EVENT #54: $10,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha
PRIZE POOL: $3,637,800
FIRST PLACE PRIZE: $927,655
PLACES PAID: 40
DATES: June 26-28, 2015
Alexander Petersen Wins Pot-Limit Omaha World Championship
Danish Online Poker Pro Earns First WSOP Gold Bracelet and Collects $927,655
Petersen Stages Wild Comeback versus Jason Mercier, Denies Floridian His Fourth WSOP Title
MEET THE LATEST WSOP GOLD BRACELET CHAMPION
Name: Alexander Petersen
Birthplace: Aarhus, Denmark
Current Residence: Aarhus, Denmark
Marital Status: Single
Profession: Professional Poker Player
Number of WSOP Cashes: 1
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances: 1
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories: 1
Best Previous WSOP Finish: None
Total WSOP Earnings: $927,655
Personal Facts: Petersen is one of the top Pot-Limit Omaha players in the world, by virtue of his cash game online winnings playing this game over the past 7 years
[Note: All statistics above include the results of this tournament]
Alexander Petersen is probably a name most poker fans haven’t heard of before. But that’s likely to change with his startling come-from-behind tournament victory on the biggest stage in poker this evening, when he won his first World Series of Poker gold bracelet. The Danish poker pro win the $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha World Championship, which was played out over the last three days and completed at the Rio in Las Vegas.
The Pot-Limit World Championship attracted 387 players, which created a $3,537,800 prize pool. The top 40 finishers collected a payout. Petersen plowed through a tough final table, and left the runner up Jason Mercier shaking his head from an absolutely bizarre turn of events in the closing stages of heads-up play that dumbfounded all witnesses for how quickly the chip lead and outcome was reversed.
Petersen was behind in chips by about a 3 to 1 margin when heads-up play commenced, then quickly doubled up, and before the chips had been re-stacked he had Mercier all in and covered holding what turned out to be the winning hand. Meanwhile, Mercier on the verge of winning his second gold bracelet of the summer was instead left with disappointment, inasmuch as a $572,989 consolation prize can be considered a blow.
For his victory, the first major live tournament win of Petersen’s career, he raked in a whopping $927,655 in prize money. This was one of the largest top cash prizes of the series, so far. Remarkably, this marked Petersen’s first time to cash at the series. Even though he’d come and previously played at the WSOP, the 31-year-old Dane never really took the live tournaments seriously, instead opting to play and have fun in Las Vegas.
“Coming to Las Vegas was always a break for me, away from playing,” Peterson explained. “This is first event I played here where I really took it seriously, and it paid off.”
Nonetheless, Petersen is no stranger to poker or success in the game. He’s relatively unknown in live settings because virtually all of his accolades have taken place online. Petersen has been a full-time professional poker player for 11 years, and has specialized in online Pot-Limit Omaha cash games for the past 7. Hence, he was beyond experienced at this level and arguably arrived at this final table as the player who had played more Pot-Limit Omaha hands than anyone else.
When asked how high the stakes are when he usually plays, Petersen remarked that he’s “used to winning or losing half a million in a single month.”
Petersen’s early poker background is just as interesting. He started playing online while in business school. He even worked as a computer programmer and helped to design home pages. Then, he discovered poker and started playing. Once he found online poker, Petersen came to learn that as he got better at the game and continued to increase his level of skill, he started winning more.
“In poker, you get out what you put into it,” Petersen said. “I used to play my favorite hands and all that, then I started learning that if you studied and got really good, you could make a living at this. I’ve been making my living at poker for more than ten years now.”
Petersen has played in several European Poker Tour events in the past, with some cashes, but nothing on the scale of a WSOP victory.
No less than four of the nine final table players had previously won gold bracelets, including Hasan Habib (1 win), Shaun Deeb (1 win), Davidi Kitai (3 wins), and Jason Mercier (3 wins). However, in the end it was an online specialist who came out of nowhere who obliterated the dreams of several other experienced players and walked away with the title and the coveted gold bracelet.
When asked about what plans he has for the huge financial boost, Petersen was a little less enthusiastic.
“Where I live (in Denmark), we have to pay a lot of taxes – something like 55 percent,” Petersen said. “So, after I pay taxes on this money, it means I really came in second.”
Following Petersen’s finish in the top spot, the descending order of results was as follows:
Second Place: Jason Mercier, from Davie, FL finished in 2nd place, which paid $572,989. Mercier almost became the third player of this year’s series to win duel gold bracelets (Max Pescatori and Brian Hastings were the others). However, his hopes crumbled in the final stage of this tournament, much of Petersen’s delight. Mercier, who won WSOP titles in 2009, 2011, and 2015 collected $572,989, which was the third-best score of Mercier’s career at the WSOP. His career winnings at the annual series now totals in excess of $3.5 million.
Third Place: Dan Smith, from Las Vegas, NV finished in 3rd place, which paid $369,564. This marked his second time to finish 3rd at this summer’s series. He took the same spot earlier in the Deuce-to-Seven Lowball Championship. Smith now has 22 cashes and more than $1.4 million on his WSOP resume.
Fourth Place: Simon “Aces” Trumper, from Nottingham, UK finished in 4th place, which paid $267,778. This marked Trumper’s deepest run at the WSOP in 13 years. The bombastic poker pro, who appeared on numerous televised events in the past, has been one of England’s most colorful personalities for many years, but still remains without a gold bracelet.
Fifth Place: Mohsin Virani, from El Dorado, AR finished in 5th place, which paid $196,877. Remarkably, this was his first time ever to cash at the WSOP.
Sixth Place: Steven Reichardt, from Hamburg, Germany finished in 6th place, which paid $146,857. This was Reichert’s second time to cash at the series.
Seventh Place: Davidi Kitai, from Brussels, Belgium finished in 7th place, which paid $111,134. He’s a three-time WSOP gold bracelet winner, with wins in 2008, 2013, and 2014. Kitai is now one WSOP win behind Max Pescatori among European poker players with the most WSOP victories. However, he’s the biggest winner in WSOP history ever from Belgium, with 24 cashes and more than $1.6 million in series earnings.
Eighth Place: Shaun Deeb, from Troy, NY finished in 8th place. He won a gold bracelet earlier in 2015, and was hoping for a second victory. This would have been a double whammy of a WSOP had Deeb won, especially since his previous victory was in the $10,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Hold’em championship. Instead, Deeb had to settle for a payout totaling $85,306.
Ninth Place: Hasan Habib, originally from Pakistan and now from Downey, CA finished in 9th place, which rounded out the final table. He collected $66,463. Habib won his gold bracelet back in 2004. He also finished 4th in the 2000 WSOP Main Event Championship.
OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS:
Aside from the final table finishers, other gold bracelet winning players who cashed included – Brian Rast (30th), Sorel Mizzi (37th), and William Kakon (40th).
Tony “Top Cat” Cousineau cashed yet again (31st), which is the 72nd in-the-money finish of his career. It’s also his fourth cash at this year’s series. Cousineau is the all-time cashes leader in WSOP history without a gold bracelet victory.
Pot-Limit poker made its WSOP debut back in 1984, when two Pot-Limit Omaha tournaments were offered. There were no Pot-Limit tournaments of any kind played at the WSOP from 1970 through 1983.
The only Pot-Limit variety which was played at the WSOP between 1984 and 1991 was Pot-Limit Omaha. Pot-Limit Hold’em action was restricted to cash games.