WSOP Paradise Results: Jin Hoon Lee Gets Inaugural Bracelet, Mello Wins $1 Million

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The World Series of Poker (WSOP) Paradise series got underway late last week and, as well as some fun in the Bahamian sun, two players have turned small buy-ins into big wins.

Jin Hoon Lee won the first ever WSOP Paradise bracelet and $420,000 after topping a field of 3,446 entrants in the Bahamas. (Image: WSOP)

WSOP Paradise kicked off on December 3 with a $1,500 Mystery Millions event. The prospect of a $5 million guarantee, coupled with mystery bounties, saw the number of entries reach 3,446 across five starting flights.

That pushed the prizepool to $5.1 million, which meant the 34 players who returned for Day 3 were playing for a top prize of $420,000. Among those vying for the first ever WSOP Paradise bracelet was Phil Hellmuth, but not even he could stop Jin Hoon Lee from claiming the winner’s trophy.

Jin Hoon Lee wins first WSOP Paradise bracelet

Lee had the eighth biggest stack heading into the final session on December 7. However, with plenty of WSOP veterans still in the mix, including Hellmuth, Davidi Kitai, and Maria Ho, victory wasn’t guaranteed.

Indeed, as the field thinned, it was Ho who piled on the pressure. She eliminated five out of nine players at the final table and, for a while, looked to be the champion in waiting. The poker gods had other ideas though. With the blinds taking their toll on everyone’s stack, something had to give.

Ho eventually took her opportunity to eliminate another player when Lee limped from the small blind. Ho moved all-in with pocket fours and, after deliberating his options, Lee called with A♥ 9♣. The J♦ 5♥ 6♣ flop was safe for Ho, but the A♦ swung the advantage in Lee’s favor. An inconsequential 6♠ on the river put things beyond doubt.

WSOP Paradise Mystery Millions result

  1. Jin Hoon Lee – $420,000
  2. Max Pinnola – $257,100
  3. Maria Ho – $200,000
  4. Konstantin Maslak – $160,000
  5. Drew Scott – $127,000
  6. Thomas Santerne – $101,000
  7. Kartik Ved – $80,000
  8. Davidi Kitai – $64,000
  9. Hyunsup Kim – $51,000

With Ho’s stack decimated, it wasn’t long before she was forced to make a move. Lee finished what he started and, with that, he had a commanding chip lead with two players left. Max Pinnola might have been down but he certainly wasn’t out. He quickly snatched the chip lead from Lee, but pocket kings put him back in control a few hands later.

Lee never looked back from that point on. The final hand saw Pinnola move all-in with K♠ 4♦ only to see Lee call with a dominating K♦ 9♠. No help from the board meant Pinnola hit the rail in second, leaving Lee to claim his first bracelet, $420,000, and the inaugural WSOP Paradise title.

Allan Mello seizes his opportunity to win WSOP gold

Next to step into the spotlight and turn a relatively small buy-in into a significant sum of money was Allan Mello. He joined 3,495 other entries in the $1,425 hybrid Millionaire Maker event. The first stages of the tournament took place online on GGPoker.

100 players made it through to the live stage of the tournament, meaning they got to ante up at Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. Some familiar faces made it through the online portion of the tournament, including WSOP bracelet winners Barry Hutter, Artur Martirosian, and Alexandros Kolonias.

WSOP Paradise Millionaire Maker result

  1. Allan Mello – 1,000,000
  2. Nazar Buhaiov – $593,500
  3. Morten Norland – $263,500
  4. Maksim Vaskresenski – $158,500
  5. Maxime Parys – $128,000
  6. Clemen Deng – $103,500
  7. Kasparas Klezys – 81,100
  8. Arnaud Enselme – $65,000
  9. Roland Israelashvili – $50,000

Mello was the man in form though. He’s primarily an online poker player, but knew he had a golden opportunity when play started in the Bahamas.

As he told members of the media after winning his first bracelet and $1 million, it was all about timing. Mello knew he was running hot so just tried to play every hand the best he could. That strategy certainly worked as he came through an intense heads-up battle against Nazar Buhaiov to claim the biggest win of his career.

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