WSOP Paradise Crowns First Champion as Allan Mello Wins Event #2: $1,500 Millionaire Maker
It took over 15 and a half hours of play, but Brazil's Allan Mello won his first bracelet and $1,000,000 by taking down Event #2: $1,500 Millionaire Maker at 2023 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Paradise in The Bahamas. The Brazilian defeated Ukraine's Nazar Buhaiov after a heads-up exchange that saw the two trading leads back and forth for several hours before Mello picked off a bluff to come out on top.
The hybrid-format Millionaire Maker drew 3,496 online runners on GGPoker for a prize pool of $5,233,000 as 100 players advanced to the live felt at Atlantis Resort. Those 100 players included final tablists Maxime Parys (5th - $128,000), Arnaud Enselme (8th - $65,000) and all-time WSOP cash leader Roland Israelashvili (9th - $50,000).
Event #2: $1,500 Millionaire Maker Final Table Results
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After becoming a millionaire through an intense day of grinding, Mello, who is primarily an online player, told PokerNews he was both excited and "tired."
"I cant believe I won this," he said in a winner's interview. "I dreamed of this. Finally, I got my first bracelet and my biggest win of $1 million! So I am very happy.
Though the day dragged late into the next morning, Mello noted that "everything was going well all day long."
"I was just trying to play my best," he said. "And I was running hot, so I just needed to do my best and wait to see if I keep running hot (to) win the tournament.
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Millionaire Maker Action
The 100 players who made it to the live portion of the tournament were all in the money and guaranteed a payday of at least $5,000. Some of the early casualties included bracelet winners Barry Hutter (100th - $5,000), David Miscikowski (79th - $5,000), Alexandros Kolonias (70th - $6,000) and Artur Martirosian (69th - $6,000).
There were no shortage of highlights across the day, including when Allan Mello cracked the aces of rising high-stakes starLeon Sturm as he flopped a set of tens before improving to quads on the river.
Not two hours later, history repeated itself as Abdulla Ceesvin had his aces cracked by the queens of Clemen Deng, who flopped a set of queens before the turn brought another lady to give him quads for an emphatic double.
The unofficial final table of ten was formed before the elimination of Hongru Zhang as players moved under the bright lights of the feature table. First out at the official final table was all-time WSOP cash leader Israelashvili, who extended his record to 464 cashes as he came up short of his first bracelet.
Deng's run-good ended as his Big Slick not only failed to make quads, but lost out to the queen-ten of Mello as the American fell in sixth place for $103,500. Frenchman Maxime Parys was next to go when he three-bet jammed with queen-nine and failed to improve as Buhaiov snapped him off with ace-eight.
The elimination of Poland's Maksim Vaskresenski in fourth place set up a three-handed battle that saw Norway's Morten Norland and Buhaiov battling for another ladder. Buhaiov won the laddering war as his kings dominated Morten's eights to send the Norwegian out in third for $263,500.
The heads-up battle between Mello and Buhaiov dragged on for hours as they exchanged chip leads and their respective rails traded barbs. Both players doubled through one another at different points before Mello built up a lead to have Buhaiov on the ropes.
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In a final confrontation, Buhaiov got to the river with just ten-high and opted to bluff before Mello sniffed it out with third pair to win a million dollars and his first bracelet. In the wake of the seven-figure victory, Mello's mind was on his girlfriend and fellow Brazilians on the rail.
I love them, Im happy that they are here to rail me and help me," he said. "When I lose a pot, they are with me; when I win a pot, they are with me. And thats more important to me than the bracelet.
That wraps up the PokerNews live reporting team's coverage of Event #2: $1,500 Millionaire Maker here in the sunny and humid Bahamas. Be sure to check out the live reporting portal for coverage of other events here at Atlantis Resort.