Ian Matakis Wins the 2023 WSOP Player of the Year Title
The 2023 World Series of Poker (WSOP) is in the books, and quite a few big names have had a summer to remember. However, one player who will certainly never forget it is Ian Matakis, who was crowned WSOP Player of the Year.
The WSOP POY race raged on throughout the Series, with the likes of Shaun Deeb and Chris Brewer staying on the heels of the young pro until the very end.
When all was said and done, Matakis managed to keep the pole position for several weeks and come out on top with a total of 5,203.89 points, just under a thousand points more than Deeb in second place.
Matakis won the title with an impressive run that included 22 cashes and one WSOP bracelet, which he won in the $500 Bankroll Builder, an online event early in the Series.
Now, Ian will join an elite group that includes the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Shaun Deeb, Chris Ferguson, Jason Mercier, and other notables.
Matakis’ POY banner will be featured at the next WSOP at the Horseshoe for everyone to see, and will remain there for many Series to come, securing his name in the poker folklore.
Along with the banner, Matakis will receive a free entry into next year’s WSOP Main Event, worth $10,000, and a unique WSOP POY trophy that only Daniel Negreanu has won more than once.
How Ian Matakis Became WSOP Player of the Year
Perhaps the most shocking fact about Ian Matakis’ run at the WSOP POY title is the fact he cashed exactly zero mixed games tournaments, as all his cashes came in NLH and PLO events.
With many of his direct competitors being mixed games specialists, the number of opportunities for final tables and bracelets that were available to them far exceeded those that Matakis could compete for.
And yet, Ian was able to make an incredible number of deep runs in massive field tournaments, often with more than a thousand runners, make four final tables and several other top 10 finishes, and bank nearly $900,000 in the process.
2023 WSOP player of the year! What an honor to join such a prestigious group of people, had a blast battling and meeting many new friends along the way. Time to go home and spend some time with friends, family, and girlfriend. Thanks to everyone who rooted for me this summer!
— Ian Matakis (@IMatakis) July 18, 2023
Unlike many other POY contenders, Ian was not bankrolled to play all the High Rollers either, and did not stock up on points in small field tournaments with a massive buy-in.
Instead, the young pro showed off his skills in navigating huge tournaments, played his way past elite pros and recreational players alike, and came out on top.
Grabbing a total of 22 cashes in a Series that includes so many mixed game events that Matakis does not play was an impressive feat in itself, and accumulating enough points to be crowned POY was a truly outstanding achievement.
Shaun Deeb Falls Short Yet Again
Shaun Deeb is one of the most popular and outspoken players in the high stakes community. His obsession with the POY title and WSOP bracelets is known to all who follow his journey.
Once more, Shaun was in serious contention for the POY title this year, but his 24 cashes and one first place finish were not enough to secure him the trophy for the second time.
Even Deeb himself was impressed with the champion’s incredible run, and took to Twitter to congratulate the young pro and express his belief that Matakis will be a major contender in the years to come if he chooses to continue playing the game.
So happy for you will be a contender for many years to come people will try to give you shit but you had the best summer of anyone keep working hard and more success will follow https://t.co/HTcwPm3lIT
— shaun deeb (@shaundeeb) July 19, 2023
Deeb’s 4,276.12 points were followed closely by Christopher Brewer’s 4,127.62, Josh Arieh’s 3,938.62, and Jesse Lonis’ 3,865.70, with each of the players on the shortlist having a phenomenal summer market by at least one new piece of WSOP hardware.
The 2023 WSOP in Las Vegas is now completed, but players are already looking forward to the newly announced WSOP Paradise, schedule to play out at the Atlantis Resort in Bahamas this December.
While those tournaments won’t count towards the POY title, it will be another great opportunity for the likes of Matakis and Deeb to hunt for new bracelets and extend their poker legacy.