WSOP Paradise: Stanislav Zegal wins inaugural Main Event for $2,000,000

Mo Afdhal
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Posted on: December 14, 2023 11:46 pm EST

You’ve got, company Daniel Weinman. It’s time to share the spotlight with the first-ever, newly-crowned World Series of Poker Paradise Main Event champion: Stanislav Zegal.

Zegal outlasted the field of 3,010 entrants on his way to a historic victory, taking home the top prize of $2,000,000 and the coveted WSOP Paradise Main Event bracelet.

The German professional qualified for the Main Event online via GGPoker and, like Moneymaker before him, rode that wave of momentum all the way to glory. Zegal defeated fellow European Michael Sklenicka, of the Czech Republic, in the heads-up portion of the event to win the title.

WSOP Paradise main event bracelet 2023

A quick start

Day 3 action saw the field shrink down to a final table of nine players, two of whom bowed out in the early morning hours yesterday before play ended.

The seven remaining players returned this afternoon to play down to a winner. Australia’s Daniel Neilson held the chip lead to start, while Zegal sat squarely in the middle of the pack. The action got off to a quick start on Day 4 with the United Kingdom’s Montgomery McQuade making his exit on just the second hand dealt. McQuade committed his short stack with K-Q and got action from Matt Glantz’s pocket fours. A flopped set for Glantz spelled disaster for McQuade and his day ended early with a seventh place finish.

Brazil’s Gabriel Schroeder found himself on a short stack and in need of a double. Schroeder stuck the last of his chips in with K-6 suited. Sklenicka isolated Schroeder with a re-raise, holding A-7 suited, and the two players went to a runout that came ace-high, dashing the Brazilian’s hopes for a double up and ending his day in sixth place.

Rui Sousa, of Portugal, exited in fifth place when he took a high variance line in a hand against Sklenicka, four-betting jamming with Q-9 suited. Unfortunately for Sousa, he was dominated by Sklenicka’s A-Q and, despite flopping a straight draw, could not improve to win the hand.

Zegal emerges victorious

Four-handed play saw Sklenicka assume the chip lead, but the action, or the eliminations at least, slowed noticeably as the payouts loomed larger and larger. Glantz, on the short stack, managed to survive and find a full double when his pocket sixes ran into Neilson’s pocket aces. A six on the turn kept Glantz alive, but not for much longer. Neilson got his revenge, eliminating Glantz in fourth place, when his A-Q downed Glantz’s K-Q.

Zegal took control three-handed when he out-flopped Neilson in a massive pot, making top two pair against the Aussie’s top pair. The pot propelled the German into an overwhelming chip lead and he never looked back from there. Neilson, now on the short stack, took a gamble with the last of his chips after flopping a gut-shot straight draw against Sklenicka’s two pair. The draw didn’t come home, however, and Neilson’s day ended in a third place finish.

The heads-up portion of play saw Zegal leading by in the chip counts by a healthy margin, but Sklenicka came to play. The two battled back and forth before Zegal drew first blood, winning a sizable pot with two pair against Sklenicka’s inferior pocket pair. A lucky break for Zegal saw the two players chop a pot that perhaps should have gone Sklenicka’s way.

The final hand saw Sklenicka fire off an audacious river bluff, putting Zegal and his fourth pair to the ultimate test by moving all-in. The German went deep into the tank, thinking long, perhaps trying to get a read off of Sklenicka in the process. Eventually, he stuck the chips in the middle to win the tournament and his first WSOP bracelet.

Main Event Final Table payouts

PlacePlayerPrize (USD)
1Stanislav Zegal (Germany)$2,000,000
2Michael Sklenicka (Czech Republic)$1,200,000
3Daniel Neilson (Australia)$900,000
4Matt Glantz (United States)$685,000
5Rui Sousa (Portugal)$510,000
6Gabriel Schroeder (Brazil)$400,000
7Montgomery McQuade (United Kingdom)$300,000
8Luke Graham (United States)$250,000
9Junior Guelpa (Brazil)$200,000

Images Courtesy of WSOP