More than four years ago, DJ Alexander nearly won a bracelet, but ultimately finished runner-up to Pablo Mariz in the $1,500 no-limit hold’em millionaire maker at the 2017 World Series of Poker. The Houston-based poker pro made the most of his second chance at a WSOP title Monday evening and added a six-figure score and the bracelet to his resume.
Alexander bested what was technically a 1,240-entry field in the $1,000 flip & go to earn $180,665 along with the bracelet. The win bumped his career tournament earnings to $2.56 million and to 154th in the Card Player Player of the Year race, sponsored by Global Poker.
“It’s awesome,” said Alexander to WSOP live reporters after the victory. “I’ve been here before, but it feels great to get over the hump.”
Alexander’s second win came in a format that was being tried for the first time by the WSOP and was sponsored by GGPoker. The flip & go format resembled a more luck-based shootout where every player needed to win a “flip” to get into the money.
At your first table, everyone was treated as all in and would play a hand of pineapple, a game where each player received three cards and got to discard one after the flop. The winners of the hand would cash and play against the other winners in a turbo structured no-limit hold’em event. There were 155 players that won their flip and secured a spot in the money.
Despite the added luck aspect, the final table still featured David Peters, who sits sixth on poker’s all-time money list, as well as high-stakes pro Jake Schwartz. Alexander defeated Jason Beck heads-up for the title, who earned $111,715 for his runner-up finish.
On Sunday, the 155 players that won their flips played 12 levels and trimmed the field down to 23, who returned on Monday to crown a champion. With 30-minute levels, it only took about three hours to narrow the field down even further to the final nine, which saw Peters leading the pack. From there, it only took another four hours for Alexander to accumulate the rest of the chips in play.
Koveh Waysei was eliminated the first to go after he lost a flip with pocket sixes against Corey Bierria’s A-Q. The next real confrontation came when the two biggest stacks at the start of the final table got involved against one another.
Fred Goldberg limped in the small blind and Peters moved all in from the big blind, for effectively Goldberg’s remaining 10 big blinds. Goldberg tanked and eventually called with 88 and was in great shape against Peters’ K7, but the flop brought a 7 and the river brought another one, giving Peters trip sevens, the pot, and a sizable chip lead.
But his chip lead was short lived as he doubled up other players at the table twice before Schwartz and Beck did the heavy lifting to send the next three players home.
Schwartz won a flip with A-K against J-J to eliminate Rok Gostisa in seventh just a couple minutes before Beck eliminated Bierria in sixth. Schwartz then got all in with 3-3- against Huy Lam’s 9-9, but flopped quads to eliminate Lam in fifth.
Peters was the short stack four-handed but hit a three-outer with A-5 against Jason Beck’s A-K to stay alive. He then found himself all in against Alexander with similar equity and couldn’t get lucky.
Peters moved all in with K-J and was called by Alexander’s K-Q. The board brought no help for either player and Peters was out in fourth. It was one of the more critical spots at the final table for the eventual champion.
“It I call and I’m wrong here, I’ll be left with like four big blinds,” Alexander told WSOP live reporters. “I even still didn’t want to call knowing that I beat a high percentage of his range, but if I wanted to win the tournament, I needed to take a stand there.”
Beck then turned a flush against Schwartz to send him home and start heads-up play with Alexander basically even in chips.
Heads-up play didn’t last more than a few hands as the entire match lasted about 15 minutes. Alexander won a couple of non-showdown pots to take a small chip lead before all the chips got in the middle preflop.
Beck showed A4 and needed to get lucky against Alexander’s AJ. The board came KQ2105, which gave Alexander the nut straight and eliminated Beck in second.
Final Table Results: