“They’ve got this poker thing figured out down here @WSOPAruba.”

So tweeted Garry Gates over the weekend. The Senior Manager Player Relations manager for PokerStars Live was referring to the beautiful locale and hospitable hosts of the World Series of Poker International Circuit Aruba series going on right now at the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino.

The quote might be reapplied to Gates himself, actually. After all, just a couple of days after his earlier tweet, he was tweeting again, and it was more good news from the island:

The victory continues what has been an incredible year for Gates at the poker tables. Or half-year, really, dating back to a few cashes in June in World Series of Poker preliminary events, then in July his thrilling ride to the the WSOP Main Event final table where Gates ultimately finished fourth out of 8,569 players to win $3 million.

Gates earned his first WSOP Circuit ring for topping the one-day $300 8-Max. No-Limit Hold’em Re-Entry event that played out Monday afternoon and evening, one of 10 events on the 10-day schedule with the $1,700 Main Event kicking off on Thursday.

The WSOP International Circuit goes to the Caribbean (The Casino Aruba at Hilton/Facebook)

“We’re having an absolute blast down here in Aruba,” Gates told us this morning. The WSOP started its International Circuit back in 2015, but this is the first time they’ve taken the show to Aruba.

“When I learned the WSOP was planning a Circuit event here, I asked Marissa, ‘How do you feel about Aruba in November?’ She looked at me like I was crazy and said, ‘Do you really need me to answer that?'”

The schedule is such that players are able to enjoy both the poker and the warm weather, the latter especially inviting this time of year as many of us edge closer to winter.

“They’re treating us all so well down here,” says Gates. “All of the tournaments start at 2 p.m., so you can get some beach time before you play. We’re already planning next year’s trip.”

“Winning my first Circuit ring is the icing on the cake,” he says. Gates topped a field of around 110 entries to win the tournament and a first prize of $8,241.

GG in Seat 3: Event #6 final table action at WSOP Aruba (The Casino Aruba at Hilton/Facebook)

The final episodes from the WSOP Main Event final table are currently airing on the ESPN networks, which meant last night Gates was in the curious position of seeing himself play two final tables at once — one in the past and one in the present.

“They had the replay of the Main Event playing on one of the screens, and a feed of the Circuit event live stream playing a few feet over,” he explains. “It was a little weird seeing my face on two TV’s at once.”

“I’m still getting used to that part. It’s been one hell of a year!”

That it has. As we did back in July, we’re glad to get to say it again — GG, GG!

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