The televised $100,000 buyIn WPT Alpha8™ event at Johannesburg’s Emperors Palace is running from February 14 to 15 and will host pros from around the world, including Phil Ivey and fellow Ivey League coach Dan Smith.
The WPT Alpha8 is an elite televised tournament hosted in some of the world’s most exclusive casino resorts. In 2013, Alpha8 events took place in Florida, London and the Caribbean location of St.Kitts. Johannesburg will be 2014’s first stop.
Televised coverage of the Alpha8 events will begin March 16 with each stop to include four hours of coverage, with commentary from Ali Nejad and Olivier Busquet.
Ivey is known as arguably the best all-round poker pro on the circuit, with cash game finesse, nine World Series of Poker tournament titles and a WPT title behind him. He also recognizes the talents of Dan Smith after making it clear he wanted Smith to represent IveyLeague.com as a trainer and a Team Ivey pro.
Dan Smith gatecrashed the poker scene in 2005 after taking down the $1,650 No Limit Hold’em Main Event in Verona’s Heartland Poker Tour for his first pro cash of $101,960. Smith continued to cash for five figures in more pro tournaments, but remained relatively quiet until 2012 where he finally hit his first major high-stakes’ tournament win at the Aussie Millions. Smith took down his second live poker title after grinding to first place in the No Limit Hold’em Challenge and winning $1,041,828, before going on to win European Poker Tour titles and add the WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond Poker Classic to his list of successes.
In the previous two versions of Alpha8 held in London and then in St. Kitts, it was high stakes poker specialist Phillip Grusseum who took down first place, twice winning over $1 million. He will be back for the WPT Alpha8 Johannesburg, adding yet another dangerous name to the list of entrants, as the German pro looks to make it three Alpha8 titles in a row.
Other big name high stakes players are expected in Johannesburg including the likes of Jason Mercier, The Big One for One Drop champ Antonius Esfandiari, online poker phenomenon Dan “Jungleman” Cates*, Erik Seidel and Jeff Gross.
They will be facing local high stakes pros Greg Ronaldson and Darren Kramer. Ronaldson won his entry into the event after getting through a satellite event in the Emperors Casino now giving him home advantage to be the first South African to win an Alpha8 title.
There is still a chance to join Ronaldson on that list of satellite qualifiers: A $500 rebuy satellite that will take place February 11 to 12. It is currently only 75% full.
Every entrant into the South African WPT Alpha 8 will benefit from five nights in the Peermont D’Oreale Grande Hotel, airport transfers, a personal VIP host, Monster DNA headphones, plus there is a complimentary safari in which visitors will be given the chance to catch a glimpse and take snapshots of some South Africa’s intense wildlife. This event should prove to be one of WPT poker’s 2014 highlights.