There’s some serious money to be won at a big tournament like this, and that attracts lots of professional players, like “Homeless Millionaire” Faraz Jaka, Twitch poker wiz Doug Polk and Josh Beckley, the second place finisher in the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event. But since so many players won their trip to Punta Cana in online satellite tournaments, there’s a lot more recreational players living the dream at their very first live tournament. I talked to a few of them at the beach party Saturday night.
“It’s been great, you can’t beat it!” said a tournament newbie Scott McKenzie from California. “For just $50 I won a $4900 package playing The Beast tournament one Sunday night. I cashed out my buy-in and hit forty-first place, so it’s just been a great overall experience."
"This is my first big tournament so I was really nervous. Everyone told me I was playing way too tight -- but I think that’s a great thing to hear from the best in the world!”
“Anyone can do it! If I’m here, I’m living proof. It’s a great time – you’ve got to come!”
This was also a first for John and Raquel from Pittsburgh.
“I played a tournament, The Beast” said John. “Every Sunday, for $50, you’ve got a chance to win it. I figured, let’s give it a shot!”
“This is a once in a lifetime experience. I’ve always wanted to go somewhere to play a big tournament like this. I wasn’t thinking here though! I was thinking maybe Denver or somewhere like that. This is just out of the world for me!”
“I actually got into the Caribbean ocean!” said Raquel. “All the way up to my chin – that’s a first for me!
Congrats to the winners -- hasta la vista!