After the 15 bracelets were around the winner's wrists, we asked players about the new 2023 WSOP Paradise series in the Bahamas.
We needed to know if it was a profitable series, how players spent their time between tournaments, and what the biggest moments were. Some got sandy with Bahamian pigs, chased dreams of WSOP victories, and saw plenty of vicious bad beats.
One of the draws to this WSOP series is the tropical scenery, but $50+ million in guarantees was just as tantalizing.
The Main Event Championship had $15 million in the prize pool, with $2 million going to Stanislav Zegal, who closed the event with a huge hero call. Many players had unforgettable experiences during the series, which ran in the first two weeks of December, just before New Year.
Let's hear from some players.
How many tournaments did you play?
6 tournaments – Mystery Millions for $1,650, 3 entries in Mini Main for $1,100, 6-max for $3,300, Main for $5,300 and Closer for $2,200.
How did you end the WSOP Paradise series?
+$450 after $15,750 in buy-ins! 😭
If it weren't for the $16,200 main, things would have been very bad. And it's still bad.
What was your impression of the Bahamas event?
New stages with greater guarantees in interesting places are always great. The WPT in Vegas and the EPT in Prague ran parallel with this series. Both of these series were quite successful, which is good for the players – it is always nice when there are options. I liked the work of the staff and the new WSOP+ application (very convenient, it would be great if they used something like this on all series).
The schedule didn’t always work, so sometimes, there was nothing to play.
What was the most dramatic hand you remember?
It wasn't dramatic, but it was funny. I made a mini-raise from the button with a 48k stack in the main and got called by the SB. The BB squeezed 27k and then folded to my all-in. Merry Christmas!
What was the most cunning move you saw at the tables?
Nobody can run over me because I always show up from below.
What was the highlight of this series for you?
Meeting with participants of the GGPoker Game of Gold show.
How many times did you swim in the sea?
Once! The weather was bad and the wind was wild!
What did you do besides skating?
Played poker against the dealer (Ultimate Texas Holdem). The dealer won because you can't bluff in this game 😕
What was your main achievement?
Got a Bahamas flag on my Hendon Mob page. I couldn’t make money here for a long time and it finally happened!
Best photo of the trip?
With Sergio Aguero! (Argentine footballer, ex-Manchester City star )
Oleg Wh1teBaron // Telegram: Freeroll Up to $ Million Wh1tebaron
How long did you play in the 2023 WSOP series and how did you finish?
I entered 15 tournaments and the result was -$127,730.
What was your impression of the series?
The organization is garbage. At one point, $50k was debited from my account, and it took two days and a bunch of people to get it back. There are queues at the buffet, which only has a couple of dishes and is open for four hours a day. The Mystery Bounty tournament started an hour and a half late, and then, paused for another 40 minutes until the director said that we had another 30-minute break. Poor snacks for money and they won’t even bring water to the table for free. We also came to cheer for a friend, but they turned us away since there was no fan zone provided. In the first days, there were no broadcasts, although the guys played for a bracelet.
What was the most dramatic hand?
Each one where I was eliminated from $26k tournaments.
There was also a funny one:
After a UTG raise, we shove 18bb with . After much thought, the opponent found a call with in the Bounty tournament. This was the last tournament of the series, so many people no weren't entering it, but a 20% overlay was formed. My friends just invited me to celebrate the end of the series. In general, I didn’t mind flying out.
The board came out . The grandfatherlike-opponent begins to whine, saying "How can this be?" a lot and complaining about how unfair everything is. I begin to call for the five. The turn is a . I cast rationality aside and supported my elderly opponent to the end. I called for four and it worked! The river was a . The wizard (that is, me) goes to his friends, and the table laughs. I've never had such fun before.
What was the worst part?
How much time I spent on the road – 50+ hours there and 40 back.
Can you remember any highlights?
The Dilly Club is an amazing place with a Bahamian vibe. Jogging along the seashore, seeing sharks sleeping together just like cats do, and also fiercely spicy chips, but I forgot the name.
How many times have you swam in the sea?
What did you do besides in the Bahamas other than playing poker?
I went to the gym almost every day and went jogging a couple of times.
What was your biggest achievement in this series?
That I didn't tilt in some situations.
How long did you play and how did you finish?
I entered 7 tournaments, but with rebuys, there were 12 entries.
Buy-ins – $17,250
Prizes – $38,570
Hotel – $6,500
What's your impression of the WSOP Paradise series?
In terms of lineups and tournaments, the series was excellent, but there were a lot of problems. Either the structure changed during the game, or the tournament was delayed, or there was no Wi-Fi in the hall, or something else.
But there were also many advantages, for example, they made a very convenient WSOP+ application. Through it, you can make buy-ins and receive cashouts almost instantly by any method. In seconds you can register without a queue, get a seat, and immediately go play. I am sure that next time the organizers will correct a lot of things and the event will be even better. The dealers worked well, unlike the VSOP in Vegas.
What was one highlight of this series for you?
I sat at the WSOP finals and fought for the bracelet. The dream was close, but I was a little unlucky. 8th place in The Closer tournament for $2,200. We'll leave it for next time...
How many times have you swam?
If you count both the sea and the pool, then exactly 5-7 times.
What did you do besides poker?
I was relaxing with my family on the slides in the water park, by the sea. We went to the island of pigs and turtles and had fun with the guys a couple of times.
Biggest achievement of the series?
I managed to show my son a place on the edge of the Bahamas where I proposed to his mother 9 years ago when he was not with us yet.
Andrey Kotelnikov // Telegram: Fighting with Shadows or Playing with Yourself
I didn’t play poker, but beat the casino at craps and partied with pigs.
The trip program included eating, drinking, riding a yacht, playing in a casino, and meeting with dear friends.
I also swam every day; the beaches of the Bahamas are simply gorgeous.
Any achievements during the series?
I taught Anatoliy Zlotnikov to play craps.
How many times did you play?
I entered 10 tournaments including re-entries.
How did you finish the series?
Down approximately $50,000.
What was your impression of the new series?
The organization was lame, especially in the first days of the series, but the organizers made a very convenient WSOP+ application.
Most dramatic hand?
We raise the Cutoff with , up to 2.5k and Nick Maimone calls. Effective stacks are around 250bb and we see a flop of . He checks and I bet 55% pot, which he calls. The turn is a and he checks. I bet 75% and Nick calls. On the river, my opponent leads for 66% pot. I thought and folded, and Nick threw a on the table.
Side note: Nick Maimone once took home $300,000 in an online WSOP tournament hosted by GGPoker.
The dirtiest move you saw?
The last hand of the series in a $10k tournament where I lost with vs .
The most striking impression of the series
– A trip to the island to visit the Pigs 🐷
– Playing roulette with Sanya Zubov 😀
How many times did you go to the sea?
I managed without them on this trip 💩
How long did you play and how did you finish?
I played in 7 tournaments at a loss of -$30,350.
Do you have any impressions from the series?
I have questions for the organization; I like the WPT better.
What was the most dramatic hand?
In the deep main in a 3-bet pot on the river, I had to bet-fold with top pair in a situation where I very rarely expect to see a raise. I had to throw it away, but it was terribly disgusting.
Tell us about the dirtiest move you saw.
Didn't happen to me. The ladies ( ) went up against preflop. The flop is , but the ladies couldn’t win in the end. The dealer showed a and next.
What was the most vivid memory from the WSOP Paradise tournament?
A quick elimination on the second day of the main. I started it with 48bb with two sitouts at the table.
How many times did you swim?
Once at night in the ocean and three times in the pool.
What did you do, besides play poker?
Spent time with family and friends. I watched “The Boy’s Word” 😁
The first time I played chess with a clock, there was only a minute without adding time. Alexandra Botez took me out without a chance, but it was fun)
I didn’t focus on the shortcomings of the Bahamas and the series but instead, accepted them.
Here are some other highlights of the 2023 WSOP in the Bahamas, including a visit from Posiedon himself.
- In the Mystery Millions for $1.5k, Konstantin Maslak performed best of GipsyTeam members, finishing in fourth place and earning $160k.
- Jeremy Dan pulled out the biggest bounty of $500,000 and started running around the hall to celebrate, looking like someone who just won a billion dollars.
- Nazar Bugaev from Ukraine was one step away from a million and became a runner-up in Millionaire Maker for $1.5k. The prize for second place was $593,000.
- Artur Martirosyan won another title in the $800 Flip & Go tournament and received $110k. Arthur entered heads-up with a four-fold deficit but quickly managed to close the gap.
- Phil Hellmuth continued the Vegas tradition and crawled out of the sea on Maine in the form of Poseidon, accompanied by mermaids and an orchestra. However, this did not help him win another bracelet.
- The new main champion is Stanislav Zegal, who speaks Russian but has lived in Germany for a long time. He received $2 million and respect from the community for the epic hero call he made in the last hand. Catch the final hand in its entirety at 3:58:10 and watch Zegal squirm for a few minutes.