Monday, August 26, 2013

Travel Report: WPT Alpha8 Florida, Arrival -- High Rolling

A travel day yesterday as I flew down to Ft. Lauderdale for a quick trip to help cover the inaugural Alpha8 event at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood that starts today.

As you’ve probably heard, these Alpha8 events are all going to be “high roller” -- or, really, “super high roller” -- tourneys with big, big buy-ins. This one is for $100,000, with re-entries possible, too, until the start of the fifth 60-minute level (I believe). Other stops haven’t been announced yet, but I know there are more coming.

Got in early afternoon and after hanging out for a while at the nearby hotel where I’m staying finally got some dinner and went over to the SHR for a quick looksee. A very nice property, with a nifty outdoor pedestrian mall which was quite pleasant to walk through on a warm Florida evening. Looking up at the open sky I was reminded of the Venetian’s faux ceiling and couldn’t help making a joke to Eric and Josh, my partners in crime on this adventure.

“The sky looks so real! Uncanny!”

Our visit last night included stopping over at a party at Matarano’s to socialize a bit and watch Steve Matarano himself deliver a quick lesson how to make mozzarella (or “mooz-arella” as he calls it). We also ran by to see the now-completed, immaculate Alpha8 set. (That’s a teaser pic above tweeted out from the @WPT_Alpha8 account yesterday.)

The tourney will be televised on Fox Sports 1, and so there’s quite the set-up in place in order to capture all of the action. There will be live streaming over on the WPT site tomorrow for the final table as well, which will give those who are interested a chance to get a look at how everything has been staged.

The Alpha8 is actually positioned on the opposite side of the casino from that ongoing $10 million guaranteed Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open which did, in fact, successfully attract more than 2000 maniacs to play the $5K tourney and thus met its guarantee. We took a stroll over there, too, to visit with Mickey and Paul and some other familiar folks as that tourney played down to 100 players last night.

Our event will begin and end before the SHRPO completes on Wednesday, which means we’re definitely going to be having a couple of super long days both today and tomorrow in order to complete the Alpha8 on schedule. No idea how many entrants there will be. I’m hearing estimates ranging from 20 on up to 40, so it will definitely be an intimate gathering with many of the usual high-rolling suspects involved.

Kind of interesting to be here, and fun to reunite with lots of buds while meeting some new ones among the WPT crowd. Does feel like the great majority of the poker world has descended on the Seminole Hard Rock this week, as they’ve snuck these events in during a convenient gap between other events and tours, with that $10 milly guarantee having done the job getting players’ attention.

Click on over to the WPT site today for our live updates as Josh and I report and our friend Joe Giron snaps the pics.

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