Tuesday, February 21, 2017 11:10 PM Local Time
2016-17 World Series of Poker Circuit
Rio Hotel and Casino
Las Vegas, Nev.
Total Entries: 255
Prize Pool: $76,500
February 20-21, 2017
The former cash-game specialist finds redemption after improving his tournament game.
Las Vegas, Nev. (21 February, 2017) — Nearly four years ago, James Alexander was thrust into the poker world’s biggest spotlight, playing beneath the bright lights of ESPN cameras with poker’s most prestigious prize on the line. It was Day 7 of the World Series of Poker Main Event, and Alexander was, by his own admission, a bit out of his element. Even so, he left with an impressive 19th-place finish, and the self-awareness to know that he performed so well in spite of, not because of, his level of expertise in tournament poker.
Recently, Alexander has dedicated himself to improving this part of his game, and today those efforts were vindicated. He earned his first major tournament victory at the WSOP Circuit at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas when he won Event #2: $365 No-Limit Hold’em. He earned his first Circuit ring an $18,744.
After his victory sank in, Alexander reflected on the road that brought him to this point: “I’ve played poker for a long time. I have a lot of good friends who play poker. I never played tournaments at all. It was always cash games. To be honest, I didn’t know anything about tournaments. So I kind of got lucky in 2013 [in the WSOP Main Event]. I had no tournament experience and I looked like such a donk on tv. And my friends have given me enough shit for enough years, that this summer I thought, ‘you know, I’m going to learn tournaments. I’m gonna really give it a shot.’ So this summer I got six cashes [at the WSOP], and a couple final tables. I learned so much.”
Alexander decided to put that knowledge to good use, and recently started playing Circuit events. This is only the third Circuit tournament he’s entered, and he already has a ring for his trophy case.
At times, it looked like he was going to come up just short. When heads-up play began, he was at a significant chip disadvantage to Paul Hendee, and at one point was down about 6-1. But he clawed back, and Hendee eventually had to settle for second place. “It was kind of bittersweet that we ended up playing heads,” Alexander said. “There was no doubt, we were the two guys who wanted it the most. I feel for him.”
Also finishing in the money were Circuit regulars Jon Lactaoen (16th place), Joshua Evans (18th), Marshall White (23rd), and Kindah Sakkal (27th).
Event #2 was the third event to play to completion at the WSOP Circuit at the Rio. The $365 event drew a field of 255 players, generating a prizepool worth $76,500. The final 27 players finished in the money. Full results are available in the RESULTS tab, above.
The tournament began at noon on Monday, February 20. The final day began at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 21, and the last hand was dealt around 8:10 p.m.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 8:20 PM Local Time
James Alexander won Event #2
James Alexander has just won Event #2. He earned $18,744 for the victory, along with his first WSOP Circuit ring.
Paul Hendee finished runner-up, earning $11,548. Full results are available in the RESULTS tab, above.
A full recap of Alexander's victory will be posted shortly.
Paul Hendee - Second Place
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 7:13 PM Local Time
Gregory Hartwick was just eliminated by Paul Hendee. Hartwick finished in third place for $8,367.
Hendee and James Alexander are now heads up for the ring, and Hendee had a chip lead of roughly 4-1.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 5:31 PM Local Time
Kody Tillotson has just been eliminated. He finished in fourth place, earning $6,157.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 3:47 PM Local Time
Kevin Hong has been eliminated. He finishes in fifth place for $4,613.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 3:15 PM Local Time
Klaus Betz has been eliminated in sixth place, earning $3,515.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 1:56 PM Local Time
David Champion has been eliminated. He earns $2,723 for his seventh-place finish.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 1:45 PM Local Time
Chadwick King is the first elimination on Day 2. He finishes in 8th place for $2,144.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 1:14 PM Local Time
The eight remaining players have taken their seats, and cards are in the air for Day 2.
Paul Hendee takes his seat at the final table.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 2:49 AM Local Time
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 2:47 AM Local Time
Day 1 is in the books after 21 levels of poker. Day 2 will start tomorrow at 1 p.m. with eight players remaining.
The final eight players are all guaranteed a payout of at least $2,144. Tomorrow's winner will take home $18,744, a WSOP Circuit gold ring and 50 Casino Championship points.
Day 2 Chip Counts and seating assignments:
- Day 2 starts at the beginning of Level 22: 6,000/12,000 with a 2,000 ante
- All remaining levels are 50 minutes long
Up-to-date results can be found above under the "Results" tab.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 1:46 AM Local Time
The tournament is down to the final 10 players and the tournament staff has condensed the field to the unofficial final table. The remaining 10 players are all guaranteed a payout of at least $1,393.
Unofficial final table seating assignments and chip counts:
Seat 1:James Alexander - 360,000 (45 bb)
Seat 2: K. Betz - 223,000 (27 bb)
Seat 3: Gregory Hartwick - 412,000 (51 bb)
Seat 4: Chadwick King - 171,000 (21 bb)
Seat 5: Kody Tillotson - 55,000 (6 bb)
Seat 6: Kevin Hoy - 560,000 (70 bb)
Seat 7: David Champion - 383,000 (47 bb)
Seat 8: Rob Winsler - 110,000 (13 bb)
Seat 9: Paul Hendee - 310,000 (38 bb)
Seat 10: Kiet Nguyen - 60,000 (7 bb)
- 5 minutes remain in Level 20: 4,000/8,000 with a 1,000 ante
Monday, February 20, 2017 10:09 PM Local Time
Event #2 is now just four players away from the money. The tournament clock reads that 31 players remain and the top 27 will cash. Everyone reaching the money is guaranteed a payout of at least $618. The tournament is currently in Level 16 and the plan for Day 1 is to play through Level 21 before bagging. Players that make it to the end of the day will return for Day 2 tomorrow at 1 p.m.
Right now Paul Hendee is sitting with one of the biggest stacks in the room. Hendee has eight WSOP cashes and has reached three final tables. He is still seeking his first career WSOP Circuit gold ring.
Monday, February 20, 2017 5:25 PM Local Time
Registration has closed, and the payout structure has been announced. There are officially 255 entries, and the top 27 players will make the money. A min-cash is worth $618, and the eventual winner will earn $18,744.
Here are the final table payouts. A full prize structure is available in the PRIZEPOOL tab, above.
Monday, February 20, 2017 2:00 PM Local Time
Valentin Vornicu looks for his record-tying ninth ring.
Event #2 is now on its first break. The clock currently shows 214 entries (with 127 players remaining). That number will likely climb, as late-registration and re-entry are open until the start of Level 9 (roughly 4:30 p.m.).
Monday, February 20, 2017 8:43 AM Local Time
Event #2: $365 No-Limit Hold'em (Single Re-Entry) - 12 p.m.
- Players start with 10,000 tournament chips
- Blinds begins at 25/50
- Registration remains open until the start of Level 9 (4:30 p.m.)
- Players are allowed one re-entry
- Levels 1-12 are 30 minutes long, levels 13-21 are 40 minutes long and all remaining levels are 50 minutes long
- There is a one-hour dinner break after Level 12
- Day 1 will last 21 levels
- Day 2 will begin Tuesday at 1 p.m.
Monday, February 20, 2017 8:42 AM Local Time