Ian Matakis Wins 2023 WSOP of the Year Award


Ian Matakis has been a prominent figure in the tournament circuit for nearly five years, making his debut in live tournaments in early 2018. However, it was in 2023 that he truly made his mark as a remarkable 25-year-old poker player hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Throughout the 2023 World Series of Poker, Ian Matakis showcased an exceptional performance, cashing in an impressive total of 22 events. Among these, he achieved six top-nine finishes and managed to secure his first-ever gold bracelet by winning the WSOP Online $500 no-limit hold’em ‘Bankroll Builder’ event. Notably, nine of his 22 cashes occurred in WSOP Online events.

Ian Matakis’ extraordinary run resulted in total earnings of $881,682 and a remarkable 5,203 WSOP Player of the Year points, which ultimately led to him claiming this year’s POY honors and cementing his status as a rising star in the poker world.

As a reward for his outstanding achievement, Ian Matakis will have a POY banner displayed in the prestigious Horseshoe Grand Ballroom and will be granted free entry into the WSOP main event for the following year.

Across his 22 successful scores, Matakis averaged an impressive payday of $40,076, with his highest single payout being an astonishing $205,696 for finishing third in the $3,000 pot-limit Omaha six-max event. Interestingly, this event took place on one of the secondary featured tables while the WSOP main event was reaching its final table.

What makes Matakis’ performance even more remarkable is the fact that he demonstrated remarkable consistency, despite participating in mostly smaller buy-in, large-field events. The average field size for his in-the-money finishes during the series was just over 1,913 entries. His overall average buy-in for the events in which he cashed was $3,924, although this average would decrease to $1,730 if we excluded his one super high roller cash of $199,275, earned from a ninth-place showing in the $50,000 pot-limit Omaha event.

In the final POY standings, 2018 WSOP POY Shaun Deeb secured the second position, maintaining an impressive streak of finishing inside the top six for five consecutive years (2018-2023), excluding 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic when no POY race was held.

The third and fourth places in the final POY standings were claimed by Chris Brewer and Josh Arieh, both of whom had a remarkable summer, winning two bracelets each. Additionally, Mike Holtz, who finished 14th in the rankings, set a new record this year by securing 25 in-the-money finishes in a single series. Known as ‘BrockLesnar’ among WSOP.com regulars, Holtz narrowly surpassed Deeb, who achieved an impressive 24 cashes, breaking the previous record held by Chris Ferguson and Daniel Negreanu.