Glenn Engelbert (Erial, NJ) overcame a 3-2 chip deficit in heads-up play and was down to just 75k before rallying to beat Joe Calandrino (Oakdale, NJ) and win Event 3 (Limit) at the Borgata Winter Poker Open.
"This is a relief," said Engelbert who takes home $6,925 for the win, "it felt like I was bubbling everything last year."
Calandrino took the chip lead after the dinner break and knocked out three players at the final table, but wasn't able to seal the deal when he had Engelbert on the ropes. "I played well," says Calandrino who earned $3,760 for second place, "but luck was definitely a factor."
The key hand of heads-up play came with Calandrino holding pocket 9s against Engelbert's QJ. The flop came JJ7 and there was a lot of action, especially in a limit tournament. Engelbert sealed the deal when another 7 hit the turn to complete his full house.
Engelbert won the 400k pot as he was able to get two extra bets out of Calandrino, 40k each on the turn and river. "He didn't need to give up 80-thousand," says Engelbert, "but I guess he didn't believe I had a jack."
Engelbert closed out the tournament when his ace high took down the final pot. The mixed game specialist feels this is redemption as he says he finished just outside of the money in two different Borgata HOSE tournaments last year.
The tournament began with 68 players and featured a lot of players who usually are at the No-Limit tables. Borgata regulars Jason Young (Suffern, NY) and Howard Wolper (Atlantic City, NJ) were in the field along with Norman Whitely (Newark, DE) and Al Riccobono (Ossining, NY), who finished first and second in this event, respectively, in the 2009 Borgata Poker Open.
Whiteley was poised to make another deep run and was the chip leader at the dinner break, but a late night rough patch left him short of the money. As the tournament moved along quickly, a vote with two tables remaining had players agreeing to shorten the two-day event to one.
In the end nine players cashed in on the total buy-in of $20,400, with Engelbert taking home the top prize.