someone pointed out that he had lost the hand. Sepiol clearly had a sense of humor about it, laughing at the situation, but inside, it might have thrown him for a bit of a loop.

“Definitely a possibility,” he said in his post-game interview. “I don’t know for sure, but it definitely, what’s the word? The momentum definitely changed after that.”

Back and forth in a few hands The momentum most definitely shifted. After the hand, the two players agreed upon a deal in which Sepiol was guaranteed $4,682,954 and Sotiropoulos $4,167,246, leaving the remaining $600,000 to the winner. Within two hands, Sotiropoulos had taken the lead.

But just a few hands after that, Sepiol yanked the momentum right back, flopping two pair with a dominated J-2 against J-Q to double-up and take a massive lead. The tournament was over on the very next hand.

All the chips were in pre-flop, Sotiropoulos with K-Q and Sepiol with K-3 (suits are of no consequence). The flop changed nothing, but the turn produced a 3 for Sepiol, Sotiropolous couldn’t find a Queen on the river, and that was it.

In addition to millions of dollars, Dan Sepiol also won a $10,400 into next year’s WPT World Championship, the Wynn Championship trophy, and the WPT World Championship trophy designed by Daniel Arsham.