Michigan Native Steven Jones Claims $6.5 Million As WSOP Main Event Runner-Up

Written By Drew Ellis on July 18, 2023
WSOP Main Event Results

Michigan native Steven Jones finished runner-up Monday in the 2023 World Series of Poker Main Event.

Play concluded Monday afternoon in Las Vegas with Atlanta’s Daniel Weinman besting Jones in the final head-to-head.

Jones, who grew up in Troy and now lives in Phoenix, Ariz., collected $6.5 million for placing second. Weinman took home a record-setting $12.1 million first prize following a record-setting 10,043 players entering this year’s Main Event.

Jones started with chip lead, falls to pair of jacks

Jones came into Monday’s final day of play leading the chip count with only three players still in the hunt. He had 238 million chips to start the night while Weinman opened with 199 million and Adam Walton of Thousand Oaks, Calif. started the night with 165.5 million.

Walton would be the first to exit, going all-in with a pair of eights against Weinman’s pocket aces. Weinman would start the final pairing against Jones with a nearly 3-to-1 chip advantage at 443 million to 159.5 million.

Jones wasn’t able to make up the ground. The final hand would see Jones with a jack of clubs and eight of diamonds against Weinman’s king of clubs and jack of diamonds. Both flopped a pair of jacks, but Weinman’s stronger kicker would hold up and give him the WSOP title.

“Final tables can go so many different ways,” Weinman told PokerNews after the victory. “You need some cards to get chips, there were a lot of good players left with a lot more tournament experience than me. But when we got down to three, I did feel like I was the best player of the three. And a couple good hands at the right time; it all came together.”

Monday’s final threesome concluded in under three hours.

Jones sought to be fourth Michigan WSOP Main Event winner

Jones, 35, was looking to become the fourth Michigan native to win the World Series of Poker Main Event.

Had he won, the real-estate agent in Arizona would have joined Tom McEvoy of Grand Rapids (1983), Joe Cada of Shelby Township (2009) and Ryan Riess of Clarkston (2013).

Despite coming in second, the $6 million in winnings will far outdo his previous tournament earnings, which WSOP lists at just over $157,000.

Jones’ previous best in the WSOP was $57,425 in winnings for a ninth-place finish in a 2018 event with a $565 buy-in. He placed in four other WSOP events this year for $10,207 in winnings.

In his WSOP bio, Jones is listed as a Detroit Lions fan, but no telling if he’s putting his $6 million in winnings on the Lions to win the Super Bowl this season.

Michigan places 24 players in the Main Event money

Jones wasn’t the only Michigan player to finish in the money for the Main Event.

A total of 24 players from the mitten were listed in the winnings, including the former WSOP Main Event winner, Cada.

  • 60. James Jeffrey, Northville: $156,100
  • 260. Jeff Gross, Ann Arbor: $50,900
  • 388. Michael Banducci, Traverse City: $40,000
  • 445. Andrew Peplinski, North Branch: $37,500
  • 482. Kirk Yancey, Milford: $35,000
  • 623. Brent Ballentine, Southgate: $30,000
  • 627. Patrick Steele, Dexter: $30,000
  • 630. Joseph Ermatinger, Hesperia: $30,000
  • 673. Philip Wojtuniecki, Trenton: $27,500
  • 829. Christopher Trombley, Macomb: $25,000
  • 857. Chad Wernicke, Fenton: $25,000
  • 859. Josh Kay, West Bloomfield: $25,000
  • 973. Jonathon Aspin, Saginaw: $20,000
  • 1,043: Mario Arribas, Lake Orion: $17,500
  • 1,091: Jeff Blenkarn, Rockford: $17,500
  • 1,215: Jeffery Renaud, Chesterfield: $17,500
  • 1,233: Pete Males, Canton: $17,500
  • 1,251: Athir Saco, Troy: $15,000
  • 1,295: Riyad Ayoob, Wixom: $15,000
  • 1,358: Joe Cada, Shelby Township: $15,000
  • 1,413. Juliette Kuca, Traverse City: $15,000
  • 1,489: Steven Wang, Lansing: $15,000
  • 1,504. Michael Lane, South Lyon: $15,000

A total of 1,507 players finished in the money for the event, which was a $10,000 buy-in.

Photo by Associated Press
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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is currently the Lead Writer of PlayILottery.com. He was the former Lead Writer of PlayMichigan, the No. 1 source for online gambling news in Michigan. A lifelong resident of the state, Ellis has been working in various forms of media since 1998, including more than a decade in the sports betting industry prior to transitioning into US casino markets in 2020.

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