The World Poker Tour’s (WPT) Alpha8 tournament series does not get a lot of attention and to an extent, that is understandable. The high roller series, despite being broadcast on Fox Sports , is not heavily marketed and features tiny fields. Since the players involved have to pony up $100,000 to play, though, those fields are dense. I mean, look at WPT Alpha8 Florida, which wrapped up yesterday at the Seminole Hard Rock. There were just six players in the tournament, but what players they were: Bryn Kenney, Daniel Colman, Noah Schwartz, Byron Kaverman, Jason Mercier, and Jake Schindler. It took them two days to determine a champion and when it was over Noah Schwartz was the last man standing, making history in the process.
In winning WPT Alpha8 Florida, Schwartz became the first player ever to win both an Alpha8 title and regular World Poker Tour crown. That WPT victory came in November 2012 when he won the WPT Jacksonville bestbet Fall Poker Scramble for just over $400,000. He almost accomplished the feat in December, finishing fourth in the WPT Alpha8 Las Vegas. If that doesn’t sound impressive since the Alpha8 Florida had only six players, consider that the Las Vegas tournament had a field of 55, with most of the players being very strong.
Schwartz also earned a World Series of Poker bracelet in 2013, winning the €3,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Mixed Max Event at WSOP Europe. One thing that is interesting about Schwartz is that he only has the one WPT title, one WPT Alpha8 victory, and one WSOP bracelet, but his lifetime live earnings eclipse $5.2 million, thanks very much to several top five and ten finishes in major tournaments.
It was Schindler who battled Schwartz heads-up for the title, with Schwartz entering heads-up play with a 329,000 to 271,000 chip lead. They were unable to settle the competition on Day 1, so they returned for a second day of play, just the two of them. Schwartz started Day 2 with a larger lead, 374,000 to 226,500, and wrapped things up in only about an hour.
Schwartz’s lead was never really in jeopardy, as he gradually widened the gap over Schindler. Schindler was able to double-up once, but considering he only had 45,000 chips when he did, it didn’t make a big difference. It was just a matter of time before Schwartz did away with Schindler. On the final hand, Schindler moved all-in pre-flop for 92,000 chips with K-5 of hearts and was called by Schwartz and his Q-9 of spades. The suits never mattered, as the board came down a symmetrical Q-6-3-6-Q, giving Schwartz a full house and all the chips. His victory was worth $585,000 and a place in poker history as the first player to win both a WPT title and Alpha8 championship.