Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Travel Report: Season XII WPT bestbet Jacksonville Fall Poker Scramble, Day 4 -- Fast Finale

All done in Florida and now I’m back home after a quick, uneventful voyage back. Jared Jaffee took the World Poker Tour bestbet Jacksonville Fall Poker Scramble down without too much struggle yesterday after starting the final six-handed table with about a third of the chips in play.

Actually runner-up finisher Blake Purvis did manage to challege Jaffee briefly, even seizing the lead by less than a big blind to start heads-up play. But Jaffee won the first two hands between the pair to push back ahead, then whittled away for another hour before finally using 4h2h -- our friend Poker Grump’s fave hand -- to crack Purvis’s pocket aces and secure the win.

It took 99 hands and just a few minutes under four hours for the final table to finish up. Many spoke of it being one of the fastest final days they could remember for a WPT final.

The length of levels were increased from 60 to 90 minutes after dinner on Day 2 and continued at 90 minutes through the long Day 3 when they played down from 26 to six. Then for the final table they reverted back to hour-long levels, then made it 30-minute levels when heads-up play began, all of which helped create conditions for that rapid finish.

I know back during the first few years of the WPT there was much talk about the structure not allowing for enough play at final tables. I’m remembering some changes being introduced around 2007 to slow things down at the end somewhat, then in 2009 another change was made to what I believe is this current format. A little too tired at the moment to look it all up. I’ll be at another WPT event in a couple of weeks (the Five Diamond at the Bellagio) and in fact will be working with longtime WPT reporter B.J. Nemeth at that one, so he can surely fill me in on the history of these structure changes.

Even if things got pushed along a little quickly at the end, Jaffee was certainly a worthy winner, breaking through to grab a WPT title after having made a couple of final tables and come up short before.

Now that I’m back I’m catching up a bit on the news, including the big story regarding New Jersey imminently joining the online poker game in the U.S. with licenses being approved and a “soft” launch of some sites happening tomorrow and the official start of things cranking up next week. Something else I’m going to have to read more about in the coming days. Gonna be very interesting to see, Ultimate Poker, and others getting up and running over here on the east coast.

For now, though, I’m going to try to grab some rest. Was a good time in Jacksonville working alongside friends old and new, and much thanks to the bestbet folks again for being so accommodating.

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