The first WSOP Paradise starts

Atlantis paradise island

The World Series of Poker’s newest entrant, WSOP Paradise, kicks off this weekend in the Bahamas. [Image:]

Another WSOP festival

It’s a historic weekend for the World Series of Poker as the first-ever WSOP Paradise begins. Taking place December 3-14 on Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas, WSOP Paradise features 15 Gold Bracelet events and guaranteed prize pools of over $50 million.

Caesars Entertainment wants to capitalize on the success of the traditional 2023 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, which has broken all kinds of records. What is particularly noteworthy is that the field of participants in the Main Event exceeded the 10,000 mark (10,043) for the first time, breaking the previous record of 8,773 from 2006.

Will players care enough about a wristband to travel to the Bahamas?

But while tournament organizers are banking on players looking forward to more WSOP, they’re also risking World Series fatigue and the perceived dilution of a bracelet’s value. This summer’s World Series of Poker awarded 95 live bracelets and 34 online bracelets, plus another 74 across all sites for the WSOP Online, 15 for the recently concluded WSOP Europe and now 15 more for the WSOP Paradise. Will players care enough about a wristband to travel to the Bahamas? We will see.

Poker players have to make travel decisions

WSOP Paradise is also a risky move for Caesars as it overlaps with the two biggest year-end poker festivals: EPT Prague and WPT World Championship. The EPT Prague takes place from December 6th to 17th, the main event from December 11th to 17th. The WPT World Championship Festival began on November 29th and the highly anticipated $40 million championship event will take place from December 12th to 21st.

The WPT World Championship was the overwhelming choice

This means poker players have to make a difficult decision about which festival to attend, or make careful planning to try to attend more than one. David Lappin spoke to 21 poker pros this fall to find out their plans, and the WPT World Championship was the overwhelming choice. Although they all generally enjoy EPT Prague, even European players were looking forward to the big WPT event and everyone loves the Wynn.

The WSOP, for its part, has highly praised the professionals and celebrities who have agreed to take part in the WSOP Paradise. Among them are Phil Hellmuth, who would of course be aiming for his 18th bracelet, Daniel Negreanu, who is a GGPoker ambassador and therefore must be there, 2006 WSOP Main Event champion Jamie Gold and this year’s Main Event winner Daniel Weinman.

Change terms

WSOP Paradise was also the center of controversy. One of the more interesting events on the schedule is the first to utilize GGPoker’s OnLive format, with Day 1 taking place online so players know they are in the money when they continue the tournament live in the Bahamas.

However, as David Lappin reported, a few months after the schedule was announced, the Main Event was also converted to an OnLive tournament without any official announcement from the WSOP or GGPoker. An immediate consequence of this, David said, is that it makes the tournament even more difficult.

Therefore the guarantee is not a real guarantee

But more importantly, as David and others have noted, those who qualify for Day 2 of the $15 million guaranteed Main Event and go straight into the money will receive a $6,500 accommodation package for theirs Bahamas trip. This sounds fantastic until you read the fine print and see that the prize packages come directly from the prize pool and therefore the guarantee is not a real guarantee.


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