On Sunday, the World Poker Tour Alpha8, a series of high buy-in events located at exotic locations around the world, continued its broadcast on Fox Sports 1 with Part III of their $100,000 buy-in tournament from the Seminole Hard Rock in Florida.
Two weeks ago, I wrote a recap of the premiere in which I highlighted the first hand ever played on an Alpha8 broadcast and took a behind-the-scenes look inside Jason Mercier’s pad. Last week, I offered my take on Part II, which included Jeff Gross nit-rolling Chris Klodnicki, the Macau Big Game, and the elimination of Bill Perkins.
Below is my recap of Part III of the WPT Alpha8 Florida starting with a look the final table at the top of the broadcast:
What Are The Odds?: After JC Tran doubled through Jason Mercier early on, the two played another big pot worth describing. It when Tran looked down at the on the button and raised to 11,000. Mercier, who was in the small blind, woke up with the and three-bet to 25,500, which inspired Tran to move all in for 157,500 total. Mercier obviously snap-called and a massive 324,000 pot was on the line.
According to the PokerNews Odds Calculator, Mercier was an 86.05% favorite while Tran would survive a mere 12.72% of the time. The flop made things extremely interesting though as Tran picked up a flush draw. Mercier still had a 62.73% chance of winning the hand, but Tran would now double 37.27% of the time.
The turn was no help to Tran, and he became a 4-1 dog headed to the river. The dealer burned one last time and put out the ! Tran hit his flush, but you wouldn’t know it by their reactions as both players remained stoned faced. Just like that, Tran went from sixth in chips to third while Mercier went from a big stack to the shortie; in fact, he was eliminated in the very next hand after shoving with the and receiving a call from the of Daniel Alaei. The board ran out , and as you can see it was another bad beat as running sixes sent the Team PokerStars packing.
“I was really excited about making the final table and was hoping to make it into the money and win the thing,” Mercier, who went from first in chips with nine left to out in eighth, said after his elimination. “Anytime you lose with aces all in preflop is going to be pretty frustrating, but it doesn’t always work out the way that you planned.”
Scrounging Up $100k: I distinctly remember being on the sidelines of the Alpha8 Florida and watching Joseph Cheong scampering around trying to put together the $100k buy-in. Apparently he wasn’t planning to play, but then changed his mind. Interestingly, the WPT captured Cheong going around asking players if they could loan him $100k.
“You’re just filming me walking around begging for money?” Cheong deadpanned. He then asked Macau High Roller Tom Hall if he had a hundred. Hall went for his bag as if it was no inconvenience, but then asked, “A hundred thousand?”
Hall wasn’t so quick after that, but then he pulled some strings with an assistance and hooked Cheong up. “You just said that on national TV by the way Joseph,” Hall said, “so be careful.”
“Tom Hall’s underwriting department a little more liberal than the average lending institution,” Ali Nejad then joked. Olivier Busquet then explained that it’s actually a common occurrence in poker.
Disaster for Haxton: About midway through the broadcast, Matt Glantz looked down at the and opened for 17,000. Isaac Haxton called with the from the small blind, and it was heads-up action to the flop. The fireworks were bound to fly as Glantz flopped top set while Haxton had top and bottom pair.
Haxton check-called a bet of 15,000, the dealer burned and turned the , and Haxton checked for a second time. Glantz bet 39,000, Haxton just called, and the completed the board on the river. Haxton checked for a third time and called when Glantz bet 65,000. Ship the 287k pot over to the chip leader.
Out to Dinner: After coming back from a commercial break, a little clip was shown of Lynn Gilmartin, Ali Nejad, and Olivier Busquet enjoying dinner at one of the Seminole Hard Rock’s premiere restaurants. While there the three enjoyed wine and Gilmartin admired a knife that had her name inscribed on it (I admit, the knife looked pretty cool).
“Do you know how hard this makes it to commit a crime?” Nejad joked. The waiter then brought out a slab of meat with the bone still in it. What’s more, that bone had WPT Aplha8 burned into it. After the eats the three visited the wine room where they presumably got their drink on.
Drawing Dead: With the blinds at 5,000/10,000, Isaac Haxton, who was one of three players to fire two bullets in the tournament, moved all in for his last 73,000 holding the only to have Joseph Cheong three-bet all in over the top with the . It was a bad spot for Haxton, that is until the flop came down ! Haxton flopped a flush and Cheong was actually drawing dead. The turn and river were mere formalities, and Haxton doubled to 168,000.
In the very next hand, Haxton moved those chips in from the button with the , and then Steven Silverman called from the big blind with the . It was another bad spot for Haxton, but that didn’t matter as Haxton would get lucky once again after the board ran out . Just like that Haxton went from a short stack to 310k in chips, though he’d jump that up to 474k a short time later when he eliminated Daniel Alaei.
Cheong Culled: In the last hand of the broadcast, Jeff Gross min-raised to 20,000 from the button with the . Joseph Cheong defended from the big with the , and not surprisingly the action heated up on the flop. Cheong led out for 25,000 with two pair, Gross moved all in, and Cheong snap-called off for 113,000 total.
Cheong got it all in good, but that didn’t matter as Gross took the lead with the turn. Cheong was looking for either a five or six on the river to stay alive, but it wasn’t in the cards as the blanked. Cheong shook hands with the remaining five players and then took his leave from the tournament.
Bonus Material: In my recap of Part I, I told you about a tour of Jason Mercier’s pad. I happened to across video of it, so I thought I’d share that with you here. Check it out.
Tune in Next Week: On Sunday, April 20, FSN will air the conclusion of the Alpha8 Florida $100K, so be sure to check your local listings. If by chance you miss it, check back next week for the latest recap of all the action here on PokerNews.
*Pictures courtesy of World Poker Tour.