As consolation prizes go, it’s not bad.
Alex Livingston of Halifax took third place in the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas on Tuesday night, earning US$4 million.
Livingston went into the three-man final table in second place in chip count, but over the course of nine hours and almost 300 hands, it was Hossein Ensan of Germany who took the top prize of $10 million. Dario Sammartino of Italy won $6 million for coming second.
Livingston, who was briefly in first place, was eliminated on the 200th hand of the night, going all in on a pair of jacks but losing to Ensan’s pair of queens.
It’s his second top-15 placing at the World Series, having finished 13th in 2013.
“Having done it before definitely gave me an advantage, just because I’m used to the cameras and the lights, and some of the media attention, all that stuff,” he said. “I feel like I’m a little more mature now than I was then, so I probably handled it better. It was fun.
“Obviously, I’m incredibly lucky to have two top-15 finishes in the main event. You need some cards to do that, but I feel like my style sets up well for the main event, where I’m very comfortable live, very comfortable with deep stacks and very comfortable going against amateurs.”
The 32-year old Livingston was the only player in the final not wearing sunglasses, but he did sport a Cabot Links sweatshirt, and a Nova Scotia flag hung over the rail behind him. Dozens of his fans chanted “rum and chess” every time Livingston won a hand (his twitter handle is @rumnchess and it was his first online poker screen name).
“I made it when I was 18,” he told reporters after he was eliminated. “I’m a chess player and maybe I liked rum and Coke at the time. I think I did. I don’t drink it any more. It’s just held strong. I don’t play online at all any more, but for a while I did.”
Livingston, who spends eight months of the year in Vegas and four in Halifax, had four distinct groups of friends there to support him, from Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Halifax and England. His brother and mom were also there during the event.
“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “When are you going to get all these people to come together outside of your wedding or something like that? It’s also overwhelming.”
Livingston and five friends went to Top Golf, a high-end driving range, the night before the final table to relax.
He and his brother both attended Halifax Grammar School, where Alex ran track before moving to The George School in Connecticut for Grades 11 and 12, where he starred in cross country.
He studied economics at Tufts University in Boston and is a part owner of the North of Brooklyn pizza chain in Toronto and also owns a rental property at Cabot Links.
Livingston, who got a supportive tweet from comedian Norm MacDonald during the final table, was active on social media in the early days of the championship, but went silent over the last couple of days. A friend in Vegas said Livingston planned to “retreat” to Montana when the event was over to “reflect” on the experience.
Video courtesy of pokernewsdotcom.