My heart!
My heart! Daniel Weinman reacts with disbelief as a miraculous jack helps him on his way to becoming world champion.

This time last week, Daniel Weinman became poker’s world champion, the newest winner of the WSOP Main Event. Bagging the top prize of $12.1 million, the man from Atlanta, Georgia immediately became a household name around the world, and not just in homes where members of the family are as happy passing the dealer button as the salt and pepper.

We caught up with the famously modest man who last week achieved his lifelong poker dream to find out the answers to all the questions that poker fans have been asking the past seven days. Yes, even that one.

Going Back to Work

We had to start with the most obvious questions first, and that was to ask why Daniel was back at his desk on the Friday after winning the ‘Big One’ on the Monday. Just how much does he love his day job?

“I was amazed at how many people were shocked that I was back in the office the same week as winning the Main Event,” says Daniel. “Playing poker full time for the past 15 years hadn’t led a life I was happy with, so I took a step back in the last year or so and started working for a tech start-up in the poker industry called RF Poker.  I was able to combine the two industries I know and truly enjoy what I do away from the table.”


That was a few days after the event, but in the immediate moments after becoming champion, the whole final day of action was ‘a whirlwind’.

“We finished quickly in only three or so hours and it definitely didn’t sink in that day,” admits the new world champion. “All of my family and friends that came in to rail were so supportive and we had a great time going out to dinner and partying that night. I slept surprisingly well, but it was a bit scary waking up and wondering if the whole thing had just been a dream.”

Reader, it wasn’t a dream. Weinman, ably assisted by friends Josh Arieh, Shaun Deeb and Matt Glantz really was the 2023 Main Event winner. It turns out that his pals really do sum the often-quoted phrase ‘Squad Goals’.

“I’d have no chance at success without the Morning Crew, as we’ve dubbed ourselves from the old days of grinding Fortnite,” Daniel beams. “Besides the help they provided on the rail watching the stream and giving advice, they’re just good people that have always been there for me and had my back. We often joke that I’m the nice guy in the group, and the rest of them definitely have some haters, but I give them so much credit for helping me both on and away from the table.”

Deeb Advice
Having Shaun Deeb on the rail to give advice as part of the Morning Crew’ helped Weinman get over the line.

The Miraculous Jack

Rewinding a little to the action that defined Daniel’s Main Event win. A lot goes back to that jack on the turn that gave Daniel a set against pocket queens and the leading pocket kings that Joshua Payne held, the winning hand until Daniel saw his jack land on the turn. From there, everything changed.

“It was such a bittersweet moment,” concedes Daniel. “Obviously I’m thrilled to hit the two-outer and win what was a likely $2-$3 million pot in equity. But to crack the kings of a good friend in Josh Payne truly hurt. I’ve watched the replay a few times now and seeing the pain in his face when the jack hits on the turn is hard to watch.”

The moment sent Daniel’s readings all over the chart and he turned to the Morning Crew to help get back in the zone.

“Josh Arieh was on the rail and really tried to get me to recompose myself and get back to poker, but I was so amped up and the next couple of hours were a complete blur.”

Going into the final table on the back of a nice night’s sleep and a lavender-infused pillow is ideal for any would-be world champion. Instead, Daniel played nine holes of golf with the most experienced player at the final table felt, Toby Lewis. Unconventional? Yes. Weirdly beneficial? You bet.

“Playing golf on the day off with Toby definitely helped” says Daniel. “I felt very calm most of the days of the Main Event while playing, but always would get antsy the few hours before play or on breaks. I knew that the whole off day would be tough, especially with so many people coming into town and trying to get them all organized and settled.  Taking a few hours to just relax and golf, even if it was with the toughest competition, really put my mind in the right place for the next two days.

Final Three
For the first time in many years, the final three – Steven Jones, Adam Walton and Daniel Weinman (left to right) – all hailed from the United States of America.

The Final Stages

Down to the final three, it felt like Daniel was a big favorite. He had the rail, the experience and most crucially, the chips. But was that how it felt to the man himself?

I did feel like a favorite three-handed, but it’s hard to quantify what edge I may have had,” he says. “Also, whatever advantage I had was overshadowed by the enormity of the stage we were playing on.  Anytime you are playing stakes massively larger than you are used to, it’s difficult to play your normal game, but I think I was able to handle the pressure better than most.”

Heads-up, the big hand was the winning hand. Steven Jones made a pair of jacks, but Daniel had him outkicked. Jones’ raise all-in over the top of Daniel’s bet put the eventual champion to the key decision of his poker life. How soon in the hand did he feel like he was calling?

“Once Steven had tanked for over two minutes, I was pretty confident he had a tough decision and was genuinely unsure of what to do,” he tells us. “It let me rule out pretty much all of the nutted hands which would have had my king-jack dead, and my hand felt unbeatable after he shoved a couple minutes later. I did stand up and take a few seconds just to verify the count, but ultimately knew I was never folding.”

The Winning Moment

The winning moment of the Main Event, surrounded by your friends and family, is a moment of magic to witness but what it is it like to experience? A week on, what is Daniel’s feeling looking back at that magical minute of his life.

“It was such an incredible moment. To reach the pinnacle of the sport and be surrounded by people who truly care and love seeing you succeed is absolutely incredible.”

The top prize of $12. 1 million was the biggest in history, but that’s pre-tax. We’ve tried to crunch the numbers and factor in swaps, and everyone has their theories. Just what Daniel was left with isn’t information that would only affect him to reveal.

“I’m not going to publicly share exactly what I ended up taking home as I ended up hedging a decent amount at the final table, and don’t like talking about other people’s business. But I will say that the tax bill isn’t gonna be very fun.”

With the exception of Koray Aldemir, each world champion has had a year in the poker spotlight. What does Daniel hope to achieve in his year as world champion and leave as his legacy?

“I hope that I can be a good ambassador for poker,” he smiles. “Winning the Main is coming at such an interesting point in my life where, for the first time in a long time, poker isn’t the most important thing in the world to me.  But I do think that I’ll end up playing more over the next year than I had previously planned.”

With a memorable victory leading to most poker fans claiming Daniel Weinman as one of the most popular winners of all time, they’ll be delighted to know that he cares as much about the game.

“I love poker, it will always be a big part of my life,” he says. “Anything I can do to grow the game I’ll see as a win.”

Daniel ‘Winmain’ Weinman as he was known in the days after his victory is looking forward to playing his part in growing the game. We can all raise a glass to that.

Daniel Winmain
Daniel ‘Winmain’ might be the most universally popular Main Event winner in recent memory.