Reasons for American Poker Players to Be Thankful on Thanksgiving Weekend

Reasons for American Poker Players to Be Thankful on Thanksgiving Weekend

Thanksgiving is always a great time to reflect on what you are grateful for, and there are plenty of reasons for poker players in the United States to be grateful this year.

From the return of the PokerStars North American Poker Tour (NAPT) to the upcoming $40 million guaranteed World Poker Tour (WPT) World Championship, here are six reasons American poker players should be grateful this year.

The Return Of The North American Poker Tour

PokerStars made waves earlier this year when they announced the return of the NAPT after a 12-year hiatus. The short-lived US poker tour produced big-name winners like Vanessa Selbst and Jason Mercier, and its return to the luxurious Resorts World Las Vegas earlier this month was nothing short of spectacular.

Once again, the NAPT produced a number of well-known winners, including Ladies Event winner Kyna England and Super High Roller champion Jesse Lonis, who has plenty to be grateful for as he celebrates the holidays with his wife and two young daughters.

But the player with the most to be thankful for is soon-to-be dad and poker dealer Sami Bechahed, who topped a 1,095-entry field in the $1,650 Main Event to win $268,945, a nice holiday gift for his wife who is nine months pregnant.

A Record-Breaking $40 Million Guaranteed Poker Tournament

Speaking of big events in Las Vegas, one of the biggest of them all has yet to come as the WPT World Championship draws closer. Last year's event was such a success (it won a GPI award for Best Event) that the organizers decided to go even bigger this year with a $40 million guaranteed prize pool, the largest guarantee in poker history.

If the record-breaking guarantee weren't enough to get excited for, the festival at Wynn Las Vegas will also mark the return of the $1 million Big One For One Drop for the first time since 2018. More than a dozen players have already committed to playing the seven-figure buy-in event, including Phil Ivey, Rick Salomon, Chris Brewer, Jason Koon and Dan "Jungleman" Cates.

But the high-rollers shouldn't have all the fun. That's why WPT will once again be running low-stakes meet-up games at the festival to give players a chance to play with poker stars and WPT personalities.

Biggest WSOP Main Event Ever

If record-breaking numbers are your thing, you'll remember the 2023 World Series of Poker Main Event earlier this year. With 10,043 entries, this year's Main Event smashed the previous record field of 8,773 players set during the 2006 Main Event.

That meant a $12.1 million payday the largest in WSOP Main Event history for Georgia's Daniel Weinman, a longtime pro who finally found success in poker's marquee event after years of failing to cash.

WSOP opted to keep the festivities going with WSOP Paradise, a series in the Bahamas next month that will feature 15 bracelet events and $50 million in guarantees. Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth and Shaun Deeb are among the poker pros who will be in the Bahamas come December.

Online Poker Expansion

While there weren't any states that legalized online poker in 2023, online poker players in the US still have something to be grateful for. That's because West Virginiarecently became the fifth state to join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) to bring its nearly 1.8 million residents into the player pool alongside players in Nevada, Michigan, New Jersey and Delaware.

While it isn't the biggest state, West Virginia joining the MSIGA is a great benefit both for poker players in the state and those in the other four states looking for more shared liquidity. It may also encourage bigger states like Pennsylvania to follow suit and join the compact.

Biggest Streamed Pots Ever

In the post-Robbi-and-Garrett poker content world, there has been no shortage of entertaining poker hands for fans to view and dissect.

Back in February, high-stakes old schooler Patrik Antoniuswon a $1.9 million pot off Eric Persson during No Gamble, No Future Cash of the Titans," the largest-ever pot broadcast on a live stream. Antonius later appeared on the PokerNews Podcast and spoke about the record-breaking hand.

Two months later, fellow high-stakes veteran Tom Dwanset a new record by winning a $3.1 million pot on Hustler Casino Live against "Wes Side" Wesley Fei, who recently gave PokerNews a tour of his Caesars Palace suite during the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Antonius and Dwan certainly have a lot to be thankful for, as do the thousands of poker fans who witnessed the record-setting pots.

Thriving Poker Content

It wasn't just the live-streams that garnered hype and attention this year. Many poker fans rejoiced when PokerStars announced they were bringing back the PokerStars Big Game, one of the most iconic poker shows of all time.

During the NAPT, Nikki Limo and Lily Newhouse were both selected as the first "loose cannons" in over a decade after an intense interview process with Nadya Magnus, Joe Stapleton, and James Hartigan.

Meanwhile, GGPoker'sGame Of Gold has everybody in the poker world talking and became an instant hit when its first episodes aired earlier this month. Check out what PokerNewshad to say about what is arguably the best poker show in years.


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