Joshua Payne
Joshua Payne endured the most painful exit of this year's WSOP Main Event.

The last year of poker action has been so full that to throw a rope around it takes more skill than Phil Ivey and greater manoeuvring than Martin Kabrhel in an all-in pot. It’s as clear as  2023 will be remembered as one of the most dramatic years in poker history. From inspirational moments to controversial showdowns, the poker world had something for everyone in the past 12 months.

We’ve already run down our 20th-11th place finishers, as well as recapping places 10 to 6. Now it’s time for the top table as we find out which poker moments of the year just miss out on the title. For some, it was a case of rolling in money, for others, more a case of bathing in poker history as a timeless great.

5 – Phil Hellmuth Wins His 17th Bracelet

While he’s already been on this list for dressing up as the Greatest Showman and Poseidon in his pre-WSOP Main Event cosplay efforts, winning is what Phil Hellmuth does best at the World Series. Phil showed that once again, as he took down the $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty Event #72 for $803,818, beating Justin Zaki heads-up.

With play moving into the small hours, both Phil Ivey on 10 bracelets and the Poker Brat on 16 had made the final six. Hellmuth proved that he is the GOAT of the WSOP by extending the lead over his fellow Phil to seven rather than the latter reducing it to five. He even managed to get Mrs. Hellmuth into the building to witness his winning moment.

4 – Tom Dwan Wins Biggest Televised Pot on HCL

The summer wasn’t only about the World Series of Poker. On Hustler Casino Live, Tom Dwan was faced with a huge decision on the river of one of the most sensational hands ever to take place on a live stream. Swigging from a bottle of water, Tom Dwan was more like Tom Dumbfounded when his opponent Wesley shoved all-in with just ace-king on an eight-high paired board. No flush draw was out there, but Tom only had pocket queens.

With a respectful Doug Polk sitting in silence between the two players in the pot, Dwan worked it out, and with Wesley head-down on the table having bluffed all three streets, the legend ‘Durrrr’ made a crying call – and claimed the biggest pot in the history of televised poker.

3 – Daniel Weinman Wins the Main Event

Back to Las Vegas, and the World Series of Poker Main Event. With Daniel Weinman, Jose Aguilera, and Josh Payne all being dealt jacks or better, all three players were all-in pre-flop as the race to win the biggest-ever WSOP Main Event top price of $12.1 million. Weinman held pocket jacks but amazingly, hit a jack on the turn to go from odds-on to lose to a massive favorite to win the world championship.

A couple of days later, Weinman was more like Win-man, as he held aloft the gold bracelet and – surrounded by his ‘Team Lucky’ teammates of Shaun Deeb, Josh Arieh and Matt Glantz, became world champion in a magical year of memories for all those players.

2 – Doyle Brunson Passes Away

There can be no sadder story of the year 2023 in poker than the passing of a poker icon. The poker legend Doyle Brunson was the Godfather of the modern game. From writing Super System to ruling Bobby’s Room, winning 10 WSOP bracelets to taking back-to-back world championships with ten-deuce – a.k.a. the Texas Dolly – Doyle Brunson is an irreplaceable part of poker’s past present and indeed the founding father of its future.

Living until the ripe old age of 89, Brunson even left us with a touching and funny tribute on Twitter, with his famous wit and legendary poker status sure to stay with us forever. If the old saying is true that you die twice, once when you leave Earth and again when everyone forgets you, then Doyle Brunson will never die. He will undoubtedly live forever in our memories.

Farewell Texas Dolly – you will be missed.

What will be revealed as the 2023 Poker Moment of the Year? Come back to PokerStake on the last day of the year, December 31st, to find out.