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Season XVIII of the World Poker Tour (WPT) returned to Hollywood, Florida, at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino for the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open (LHPO). The cynosure of all eyes was the $2 Million GTD $3,500 Main Event that saw Brian Altman (cover image) etching his name in the history books by becoming the first player ever to win the same WPT Main Event title twice.
Altman came out on top of the 843-strong field (423 Day 1A, and 420 Day 1B) to take home $482,636 and a seat worth $15,000 into the Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions. Altman defeated John ‘Jake’ Dollinger heads-up to win the title.
In 2015, the poker pro from Longmeadow, Massachusetts had won this same $3,500 buy-in Main Event at Seminole Hard Rock Casino, besting a field of 1,027 entries for a career-best $723,008.
Altman has made five WPT final tables appearances, including two titles and an incredible 27 cashes already. He has raked in over $4.2 million in career tournament earnings after this win.
“Winning a second WPT title feels amazing,” Altman told WPT representatives after his victory and added: “It’s incredibly special. It doesn’t always work out. I’ve had maybe a dozen or so situations where I’ve gone deep and thought I was going to win and I didn’t. But that’s how tournaments go. To continually put myself in a position to win tournaments, it feels special.”
He further stated: “Obviously it’s fantastic to get big wins, but playing these events I’m happy to put myself in a position to go deep, be chip leader, and make final tables.”
Out of the 318 players (151 Day 1A, and 167 Day 1B) that returned on Day 2, only 106 were guaranteed a share of the $2,697,600 prize pool. A min-cash was worth $5,666, while the winner was slated to receive $482,636 in the first-place prize, which included a $15,000 seat into the Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions.
Francis Anderson, Leif Force, Ken Aldridge, Mark Dube, Ray Qartomy, Robert Mizrachi, and Paul Snead were among the long list of players who hit the rail empty-handed on Day 2 before Jason Wandling was eliminated on the money bubble.
Others who fell out before the end of Day 2 included WPT Champions Club members Jared Jaffee (59th for $8,340), Craig Varnell (66th for $7,517), Jonathan Jaffe (79th for $6,865), Geoffrey Hum (98th for $5,959), and Jason Brin (103rd for $5,666).
Day 3 of the Main Event began with 54 players remaining, and after five 90-minute levels of play, just 13 players survived.
Some players who finished ITM on Day 3 included Joey Couden (15th for $24,564), Mukul Pahuja (21st for $16,965), Vitor Coelho (28th for $14,357), Aaron Massey (29th for $14,357), Darren Elias (32nd for $14,357), Anthony Zinno (38th for $12,300), Mike Vela (43rd for $10,670), WSOP Big 50 champion Femi Fashakin (44th for $10,670), Lee Markholt (48th for $10,670), Joe McKeehen (50th for $9,374), and Jason Young (53rd for $9,374).
Day 4 started with 13 players and played down to the final six with Scott Drobes (7th for $76,078), Hiroaki Harada (8th for $59,309), WPT Champions Club member James Calderaro (9th for $46,763), and Sam Soverel (10th for $46,763) all hitting the rail in quick succession.
When the six finalists returned on Day 5, Brian Altman was sitting in the chip lead with a stack of 10,400,000 ahead of John Dollinger (10,275,000) and Nadeem Hirani (5,000,000). Chanracy Khun (3,150,000) and Peter Walsworth (900,000) were sporting the shortest two stacks at the start of the final table.
Final Table Chip Counts
Final Table Recap
The day kicked off swiftly with the elimination of Peter Walsworth in sixth place after almost sixty minutes of play.
Nadeem Hirani fell out in fifth place when his ran into Brian Altman`s with the latter flopping a ten to take down the pot.
Shortly behind Hirani, Nadya Magnus bowed out in fourth place. Her ran into Brian Altman’s better .
It took another hour for these three players to become two. The hand in question saw Chanracy Khun’s falling to John Dollinger’s better as the latter turned trip tens.
When heads-up play began, John Dollinger held a nearly 2-1 chip advantage over Brian Altman. But Altman quickly jumped into the lead and never looked back. On the final hand of the tournament, Dollinger moved all-in with after facing a raise from Altman. The latter held pocket aces, and he knocked out Dollinger in second place to win the title for a record second time!
Final Table Results (USD)
Content & Images Courtesy Seminole Hard Rock Poker & World Poker Tour