Inaugural WSOP Paradise Kicks Off In The Bahamas

The newest World Series of Poker entry, WSOP Paradise, gets going in the Bahamas this weekend. [Image:]

Another WSOP festival It is an historic weekend for the World Series of Poker, as the first-ever WSOP Paradise gets underway. Running December 3-14 at Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas, WSOP Paradise will feature 15 gold bracelet events and over $50m in guaranteed prize pools.

Caesars Entertainment is looking to capitalize on the success of the traditional 2023 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, which broke all sorts of records. Most notably, the Main Event field eclipsed the 10,000-entrant mark for the first time (10,043), shattering the previous record of 8,773, set in 2006.

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

But while tournament organizers are banking on players being excited about more WSOP, they are also risking World Series fatigue and the perceived dilution of the value of a bracelet. There were 95 live bracelets and 34 online bracelets awarded at this summer’s World Series of Poker, plus another 74 on all sites for the WSOP Online, plus 15 for the recently completed WSOP Europe, and now 15 more for WSOP Paradise. Will players care enough about a bracelet to travel to the Bahamas? We shall see.

Poker players must make travel decisions WSOP Paradise is also a risky move for Caesars because it overlaps with the two biggest end-of-the-year poker festivals: EPT Prague and the WPT World Championship. EPT Prague is slated for December 6-17, with the Main Event December 11-17. The WPT World Championship festival started November 29 and the highly-anticipated $40m guaranteed Championship event runs December 12-21.

WPT World Championship was the overwhelming choice

Which means that poker players will have to make a tough decision on which festival to attend or do some careful scheduling to try to get to more than one. David Lappin talked to 21 poker pros this fall to see what their plans were and the WPT World Championship was the overwhelming choice. Though they all generally like EPT Prague, even European players were looking forward to the grand WPT event and everyone loves the Wynn.

For its part, the WSOP has been hyping the pros and celebrities who have committed to attending WSOP Paradise. Among them are Phil Hellmuth, who of course would want to go after his 18th bracelet, Daniel Negreanu, who is a GGPoker ambassador and thus pretty much has to attend, 2006 WSOP Main Event champ Jamie Gold, and this year’s Main Event winner Daniel Weinman.

Changing terms WSOP Paradise has also been the center of controversy. One of the more interesting events on the schedule is the first one, which uses GGPoker’s OnLive format, in which Day 1 is online, thus allowing players to know they are in the money by the time they continue the tournament live in the Bahamas.

As David Lappin reported, though, the Main Event was also changed to an OnLive tournament a couple months after the schedule was announced, with no official announcement from the WSOP or GGPoker. An immediate consequence of this, David said, is that it makes the tournament that much more difficult.

making the guarantee not a real guarantee

But more importantly, as David and others noticed, those who qualify for Day 2 of the $15m guaranteed Main Event, and thus jump right into the money, will receive a $6,500 accommodations package for their Bahamas trip. This sounds fantastic, until one continues with the fine print to see that the prize packages are coming directly from the prize pool, thus making the guarantee not a real guarantee.