Brian Rast Leads Alpha8 Las Vegas Final Table After Dream Day 2

Day 2 of Alpha8 Las Vegas was a great one for Brian Rast - and if he has another one on Saturday he could very well be $2.1 million richer. (Tim Fiorvanti photo)

Day 2 of Alpha8 Las Vegas was a great one for Brian Rast – and if he has another one on Saturday he could very well be $2.1 million richer. (Tim Fiorvanti photo)

A 13-hour Day 2 for WPT Alpha8 Las Vegas ended abruptly, with a bad beat sending recent Alpha8 St. Kitts champion Jason Mercier home in ninth place and cementing Brian Rast’s place as chipleader going into the official final table.

Who better than Mercier himself to describe how it all played out – all while laying out an ominous message for the two remaining players who are set to go home empty-handed.

Rast could do no wrong on Day 2. He busted Pratyush Buddiga early in the day with K K against 9 9, then doubled in a massive pot as his A A held off Ray Faltinsky’s A K. The key hand that pushed him into a lead he wouldn’t relinquish saw Rast shove all in on the river of a 7 3 2 A 5 board, in a pot against fellow big stack Jason Koon. Koon tanked for a long time before calling, then mucked when Rast showed pocket threes. Koon claimed to have a monster of his own.

After taking the last few chips from Koon’s stack, Rast slipped briefly as his A 6 lost to Mercier’s Q J. He got those chips back and then some after calling Dong Kim’s all in with K 3 on a K 7 2 T board. Kim had outs with A 6 but bricked, further building Rast’s stack with 11 players left.

The rapid-fire eliminations peaked when Rast flopped a jack to beat Mercier, giving him 4,551,000 going into Saturday’s final table. Andrew Lichtenberger will start second, while Jason Les and Bryn Kenney are tied for third – an unlikely scenario to say the least with stacks in the millions and 1,000 chips still in play. Tom Marchese and Brandon Steven will each have comfortable stacks when play resumes, but things are going to be a bit tight for Noah Schwartz and Phil Laak – especially Laak, who’ll have less than 15 big blinds.

Whichever two players are the first to go out will feel the sting of a $323,730 bubble. The champion, however, will end their 2014 with a $2.1 million payday – and six players will go home happy, to varying degrees.

1st – $2,104,245
2nd – $1,240,965
3rd – $755,370
4th – $539,550
5th – $431,640
6th – $323,730

That prizepool is based on 55 entries, which is what the field reach at the close of registration after Level 8. It was a bloody day to say the least, with Scott Seiver, Antonio Esfandiari, Sorel Mizzi and JC Tran among the many casualties; it was especially tough for Tran, who spent only a few minutes in the field before seeing his $100,000 buy-in go up in smoke.

Dan Colman also went out short of the money, but his spot at the top of the 2014 BLUFF Player of the Year race is basically mathematically unimpeachable. There’s a $50,000 Super High Roller at the Aria on Saturday, which Colman might play, but in any case he’s certainly earned the right to call it a year if he so chooses.

Play is set to resume at 12 pm PST Saturday at the Bellagio, and once play gets underway they won’t stop until they crown a WPT Alpha8 champion – making them $2.1 million richer.

WPT Alpha8 Las Vegas – Final Table Chip Counts

  1. Brian Rast – 4,551,000
  2. Andrew Lichtenberger – 2,904,000
  3. Jason Les – 2,384,000
  4. Bryn Kenney – 2,384,000
  5. Tom Marchese – 1,867,000
  6. Brandon Steven – 1,190,000
  7. Noah Schwartz – 774,000
  8. Phil Laak – 441,000
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Tim Fiorvanti

Tim Fiorvanti graduated from St. John's University with a B.S. in Journalism in 2008. After several years in the industry, he started working for BLUFF in the summer of 2010. He worked his way up at BLUFF and joined full time as a Senior Writer in April of 2012. Fiorvanti now serves as the Managing Editor of BLUFF. He's a tortured Mets and Jets fan, along with several other frustrating allegiances, but he's also a two-time defending BLUFF Fantasy Football Champion.
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