The inaugural WPT Tampa event came to a close yesterday, with Brian Altman sitting pretty with all the chips. This gives the Massachusetts resident his third World Poker Tour title. And his second-biggest tournament cash to date.
Altman won $613,225 for his exceptional performance. He had to beat 1,165 entries in order to win the event. More importantly, he had to beat Jonathan Jaffe at the final table.
Jaffe was coming in hot with a decent stack and the motivation of a freight train. He was after his second title. Only one of these two pros could come away with what they wanted.
“This is a really special World Poker Tour title for me,” Altman said in his post-game interview. “I’m joining the exclusive club of three-time champions, which only a few people have done. To be among that company makes me feel really proud.”
Only six other players have won three WPT championships. And only one of them went on to win a fourth. Darren Elias is that one player.
“To earn my fourth title and chase Darren down would be pretty awesome. He’s a buddy of mine,” Altman said.
As well as his fourth title, Altman’s eye has also now turned to the WPT Player of the Year leaderboard.
“To win back-to-back World Poker Tour Player of the Year titles would be incredible,” he said. “It’s never been done before. To cement myself as one of the top guys on tour would mean a lot.”
The WPT tweeted about his victory.
“He’s done it again!” the @WPT Twitter account wrote. “Brian Altman becomes the seventh player in WPT history to win three WPT titles by taking down #WPTTampa for $613,225 against a field of 1,165 entries. Congrats, Brian!”
Altman for the win
Until the final table, the table seemed tilted in Jaffe’s direction. He had a commanding lead in chips through most of Day 3. However, towards the end of the day the center of gravity moved to Altman. With it went the majority of the tournament’s chips. As a result, Altman started the final table with a monster stack.
“Bagged chip lead with 9 left in @WPT Tampa with $600k+ for 1st,” Altman tweeted at the end of Day 3. “Play concludes tomorrow.”
It didn’t take long for the first three players to fall (T. K. Miles, Steven Queen, and David Berman — in that order).
After the “TV” bubble broke and six-handed play began, things got a bit more serious. Despite some big swings, Jaffe ended up going out in fourth.
A few hands after Jaffe hit the rail, Altman was heads-up with Gabriel Abusada.
The final analysis
Abusada played a patient game, managing to close the gap on Altman’s lead from 3:1 down to 2:1. Despite his opponent’s steady play, Altman kept his nerve. In the end, Altman’s greater skill, luck, and chip stack gave him an unassailable position.
“I did not feel frustrated at all,” Altman said. “I was just playing my cards and trying to keep my calm and composure, and making the strategic adjustments that I saw fit.”
The final hand saw both players go in pre-flop. Altman had pocket jacks, Abusada had pocket sixes. The board narrowly missed them both, allowing Altman’s pair to hold.
In the end, Altman showed excellent sportsmanship and a healthy dose of humility. He said: “My recent success in the past two years is probably due to just decades plus of work, and trying to improve my game-playing. Plus the compounding effects of playing a lot of poker and gaining more experience. And putting more time in to improve my game.”
That hard work has paid off in a big way.
WPT Tampa final table results
|9th||T. K. Miles||$61,325|
Featured image source: Flickr by WPT