$125 to $2,000,000: How Stanislav Zegal ran it up at WSOP Paradise

Adam Hampton
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Posted on: December 19, 2023 1:35 pm EST

Tales of Chris Moneymaker’s ride from online satellite to WSOP Main Event champion were the fuel that fired the poker boom of the early 21st century. Earlier this week, 20 years and over 2,000 miles away from Moneymaker’s win in Las Vegas, we saw history repeating itself.

Stanislav Zegal outlasted over 3,000 players to win the first WSOP Main Event to be held in the Bahamas, winning $2 million for his troubles. And it all began with an online satellite at GGPoker and two very busy days in October.

Here’s how he did it.

WSOP Paradise winner Stanislav Zegal
Eyes on the prize: Stanislav Zegal gets ready for the final table

From logging in to ITM in two days

October 5: Zegal, a Germany-based pro who is still unlisted on Hendon Mob, buys in to a $125 satellite at GGPoker, awarding seats to a $1.2k WSOP package satellite. He wins the seat.

October 5: That same day, Zegal plays the $1.2k satellite and wins a package to play the $5,300 Main Event at the very first WSOP Paradise.

October 6: Zegal opts to use his entry to play the onlive Day 1 from home. He survives the day, making it through to Day 2 in the Bahamas, and past the money bubble, locking up a min-cash of over $8k.

December 12: Live in the Bahamas, Zegal joins up with the survivors of all the onlive Day 1s, plus four live starting flights, for Day 2. The $15 million guarantee has been met and Zegal ends the day with the 4th largest stack.

December 13: 59 players return for Day 3, and Zegal continues to dominate. By the end of play he has the joint-second biggest stack among the seven players returning for the final table. At this stage he has locked up a $300k payout.

December 14: Zegal outlasts a final table featuring Matt Glantz, Daniel Neilson and eventual runner-up Michael Sklenicka to take down the $2 million first prize and the coveted WSOP bracelet. The final hand sees him make a hero call with 4th pair to win the biggest prize of his life.

Zegal is no ‘mild-mannered accountant from Tennessee’, as he has been a pro since 2016, but hasn’t enjoyed success like this before. Whatever he does next, it’s always great to see someone walking the path from online satellite to world champion.

Images courtesy of GGPoker/WSOP