Gambling Gambling

WPT Alpha8 gets rolling -- without Ivey

 The inaugural World Poker Tour Alpha8 tournament concludes today, with a top prize of almost a million bucks. The new series, which will air on Fox Sports 1 next year, is part of the 33-event Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open going on in Hollywood this month.

 Those in the poker world projected anywhere from 20 to 50 entrants, but as the 4 p.m. cutoff time for entry on Monday drew close, only 14 had put down the $100,000 entry fee. So the players agreed to extend the entry time to 8 p.m. -- a couple of potential players were still alive in the $10 million guarantee main event -- and the tournament grew to 21 entries before the day ended (18 players and 3 rebuys).

 But the biggest name (and one that would guarantee TV ratings) didn't show. Tournament officials said Phil Ivey had wired enough money for two entries (players on Day 1 could re-enter if they busted out), and he arrived at the Seminole Hard Rock on Thursday. He even played two days in the $10 million main event. Alas, Ivey told the WPT he had family issues.

 But Fort Lauderdale's Jason Mercier, who in recent years has been ranked No. 2 in the world, behind Ivey, is sitting well going into Tuesday's final table as the field has been trimmed to nine.

Matt Glantz is the chip leader with 410,500.

Seat 1: Daniel Alaei – 293,500 (73 bb)

Seat 2: Isaac Haxton – 218,500 (54 bb)
Seat 3: Jeff Gross – 140,500 (35 bb)
Seat 4: Bill Perkins – 89,000 (22 bb)
Seat 5: Steven Silverman – 372,500 (93 bb)
Seat 6: Joseph Cheong – 106,000 (26 bb)
Seat 7: JC Tran – 94,000 (23 bb)
Seat 8: Jason Mercier – 375,500 (93 bb)
Seat 9: Matt Glantz – 410,500 (102 bb)

 The WPT says the tournaments will be held in some of the world’s most prestigious venues in North America, Europe, Asia, and South Africa, each event will feature a buy-in of at least $100,000. The World Poker Tour will provide four hours of televised action. Ali Nejad and Olivier Busquet will provide commentary and Lynn Gilmartin will anchor.

 Meanwhile, the main event is down to 21 players, including Weston's Amir Lehavot, who completed the World Series of Poker prelim in second place for the November finals. Lehavot is in sixth place at the Seminole Hard Rock.

 Play resumes at noon in both events. Follow it at or Follower Mercier on Twitter at @JasonMercier

(Photo courtesy of Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino)

Copyright © 2015, South Florida
Related Content
  • Updated: $777 every 7 minutes at Hard Rock
    Updated: $777 every 7 minutes at Hard Rock

    A lot of money will be given away very quickly Friday at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (1 Seminole Way, Hollywood, 800-937-0010, The casino’s Hard Rockin’ Sevens promotion will dish out $777 in free play every seven minutes from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. (Earlier...

  • Hialeah poker room expands
    Hialeah poker room expands

    Hialeah Park's poker room, which has boomed since opening in September 2013, has completed an expansion, creating a high-limit area called King's Court.

  • Big poker games in Coconut Creek
    Big poker games in Coconut Creek

    Andy Slater See You Later tournament boasts $20,000 prize pool. Coco Poker Spring Series to begin April 22.

  • Isle Casino in Pompano Beach celebrating 8 years
    Isle Casino in Pompano Beach celebrating 8 years

    It’s the eighth anniversary of the Isle Casino and Racing (777 Isle of Capri Circle, Pompano Beach, 954-972-2000, On Tuesday, the casino will present the $8,000 Anniversary free play giveaway. The Isle will give away $8,000 in free play from 7 to 10 p.m., and offer an $8.88...

  • Tax changes loom for gamblers in 2016
    Tax changes loom for gamblers in 2016

    One thing about taxes never changes: You gotta pay 'em.

  • Hotel-resort casinos dead; real work begins
    Hotel-resort casinos dead; real work begins

     The Florida House of Representatives is working on decoupling and a Senate committee is evaluating extending the state's compaci with the Seminole Tribe of Florida for a year.