The World Poker Tour’ (WPT) new format, the Alpha8, has kicked off in style at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel Casino, Hollywood, Florida. The $100,000 buy-in re-entry event attracted 21 entrants to create a total prize pool of $2,026,500 and after 11 levels of play the event is down to its final nine players with Matt Glantz in the lead.
The WPT Alpha8 had a late registration that was capped for the beginning of Level Seven, but this was a $100,000 tournament. Who in their right mind would want to turn up late for a tournament of this magnitude? Well it appears quite a lot actually as the tournament started with only seven punctual players. That figure would rise to 11 by the time the first level had moved into father time, and amazingly both Philip Gruissem and Chris Klodnicki chose to enter with over six hours of play having passed.
Multiple WSOP bracelet winner, and WPT Champions Club member, Daniel Alaei had a day to remember. He must have been beaming when he flopped the second nuts holding [Qc] [Tc] on a board of [Kc] [9c] [5c]; such a shame then that Steve Silverman should be holding [Ac] [4c]. The money went in on the turn and the [3c], and [7c], finished things off to give us more clubs than you get on the wallpaper of Tiger Woods bedroom. Alaei crippled early.
Alaei then managed to double up through the luckless Dah Shak on three separate occasions before finally being pushed out of the door. Not to be outdone Alaei re-entered in time for the seventh level and suddenly the deck was loving him, as he all but eliminated Seidel holding [Ah] [9h] on [Qh] [3h] [2h], with Seidel holding [Kh] [4h]. Cheong would eliminate the New Yorker a few hands later.
The man who led from start to (nearly) finish was the current Global Poker Index (GPI) number one Jason Mercier, who took the early scalp of Andy Lichtenberger when his ace-king flopped an ace when all-in against the pocket sevens of LuckyChewy. Then to prove that luck also rides alongside skill, Mercier rivered a boat when all-in against the flopped straight of Isaac Haxton to send him to the rail – Haxton immediately re-entering and finished the day with 44bb. Then Mercier eliminated Daniel Perper AQ v AJ; Perper one of three players who chose to buy in twice.
As previously stated, Chris Klodnicki and Philip Gruissem were the two players to enter late, and neither of them is in the draw for the final nine. Gruissem was crippled in a three way all-in that saw Matt Glantz take the chip lead and Brandon Steven head out of the door. It was pocket aces for Steven, pocket jacks for Glantz and pocket tens for the German. A jack in the box doing all of the damage and Gruissem was eliminated by Glantz a few short hands later.
Klodnicki’s exit would come at the hands of Jeff Gross. After flopping top pair with [Kx] [Qx], he proceeded to barrel into the waiting arms of Gross who was sat holding [Ax] [Kx], including a shove on the river. A quicker $100k Klodnicki may not have spent. Gross made the final nine with 28bb.
The Day Two action will continue at noon (local time) and play will go all the way to the wire. Live updates can be found at WPT.com.
WPT Alpha8 Chip Counts
1. Matt Glantz – 410,500
2. Jason Mercier – 375,500
3. Steven Silverman – 372,500
4. Daniel Alaei – 293,500
5. Isaac Haxton – 218,500
6. Jeff Gross – 140,500
7. Joseph Cheong – 106,000
8. JC Tran – 94,000
9. Bill Perkins – 89,000