Heading into the final table of the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Brian Altman and Mark Dube held 72% of the chips in play. When cards got in the air on Wednesday afternoon, the two continued to accumulate chips and were heads up in just a few hours of play.
After a heads-up battle lasting over two hours, Altman proved triumphant and earned his first WPT title by outlasting an entire field of 1,027 players, earning $723,008.
With two players holding so many chips, the eliminations came fast and furious in the early stages of the final table. On Hand #12, Jon Graham was the first player to hit the rail when he moved all in from the cutoff with KQ and was called by Kelly Minkin’s QQ. The board ran out 1055J6 and Graham was eliminated in sixth place for $146,245.
Less than an orbit later, more chips went to Dube when he eliminated Sanjay Gehi in fifth place. Brian Altman raised to 175,000 on the button and Dube called out of the small blind. Gehi moved all in from the big blind for 1,880,000, and Dube called after Altman mucked his hand.
It was a flip for Gehi’s tournament life with his 1010 flipping with Dube’s AJ. There was an ace on the flop as the board ran out AQ6K8 and Gehi was eliminated in fifth place.
At the start of four-handed play, Greg Rosen was the short stack by a wide margin. He held just over 1.3 million, but he was able to double through both Dube and Minkin to leave Minkin as the short stack.
Minkin found a double of her own through Dube and it eventually ended up being Rosen who was eliminated in third place.
Minkin raised to 300,000 under-the-gun and was called by all three players at the table. On a flop of Q86, action checked over to Rosen on the button, who moved all in for 1.72 million. Altman check-called out of the small blind and was way ahead.
Altman tabled QJ and was up against Rosen’s A6. The turn was the 4 and the river was the 7 to put away Rosen in fourth place and leave the table three-handed.
Rosen qualified for this tournament through a $100 satellite tournament here at the Hard Rock and was able to parlay his $100 into a fourth place finish worth $220,189.
Minkin was unable to hold on much longer herself and she found herself on the rail just five hands later when she moved all in out of the small blind for 1.88 million and Brian Altman quickly called out of the big blind.
Minkin was way ahead with her 99 against Altman’s 44, but the deck didn’t cooperate with her. The board ran out 64397 to give Altman a straight and the pot. Minkin’s aspirations of becoming the first female non-invitational WPT champion fell just short and the lawyer from Arizona took home $262,912 for third place.
That left Altman and Dube, the two favorites to be heads-up at the start of the day, heads-up with Dube holding the slight chip lead.
At the start of heads-up play, Dube continued to chip away at Altman’s stack and opened up a full two-to-one chip lead, but one cooler seemed to change the course of head-up play.
With blinds of 100,000/200,000 and a 25,000 ante, Altman raised to 250,000 and Dube three-bet to 1.3 million and Altman called. The flop was Q86 and Dube led out for 1.55 million. Altman called and the rest of the chips went in on the 4 turn card.
Dube showed 88, giving him middle set, but needed to find a board pairing river against 75, giving Altman the nut straight. The river was the 7 and Altman doubled up to take a two-to-one chip lead of his own.
Over the next few hands, Altman extended his lead and held it over the final 34 hands of play.
With blinds having increased to 200,000/400,000 with a 50,000 ante, Dube raised on the button to 900,000 and Altman called. The flop was A53 and Altman checked. Dube bet 1.1 million and Dube check-raised to 2.6 million. Dube tanked for a few moments before moving all in for his last 9.6 million and Altman snap-called.
Dube showed two red aces, giving him top set and was in trouble against Dube’s K8, giving him the nut flush. The 4 and the 8 completed the board and Altman took home the trophy and the $723,008 first place prize money. Dube took home $434,462 for his second place finish.
Here are a look at the final table results:
1st: Brian Altman – $723,008
2nd: Mark Dube – $434,462
3rd: Kelly Minkin – $262,912
4th: Greg Rosen – $220,189
5th: Sanjay Gehi – $180,752
6th: Jon Graham – $146,245
The World Poker Tour is off to Canada for the televised $5,000 buy-in WPT Fallsview Poker Classic from February 13-16. Be on the lookout for live updates straight from the tournament floor on WPT.com.
Photos by Joe Giron.