Stanislav Zegal is the winner of the first ever WSOP Paradise Main Event, winning $2,000,000 after entering the event as an online qualifier.
The German took down the $5,000 buy-in event after defeating 3,010 players to claim the biggest chunk of the almost $15 million prize pool.
I was so lucky, the cards just fell my way all the time. I think I played well too, but obviously tons of luck ...This is what you call life-changing money, I guess.”
Zegal told PokerNews that his poker journey began 18 years ago playing for the smallest micro-stakes. After a sporadic start to his career, he finally decided to make a concerted effort to improve in 2016 and then turn professional straight away.
"It was somewhat exhausting and needs to settle. You always make plans for when stuff like this happens, but then when it happens it’s so overwhelming.
“I guess I’m going to do something for myself, for my health more, study more poker and just enjoy the time (with) friends and family … But I won’t play higher. I felt comfortable here.”
The large field contained numerous high-profile figures from the poker world, but only Matt Glantz survived until the sharp end of the event.
Ultimately he was sent to the rail by Australia’s Daniel Neilson who then took a sizable chip lead into three-handed play.
But that didn’t last too long, because Zegal managed to flop like a deity with king-queen against the Ace-king of the Australian.
The Aussie then chanced his arm with a gutshot soon after, which ended badly. And then the heads-up battle we had all hoped for did not materialise after Michael Sklenicka bluffed a river with seven-high and it was all over.
Ty Stewart, SVP and Executive Director of the World Series of Poker, was beaming about how successful this inaugural series has been:
“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.”