Stanislav Zegal emerged victorious in the inaugural WSOP Paradise Main Event, clinching the title and a life-changing $2,000,000 prize. Zegal’s journey to the top began with an online qualification on GGPoker, leading him to the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, where he outlasted a massive field of 3,010 players.
Reflecting on his win in a winner’s interview with PokerNews, Zegal humbly acknowledged the role of fortune in his success: “I was so lucky, the cards just fell my way all the time. I think I played well too, but obviously (there’s) tons of luck … This is what you call life-changing money, I guess.”
The final hurdle for Zegal was overcoming Czech Republic’s Michael Sklenicka in a heads-up battle for the bracelet. The heads-up match commenced with Zegal holding a substantial 3:1 chip lead over Sklenicka, following the elimination of Day 3 chip leader Daniel Neilson in 3rd place. Zegal quickly expanded his lead, and despite a near double-up opportunity for Sklenicka with AJ against Zegal’s A9, the pot was ultimately split.
The final hand saw Sklenicka raising with 73s and Zegal defending with J4, affectionately known as “The Robbi.” The flop came T24, followed by Zegal check-calling Sklenicka’s c-bet. The turn brought a Q, and both players checked. The 5 on the river prompted Zegal to check again, leading to Sklenicka’s all-in bluff. After several minutes of contemplation, Zegal made the call, thus securing his victory in the WSOP Paradise Main Event.
2023 WSOP Paradise Main Event Final Table Results
The WSOP Paradise festival has been heralded as a resounding success, meeting and exceeding expectations. All tournaments hit their guarantees, with a promised total prize pool of $50 million, eventually surpassing $70 million. GGPoker’s commitment to sending 1000 players to the Bahamas aided this achievement.
Ty Stewart, SVP and Executive Director of the World Series of Poker, commented on the event’s success: “From hall of famers winning bracelets to celebrity sightings and a classic Phil Hellmuth entrance to the Main Event, WSOP Paradise exceeded even our own lofty expectations and became the final highlight of an incredible year. We thank every player who made the trip to the Bahamas to be part of the action and launch our newest tradition, Winter in Paradise.”
WSOP Paradise also attracted familiar faces from the sports world, including 2023 Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Tony Parker, two-time WNBA Champion Becky Hammon, soccer legend Sergio Agüero, and FS1’s Nick Wright.
Notably, Parker cashed in his first live poker tournament in the Mini Main Event, and Agüero competed alongside Daniel Negreanu at the Main Event’s feature table. This excitement builds on the WSOP’s banner year, which saw a record-breaking attendance for its Main Event in Las Vegas, continuing the legacy first set by Jamie Gold’s historic win in 2006.
The inaugural WSOP Paradise has set a high bar for future events, creating unforgettable moments and proving a worthy addition to the WSOP’s storied history.