Home » News » A Look at Leo Taffe, Winner of the BetMGM Poker Championship

A Look at Leo Taffe, Winner of the BetMGM Poker Championship

Home » News » A Look at Leo Taffe, Winner of the BetMGM Poker Championship

A Look at Leo Taffe, Winner of the BetMGM Poker Championship

A photograph showing a winning poker hand on a green felt table, with a pile of poker chips in the center of the table and stacks of poker chips in the top right and bottom left corners.

The 2023 BetMGM Poker Championship broke records, signaling an incredible recovery for in-person poker tournaments. The 2023 BetMGM Poker Championship, held in Las Vegas, Nevada, saw over 1,000 skilled poker players compete for almost $3.3 million in prize money in the $3,500 buy-in, no-limit Hold’em Main Event. This was more than triple the entries of the inaugural 2022 event. By the end of the tournament, one unknown poker player’s life was changed forever.

Following four days of big wins and quick exits, Leo Taffe, an online poker player from Michigan, emerged as the last player standing, with the top prize of $560,442. A regular BetMGM online poker player, Taffe faced off against veteran players such as former champion Joey Wiseman, GPI Player of the Year Stephen Song, and former MLB star Jason Kipnis. Despite the stiff competition, he was able to claim the BetMGM Poker Championship crown. 

Taffe’s first official victory in BetMGM poker tournaments beats his previous best prize; a third-place finish in the 2023 WSOP Circuit Cherokee Main Event, where he won a cash prize of $182,603. With career earnings sitting at $848,580 after a year of professional play, Taffe has proven beyond doubt that he has the skills necessary to compete at the highest level.

Taffe made all the right moves to reach the final table of the poker tournament. As the fourth and final day of competition began, the Michigan-born online poker player was the chip leader by a considerable margin.

A birds-eye view of different color poker chips scattered across a black background with a stack of $100 bills being held together by a rubber band sitting on top of them.

Strong hands and smart betting allowed him to retain a dominant lead as the day progressed, with wins against Johann Ibanez, Sundiata DeVore, and WSOP gold bracelet winner Stephen Song leading to a comfortable 25.3 million stack before Taffe had to face his final opponent.

After taking out Mo Zhou to reach the final two, Mike Vanier brought 15.5 million into the heads-up, clearly at a disadvantage against Taffe. The two players only squared off once, with Taffe holding pocket aces for the highest pair. Vanier could do nothing with a lower pair and nothing on the board to beat Taffe’s hand, bringing an end to the championship and leaving Vanier with a runner-up prize of $392,704.

Thanks to the unprecedented turn-out for one of BetMGM’s latest poker tournaments, Taffe earned more than three times the amount of the previous winner. Additionally, players who made it to the final day obtained substantial winnings, and the top 129 players received a minimum of $2,397 in prize money. 

When interviewed regarding his plans for the immediate future, all Taffe could think of was sleep and recovery. Nevertheless, both ecstatic and humbled by the tournament’s final result, he also expressed a keen desire to take on bigger events and will continue playing poker online — once he’s recovered from the physical and mental toll of the four-day-tournament, of course.

Poker Greatness with BetMGM

Winners like Taffe aren’t born. They’re made. They forge their skills through practice and dedication, testing their abilities against the best online and one day showing the world exactly what they’re made of. For those who love a good game of poker, great poker games are available at BetMGM.

BetMGM’s online poker site offers a thrilling mix of cash games and exciting daily and weekly online poker tournaments. These poker games also come in different variants, with Texas Hold’em, Seven Card Stud, and Omaha games available online.

Register at BetMGM today.

Learn how Leo Taffe outlasted hundreds of talented poker players for his first major tournament victory.