Philipp Gruissem Goes Back-to-Back with Alpha8 St. Kitts Win

Philipp Gruissem went back-to-back in Alpha8 events. (Photo c/o WPT)

Philipp Gruissem went back-to-back in Alpha8 events. (Photo c/o WPT)

The WPT Alpha8 Saint Kitts event was the most successful stop yet of the young tour with 23 players creating 28 entries. Philipp Gruissem went back-to-back and won the event for $1.08 million after winning the London Alpha8 less than a month ago.

Importantly for Gruissem, the event qualified for the 2013 BLUFF Player of the Year points and he moved in second place overall with the win behind Daniel Negreanu in the standings. Gruissem is the second person to break the 1,000 point barrier and could be a real threat to Negreanu’s lead with several large events remaining on the calendar.

The third stop of the Alpha8 tour was created rather quickly and sandwiched in between the London event and upcoming South Africa event. Billionaire businessman and poker player Bill Perkins owns a home on St. Kitts and played host to those in attendance.

The star-studded final table of eight first had to whittled down from 16 returning players for Day 2. Fellow Germans Tobias Reinkemeier and Max Altergott, Jeff Gross, Antonio Esfandiari and Alpha8 Florida winner Steven Silverman all bowed out before the final table.

Tom McDonald brought the chip lead to the final table followed by Mike McDonald, Jason Koon and Scott Seiver. Isaac Haxton, Fabian Quoss, Gruissem and Timothy Adams rounded out the table.

The button passed around the table three times before Quoss opened, Haxton shoved from the big blind and Quoss called with pocket tens. Haxton tabled pocket jacks, watched the board run his way and Quoss was free to enjoy the beach for the rest of the day.

Just a few hands later Haxton went to a flop of 9 8 6 with Seiver, Tom and Mike McDonald. Mike check-raised Haxton all in with a set of sixes and Haxton held jacks again, but needed help to survive. The board bricked Q 7 and Haxton was the second player eliminated inside of ten minutes.

The remaining six players played just under 20 hands to reach the money. Adams was the last player eliminated without collecting at the cage after he moved in on the button preflop. Mike McDonald called from the big blind holding A K and Adams was in a bad spot with K Q. The board ran nine-high and McDonald’s ace was enough to earn the knockout and pop the money bubble.

Just two hands later Seiver got involved with Gruissem on a 9 7 4 9 8 board. All the money went in on the river and Gruissem tabled pocket sevens for a full house. Seiver mucked his hand and was out in fifth place.

The action didn’t slow and ten hand later Koon was all in preflop with A K against Mike McDonald’s pocket nines. The board ran J J 5 8 2, Koon’s cards failed to connect and he bowed out in fourth place.

Then the long slow crawl of watching up payout jumps set in and the table played  three-handed for over three hours. Tom McDonald opened, Mike McDonald moved all in from the big blind and Tom called with A 7. Mike turned up pocket deuces and watched his lead slip away when the flop gave Tom a pair of sevens. Mike’s deuces never improved and he was out in third place.

Gruissem and Tom McDonald played just 25 hands of heads-up before Gruissem open-shoved setting McDonald all in preflop. He thought for a while before he called with A 6. Gruissem tabled A 5 and hit his miracle card on the flop when it fell J 5 4. McDonald needed a six or runner-runner to stave of elimination but the door closed when K T completed the board.

WPT Alpha8 St. Kitts Payouts

  1. Philipp Gruissem – $1,086,400
  2. Tom McDonald – $679,000
  3. Mike McDonald – $434,560
  4. Jason Koon – $298,760
  5. Scott Seiver – $217,280
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Paul Oresteen

Senior Writer: Paul Oresteen originally joined BLUFF in 2008 as an intern. He covered two World Series of Poker’s before leaving to join After a two year hiatus Oresteen returned to BLUFF in November 2012. Since starting as a poker journalist Oresteen has covered the World Series of Poker, WSOP Circuit, World Poker Tour and European Poker Tour. He graduated from Georgia State University with a B.A. in Communications in 2008.
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