Day 2 of the inaugural World Poker Tour Alpha8 tournament series started the day returning nine of the world’s best poker players. One of Florida’s own, Jason Mercier, the WSOP Main Event chip leader, J.C. Tran, and an online wizard, Isaac Haxton, were among the final nine playing for the prestigious title. After ten hours of play Steven Silverman ran the shortest stack at the start of play all the way up to winning the title, $891,660 and the distinction of being the exclusive tour’s first champion.
“Heads-up with (J.C.) Tran I felt pretty comfortable,” Silverman said. “We started with 50 big blinds and I was kind of playing fast – keeping the pace. We played a couple hands, he bet big on the river once and I think maybe I should have folded. But I had a good hand and I just kinda felt like I should call. Then we just got it in flipping and I won.”
The $2,026,500 prize pool limited the payouts to the top four finishers. Tran came up short of the heads-up battle finishing runner-up, Jeff Gross bowed out in third and Matt Glantz finished in fourth place. Tran got some valuable high-pressure time on the felt to prepare for his run at the WSOP Main Event final table.
Bill Perkins was eliminated in the first orbit to trim the field to official final table of eight players. Perkins moved his short stack in preflop with A 4 and Haxton called with A 8. The board ran Q T T 8 3 to end Perkins’ day.
Mercier had a rough day, he was chip leader for most of Day 1 and returned to Day 2 second in chips. He lost a huge pot when his pocket aces were cracked to double up Tran. Tran moved four-bet all in preflop with A T and flopped a flush draw when the flop came K 9 4. Mercier liked the 7 turn but the 2 on the river shipped Tran the pot and left Mercier with 15 big blinds. He moved all in three hands later with J T, Daniel Alaei called with A 6 and Mercier looked to be in good shape on the K J T flop. But disaster struck when the board ran 6 6 to give Alaei trips.
Ninety minutes later Alaei opened for 20,000, Haxton made it 50,000 to go from the button and Alaei moved all in. Haxton called with two black nines and Alaei tabled A 7 looking for help to stay alive. The board ran A 9 4 Q 2 and Alaei was eliminated in sixth place.
Heading into the dinner break Gross opened on the button, Joseph Cheong called from the big blind and the flop fell 9 6 5. Cheong led out for 25,000, Gross moved all in and Cheong snap-called with 6 5. Gross turned up Q 4 for a club flush draw, the turn got him there with the T and the river bricked for Cheong when it came 3.
Cheong’s elimination set the stage for the money bubble battle between Glantz (668,500), Haxton (580,000), Gross (378,000), Tran (375,500) and Silverman (94,000). The group took a short break after Cheong’s elimination and upon returning Silverman doubled on the first hand back from break. He moved all in holding A 3, Glantz called with J 9 and the board ran T 6 3 8 A. Silverman doubled to stay in the game with almost 20 big blinds.
Haxton took the chip lead with a series of medium pots and aggressive play. Then Haxton lost a substantial pot doubling up Silverman after an hour of running the table. Silverman shoved all in with A K, Haxton called with A 9 and the board ran Q 7 4 6 3. Haxton slipped to 453,00 – about an average chip stack – after the hand and Silverman climbed up the counts again.
Six hands later Haxton moved all in preflop and Tran called from the big blind. Haxton turned up pocket tens and Tran was in coin flip situation holding A Q. The board ran K Q 9 8 7 and Haxton broke the money bubble – he was one of three players that fired two bullets in the event.
The table played four-handed for 15 hands until Glantz moved in from the small blind and Gross called from the big. Glantz showed T 8, Gross had A 6 and the flop hit them both with A 8 7. The board completed 9 4 and Gross’ pair of aces eliminated Glantz in fourth place.
The three players took a short break and Gross was eliminated just a few hands after returning. He moved all in preflop, Silverman called with A K and Gross needed help holding K T. The board ran A 8 2 J K and Gross’ day was done.
Heads-up play was a short affair, taking only ten hands to decide the winner. Silverman doubled through Tran to take a huge chip advantage. Tran opened, Silverman raised to 135,000 and Tran moved all in having Silverman covered. Silverman called with pocket nines and Tran turned up A J. The board ran 7 5 4 4 5 and Silverman’s pair held. Tran slipped to just 15 big blinds and waited three more hands to stick his stick in the middle.
Silverman open-shoved, Tran called with Q 8 and Silverman had him out-pipped with Q 9. The board ran T 8 5 9 Q and Silverman’s better two pair earned him the victory.
WPT Alpha8 Payouts
- Steven Silverman – $891,660
- J.C. Tran – $526,890
- Jeff Gross – $364,770
- Matt Glantz – $243,180
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