Two major poker tournaments were held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas on Saturday—the World Poker Tour (WPT) Five Diamond World Poker Classic and the WPT Alpha8 Las Vegas, an event with a buy-in of $100,000, which attracted a field of 55 players and generated a $5,395,500 prize pool.
The biggest event of its kind in poker history, the WPT Alpha8 lasted for three days and at the end of it, Andrew Lichtenberger emerged as the champion and won the first-place prize of $2,104,245. The runner-up of the event was Tom Marchese, who won $1,240,965. The players who finished third, fourth, fifth, and sixth were Brian Rast ($755,370), Noah Schwartz ($539,550), Jason Les ($431,640), and Bryn Kenney ($323,730).
The event attracted a number of professional poker players. Among those who couldn’t finish in the cash were Dan Smith, Daniel Colman, Antonio Esfandiari, Erik Seidel, JC Tran, Scott Seiver, and Jason Mercier, who ended up on the bubble. Eight players returned for the final table action, but only six of them would finish in the cash. The players who returned with no cash were Phil Laak and Brandon Steven. The six players who remained at the table were assured a prize of $323,730, but two of them would finish as millionaires.
The first player to bust was Kenney, and after a couple of levels, Jason Les followed him out of the game. The final table action had boiled down to four-handed play, which went on for a long time. When the 178th hand was being played in Level 22, Schwartz three bet for 2.155 million and Lichtenberger responded with a call. Since the board was not in his favor, Schwartz had to finish fourth and collect a prize of $539,550.
When Schwartz was followed by Rast, the heads-up game began between Lichtenberger and Marchese, the former enjoying a chip lead over the latter. When the last hand was being played, Lichtenberger held a Queen of Clubs and a Nine of Clubs against Marchese’s Eight of Diamonds and Eight of Hearts. On the flop, Lichtenberger managed to get a Flush Draw. But when a Five of Diamonds appeared on the River, Marchese had to remain content with the runner-up position and return home with $1,240,965. Lichtenberger emerged as the champion of the event.
The next WPT Alpha8 tournament will be held at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel Casino in Florida on January 17 – 18, 2015.