Sunday, December 07, 2014

Travel Report: WPT Alpha8 St. Kitts 2, Day 2 -- Come Open! Up Here!

Am sitting in the small St. Kitts airport with Vera Valmore as we wait to board the first of two flights that will take us back home. Looks like our first one is delayed a bit, but we’re hopeful of making the connection in time to get home late tonight.

Yesterday saw the World Poker Tour Alpha8 St. Kitts event finish up with Jason Mercier ultimately taking away the trophy and $727,500 first prize. He outlasted a couple of non-pros at the end who claimed the other two cashing spots, Kathy Lehne who finished second (for $436,500) and Tony Guglietti who took third (for $291,000).

I know Lehne is the president and CEO of Sun Coast Resources, one of the nation’s biggest petroleum marketing companies that operates out of Houston. The first woman ever to play in a WPT Alpha8, I think Lehne has a home at St. Kitts not far from where the tournament was played at Christophe Harbour. Don’t know as much about Guglietti’s background, other than he played Alpha8 at St. Kitts when they first went there a year ago and didn’t make it past the first day.

There were some dramatic hands that led to that threesome occupying the final spots. Lehne spiked a four-outer against Olivier Busquet (who’d later bubble in fourth) once to survive, then in hand against Antonio Esfandiari won with A-K versus his pocket queens after a tantalizing 4-3-J-5-2 runout gave her a wheel.

Once Guglietti went out in third, Lehne battled with Mercier for a short while before they took a dinner break, with Mercier chipping up to increase his lead without too much resistance. Then after the break Lehne had a more aggressive approach and in fact had rattled off a streak of hands won before finally losing the last of her stack to the pro.

The weather was glorious for much of the day, with blue skies and warm temps all around. That increased the mosquito count a bit, although we all endured. Later came an afternoon shower, then the weather cleared as night fell. That’s when the whistling tree frogs came out, their squeaky chorus having by the third night become quite familiar to hear.

Got back to the hotel to reunite with Vera who spent the day at the pool, the beach, and exploring elsewhere as well where among the sights she saw was the warm invitation at left for a “Monkey Donkey and Horse Tour.” Despite the enticing exhortations (“Come Open,” “Up Here”), Vera didn’t take the tour, although we did spot a couple of monkeys during our stay, which I heard someone say outnumber the humans by about two-to-one on the island.

With our late flight out today we had a chance to hang out at the pool a bit, which is where Vera snapped the pic of me up top. Was a nice, relaxing finish to a busy, fun few days, made even more so by the friendly folks everywhere we turned while here. A great time, but we’re both anxious now to get back to our four-legged friends on the farm.

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