Stats Guru Nate Silver Doing Well at WSOP Poker Tournaments

Stats Guru Nate Silver Doing Well at WSOP Poker Tournaments
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

Among the varied and interesting aspects to the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas is the eclectic collection of players it draws.

Poker pros and home-game heroes, the famous and the anonymous, all can sit at the felt, as long as they have the buy-in. Anybody can go on to compete for world championship bracelets, including folks who start the process via Michigan online poker.

Of course, the players who have attained celebrity status outside of poker attract some of the most attention.

Famous People Line Up For WSOP

Actors Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and James Woods; athletes such as Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, NFL star Richard Seymour and the NBA’s Paul Pierce, and the late “The Simpsons” creator Sam Simon are just a handful of the famous people who have made the pilgrimage to Las Vegas to play for a WSOP title.

This year’s 95-event tournament, currently underway through mid-July at the Horseshoe Las Vegas, included a Michigan guy who is sometimes called “the most famous statistician in America.” Considering his background – even aside from his ability to practice using the WSOP Michigan promo code if he wanted to – his odds, if you will, are better than a lot of other famous folks.

Nate Silver In On 2023 WSOP Events

East Lansing native Nate Silver – the stats guy who correctly predicted the results in 49 of 50 states in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, who was extremely accurate in 2012 and 2020, and who even gave Donald Trump a better chance than most polls in 2016 – has been at the Horseshoe Las Vegas this summer. He has been playing, and cashing, in WSOP events including the Main Event.

As it stands, Silver, who founded the data-driven journalism website FiveThirtyEight, has apparently left what was his regular gig running the website. It seems that Disney, which now controls the FiveThirtyEight website, is reshuffling its workforce, including some top people.

Poker is not an undertaking unfamiliar to Silver. Biographies of him indicate that his early love was for baseball, including the Detroit Tigers, as well as other sports – poker in particular. Poker was where he could exercise his mathematical acumen, and that was well before players using apps could get access. Published reports have him earning a living at online poker in the early 2000s.

Silver Finishes 87th in 2023 WSOP Main Event

Early in this year's 54th annual WSOP, Silver, 45, cashed in five events for a total of a little more than $66,000.

His highest paying finish this summer at the WSOP before the Main Event had been 32nd in a $1,500 “Monster Stack” No-limit Hold’em event for $37,233.

Then in the Main Event itself, Silver was eliminated on Wednesday. It was his sixth WSOP cash this year as he was credited with an 87th-place finish out of more than 10,000 entrants. He got $92,600 in earnings, his biggest WSOP cash in two years. 

Somewhat notable is that Silver has been sporting something of a starkly different physical look in Vegas than he did during his earlier stages of celebrity. Previously, Silver had a clean-shaven, bespectacled, wonky persona as a panelist at gatherings or on TV discussing politics.

His WSOP photos, however, show him with a more rakish appearance including a beard, mustache and a Detroit Tigers baseball cap, a la Tom Selleck’s title character in “Magnum PI”.

To be clear, this is hardly Silver’s first foray into the WSOP, which this year is open to online casino Michigan players.

Silver’s First Recorded WSOP Cash Was In 2013

His first recorded cash in WSOP live tournament play was in 2013. Since then, Silver had 15 WSOP cashes for almost $280,000 before this year's Main Event. His biggest score at the poker World Series was for more than $151,000 in 2021 for finishing second in the $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship among a tough field of seasoned pros.

Online in recent days, Silver has been posting to Twitter on a variety of topics including the hottest subject of the moment, artificial intelligence.

And on his Twitter profile, Silver addresses his current status as follows: “Founder, FiveThirtyEight. What comes next?”

To follow along with the events of this year’s WSOP and to get the best Michigan casino bonuses, keep checking back with



Bill Ordine

Bill Ordine, senior journalist and columnist for, was a reporter and editor in news and sports for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore Sun for 25 years, and was a lead reporter on a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News. Bill started reporting on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for 10 years. He covered the World Series of Poker for a decade and his articles on gaming have appeared in many major U.S. newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald and others.

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