Day 1 has concluded with Olivier Busquet and his stack of 346,000 chips setting the pace at the second annual WPT Alpha8 St. Kitts.
Play began promptly at 1:00-and-a-bit this afternoon with 11 players putting up the requisite $100,000 for a seat at one of the two tables. By the time registration closed in the evening, the total number of entries had grown to 15, generating a prizepool of $1,455,000 which will be shared by the final three players.
The host of this event, Bill Perkins, was the first player to face elimination, the victim of a cooler against Olivier Busquet. Perkins flopped top full house with pocket fives, but Busquet turned a superior full house when his pocket tens found a third of a kind on fourth street. “Well, I’m rebuying,” Perkins announced.
His second $100,000 bullet lasted much longer as the gregarious amateur bagged up 254,000 chips at night’s end, good for second place overall.
Jeff Gross was the next to fall after getting the remainder of his short stack in with a dominated ace. It was Kathy Lehne who did the deed with A10, running out a flush on the Q85KJ board. Gross toyed with the idea of re-entering for some time, eventually deciding the beach was a better option. His day at the high-stakes poker tables was done.
The pantless Antonio Esfandiari was eliminated twice over the course of the next couple levels. His first elimination came as the short stack when his AK was out-flopped by Michael Singh’s KJ. The money went in when Esfandiari was already behind, and he took a short break before jumping back in the pool.
Esfandiari’s second bullet went astray, too, as a Level 5 pot saw him fall again. It was the front-running Busquet who got him the second time, turning a full house with five-four and allowing Esfandiari to catch up just enough with his king-seven rivering a straight.
That was supposed to be the end of his day, but Esfandiari could not resist one last bullet, re-entering just before registration closed. The Magician nursed his chip stack to 90,500 by the time play concluded this evening, and he’ll need to finish in second place or better to show a profit on this trip.
In between Esfandiari’s two eliminations, Kathy Lehne was also relegated briefly to the rail. Her pocket aces looked fairly nice on fourth street of a 1086J board, but her friend Perkins had turned lucky with his Q9, and Lehne was drawing dead to the 4 river. She quickly re-entered, turning her second stack into 116,500 chips over the course of the next five levels.
Singh was the unlucky first man out after registration closed, unable to mount a comeback from his own short-stacked situation. On his final hand, Singh’s A8 ran into Perkins’ superior AQ, and the Q103106 board did nothing to improve the plight of the at-risk Singh.
His exit in 10th place cued the final redraw of the event as the nine survivors were seated around the unofficial final table. Those nine traded jabs for nearly two full levels before the clock expired on Day 1.
That means Day 2 will begin squarely on the final table bubble. Here’s the lineup card for Sunday’s finale:
Seat 1: Tony Guglietti — 127,000
Seat 2: Daniel Colman — 222,500
Seat 3: Talal Shakerchi — 72,000
Seat 4: Bill Perkins — 254,000
Seat 5: Olivier Busquet — 346,000
Seat 6: Kathy Lehne — 116,500
Seat 7: Antonio Esfandiari — 90,500
Seat 8: Jason Mercier — 100,500
Seat 9: Alec Torelli — 170,000
Play resumes at 12:00 PM AST, and final table coverage will be hand-for-hand from eight players to a winner.
Until then, goodnight from St. Kitts!