The World Poker Tour Alpha8 traveled to St. Kitts this week for their latest $100,000 buy-in poker event. After attracting 15 entries and generating a prize pool of $1,455,000, the title went to Team PokerStars Pro and two-time World Series of Poker gold bracelet winner Jason Mercier.
For the victory, Mercier earned $727,500 and his first WPT Alpha8 trophy.
WPT Alpha8 St. Kitts Payouts
Nine players returned for action on Day 2 of the two-day event, and it was Olivier Busquet leading the way. Only the top three spots were set to earn a cash result, which meant six players had to go home empty handed.
First to go was Daniel Colman, who couldn't add another big result to his massively impressive 2014 that has seen him earn a whopping $22,389,481. After his bust, Talal Shakerchi fell in eighth place, followed by Alec Torelli in seventh. At this point, Busquet still held the chip lead by a solid margin over Mercier in second place.
Busquet then busted Bill Perkins in sixth place with the versus the , but he suffered a hit when Kathy Lehne doubled through him on Hand #40 of the final table. According to WPT live reports, the flop hit both players very well. Busquet flopped the nuts with the , and Lehne hit two pair with the . After the money went in on the flop, Lehne hit a full house on the turn when the paired the board to give her the double.
Busquet maintained the chip lead despite this set back, but things went downhill from here.
On Hand #58, Busquet fell out of the chip lead after Tony Guglietti moved into the top spot. Then, on Hand #65, Antonio Esfandiari was busted in fifth place by Lehne as she vaulted into the lead, pushing Busquet back down to third, and basically tied with Mercier. Finally, on Hand #77, it was all over for the online heads-up sit-n-go specialist.
Down to just over 100,000 in chips, Busquet opened to 12,000 from the button with the blinds at 3,000/6,000/1,000 in Level 13. Mercier moved all in from the big blind, and Busquet called to put himself at risk for 104,000 total. He had the and was ahead of Mercier's . The flop gave Mercier the lead with a pair of queens, and the turn left Busquet needing an ace on the river to stay alive. He wouldn't get it when the peeled off, and that sent the remaining three players into the money.
Three-handed play started with Lehne having a big chip lead over her two opponents, Mercier and Guglietti. She had 826,000 in chips to Mercier's 348,000 and Guglietti's 326,000. Over the next 40 hands, Mercier pulled closer to Lehne while Guglietti seemed to tread water. Finally on Hand #117, Guglietti's tournament came to an end.
Guglietti was all in on the board with the against the for Mercier. The river completed the board with the , and that sent Guglietti out the door in third place with a payday of $291,000. This hand also gave Mercier the chip lead, and he took his 825,000 in chips into heads-up play against Lehne's 675,000.
From there, Mercier really put the pressure on and used his heads-up experience to finish the job. Entering the match, Mercier was 14-5 in live poker tournaments when reaching heads-up play and 23-9 combined in live and online events. He quickly moved his chip stack to over 1 million before ending things on Hand #151.
On the final hand, Lehne raised to 30,000 from the button with the blinds at 5,000/10,000/1,000. Mercier reraised to 80,000, and Lehne called to see the flop come down . Mercier checked, Lehne bet 75,000, and Mercier called. The turn was the , and both players checked to see the fall on the river. Mercier bet 165,000, and Lehne raised all in for 430,000. After thinking for a bit, Mercier called with the . Lehne had an inferior two pair with the , and that meant she was eliminated in second place.
For her finish, Lehne earned $436,500 and moved to over $500,000 in career lifetime earnings — good enough to catapult her to 46th on the women's all-time money list. Mercier, on the other hand, scooped up the $727,500 first-place prize and moved into 11th place on poker's all-time money list, leapfrogging Scott Seiver. Mercier also climbed to 13th on the 2014 money list with over $3.67 million in winnings this year.
*Data courtesy of the World Poker Tour.