Saturday, January 29, 2011
Four years ago 2007 WPT champ Mike Vella taught Jessica Wuerz how to play hold-em. At the time she was playing high-stakes bingo. Fast forward to today where Vela is backing Wuerz in this $1,850 tournament.
He's been watching and supporting her faithfully from the rail - a little like a manager in the corner. The couple is from Newburgh, NY.
Jessica has 127,500 chips and doesn't fear the other women. When asked how she feels about being the Last Women Standing she enthusiastically said, "I love it. It's the only way it should be."
She's on a roll as she finished 7th in a PCA event turning $300 into $3000.
Look for Vella to make a splash this week as he took 18th in our Borgata Championship Event 3 years ago.
As we wait the bubble in hand for hand play, I see a flop fall J♣ Q♥ J♠.
Both players check.
Turn card K♣ causes Al Grimes to announce, "All In".
Jacek Markowski snap calls and tables Q♦ Q♣ for the flopped Full House.
Unfortunately for Grimes, he turned Broadway, as he flips A♣ 10♥.
The crowd was treated to some all in action as I heard spectators say, "Love those ladies...He flopped a full-house...Check, check on the flop was key...Nice flop...Sic Cooler..."
Grimes took a hit but still has chips to work with - while Jacek earned a needed double up and sits on 260,000 after cruising on the slo boat to China.
Jacob Schindler has a heck of a bad beat story to tell as the 10th place finisher. The end of Day 1 chip leader's pocket aces are cracked by quad kings, "crushing my dreams."
Edward Pham opens with a min raise to 24k
Schindler raises to 61k
Pham 4-bets to 135k
Schindler 5-bet jams 600k
Schindler: A♠ A♦
Pham: K♥ K♦
Flop: K♠ 4♠ 5♠ (Pham set of kings/Schindler nut flush draw)
Turn: K♣ (Pham Quad kings/Schindler drawing dead)
Pham's quad kings takes down a 1.2 million chip pot and he's now the chip leader.
It's been twenty minutes going one-hand at a time as we await the bubble.
6-handed is known for being loose and fast but things have certainly tightened up big time.
No one is more anxious than James Boyle who must make the cash in order to secure the PPI - Play for the Main - Championship Seat.
Boyle was jokingly biting his nails when I passed by. He has a short stack of 5000 chips and just made a tight BB fold.
This is getting tense. Nobody wants to bust.
I saw some tight lay downs. Only AK or better seems to be getting their chips in.
I'll be back when the bubble bursts.
Since the final table began there have been several all-ins but no calls, until now.
Ory Hen raises from the button and Dennis Summers re-raises all-in from the big blind for 150k more.
Hen tanks, counts 150k out of his stack and eventually calls and is ahead A9 vs A5.
Summers hits a 5 on the turn to double up and stay alive.
"I guess I never believe the button," says a relieved Summers. "That's why I usually fold, because when I know I'm ahead I still lose."
Blinds are 6k/12k/2k ante, while the average stack is 450k.
Ten minutes scramble for the floor to color-up the 100 black chips then race em off.
It's getting close to the bubble.
Boyle's still in...so close he can taste that PPI seat.
When our players return:
Level 16: Blinds - 2000 / 4000 with 500 antes.
When you play 6 handed you get more of an opportunity to focus on the few players at the table. Sometimes this is good when it's people you get along with, and sometimes it creates tension and steam.
Michael "Indian Mike" Vee has been mixing it up all day with an Opponent from Lebanon.
Mostly fun verbal jousting with a couple of suck outs mixed in.
"His pocket jacks held up like four times" said Vee.
Indian Mike currently has a healthy stack of 220,000.
"He called me 'new money' earlier, and I'm older than he is" joked Vee.
Benny has a couple bros hanging around the rail lending their support.
Adam & Ari from Long Island don't really play poker but are having fun rooting on their boy.
"He's the next up and coming star" bragged Ari.
I asked Benny to give it to me straight, having friends over your shoulder - distraction or helpful?
He said it was great to have them and couldn't ask for anything more.
33 players left - paying 30.
James Boyle needs 6 players to bust and he will win the PPI seat.
As he was telling me this, Jason Young interrupted to tell Boyle he just won another event which gave him more points. Bottom line, Young told Boyle he needs to final table to secure the PPI seat.
"Are you kidding me?" Boyle said with frustration - he couldn't believe it.
The dealer and I quickly figured out Young was just having some fun with Boyle, then Boyle figured it out as well.
James laughed stating, "What can I say? I'm gullible."
The rich get richer.
Tony Antonious has 350,000 and scoops a nice pot when his 9-9 rivers a full house.
Apparently nobody else connected or was afraid of the boat as two players folded.
Tony lost 120,000 the first hand after dinner when his A-K got smacked around by A-A.
"That's okay, because I got all those chips back." Tony hit a set of sevens against J-J and knocked that same player out.
Down to 36 players and we're paying 30.
1 Mark Baatz (Brielle, NJ) 265k
2 Dennis Summers (Charlottesville, VA) 229k
3 Charles Tidmarsh (Greenville, SC) 210k
4 Daniel Cai (Brooklyn, NY) 900k
5 Jacob Schindler (Brynmar, PA) 675k
6 Nick Ricciardi (Palm Beach, FL) 420k
7 Derek Buonano (Tolland, CT) 250k
8 Mark Tyson (Philadelphia, PA) 510k
9 Edward Pham (Lansdale, PA) 695k
10 Ory Hen (Cooper City, FL) 360k
The debate was, do you smile for a bust-out picture or show the world how you really feel.
Harder kind of went in between.
His 6-6 vs. A-Q coin flip didn't fall the right way for Harder who only had 130,000 when he shoved with the wired pair.
Joshua Field exited in 14th Place when his KQ ran into Aces.
Almost everyone texts their demise withing a few minutes of losing.
"This was my first experience here and I'll be back" said Josh who we'll see again in Borgata Winter Poker Open Championship Event.
The flop was under tens so Bittan shoved, never expecting to see that his Opponent was slo-playing pocket rockets.
Bittan will pocket $4,461 for his two days at the office.
Just back from dinner break and tables continue to collapse and the chips continue to grow.
One quick bust sets the field at 48 (91k avg) on 8 tables.
Jason Campbell was on the door step of 200k and has broken through, so has Jamie Kerstetter, who was at 120 k at the break.
Kerstetter 3-bet preflop with AA. The action gets to the river where a scary board forces Kerstetter to make a 40k call and her hand is good pushing her stack to 205k.
Level 14 (1,200/1,400/400 ante) is underway as blinds are now 50 minutes long.
Matt "Muffins" Mazzeo is on the rail which leaves James Boyle as the front runner for he PPI "Play for the Main" seat into the Main Event.
Boyle's been crunching the numbers all afternoon and is in good shape, but is now keeping an eye on Ryan Eriquezzo, who is mathematically in the mix with a final table appearance.
Boyle has his sights set on the money to ensure he picks up the five points he needs to break the tie he's in with Mazzeo.
Mazzeo was knocked out when his pocket 7s lost to pocket 10s. Boyle says Mazzeo sucked out three time to stay alive, "but he couldn't do it a fourth."
The remaining 16 players have been sent on a one hour dinner break. Play will resume at 8:30pm.
Here are their chip estimates as of dinner:
Seat - Player - Chips
1 - Michel Bittan - 185k
2 - Charles Tidmarsh - 235k
3 - Christian Harder - 170k
4 - Derek Buonano - 250k
5 - Mark Tyson - 320k
6 - Aaron Steury - 226k
8 - Dennis Summers - 230k
9 - Daniel Cai - 446k
1 - Richard Kirsch - 320k
2 - Jacob Schindler - 380k
3 - Joshua Field - 150k
4 - Nicholas Ricciardi - 265k
5 - Mark Baatz - 310k
7 - Joshua Hillock - 150k
8 - Ory Hen - 330k
9 - Edward Pham - 470k
With 16 players remaining, the average stack is 282.5k.
Despite starting the day 42nd in chips out of 46 returning players, Natale Kuey held on, working his short-stack like a pro. He managed to survive not only to make the money, but to make the first money bump.
He just busted out in 17th place, good for $4,056.
Will "The Thrill" Failla asks for a count and then makes the call for 35k. Failla is in a classic race with pocket 10s against AK and instructs the dealer not to put anything on the board "higher than a 6."
When the board runs clean Failla is up to 135k. "Nice appetizer before dinner," he says. When someone points out that all low cards could have made him vulnerable to a five high straight, Failla quips, "then I would've thrown up."
Players have received their dinner vouchers and anxious for the one hour dinner break.
In a battle of the blinds, Mark Tyson (small) got his chips in against Aaron Steury (big). Mark's QT was racing against pocket 7s. The board came K 9 3 7 8 -- all clubs! -- and Mark took the pot with the Queen of clubs, doubling up.
On the next hand, Aaron was the small blind battling against Walter Hill, who was all-in from the big blind. Aaron's pocket 4s flopped a set and it was all over for Walter. He finished in 18th place, taking home $4,056.
A full level has gone by without anyone busting out. Walter Harris has been all-in several times, but never gotten called.
Still 18 players.
Blinds are now up to 4k/8k with 1k antes.
When this tournament started Kaelaine was pulled aside by Andy Santiago guaranteed victory.
So far so good as he's up to 135k.
On a board of 2♦ Q♥ J♣ A♦ 10♣
Santiago bets 20k into a 35k pot, leaving 80k behind. His opponent folds and Santiago is one of the bigger stacks in the room. After the hand Santiago stands up quickly and pulls me aside,
"I told Kaelaine I'm going to do it, let her know I have chips."
Dinner break is one hour away as players break again at 7:30.
Farrid Jattin adds another 20k to stack when his pocket 5s hold against AJ, he's now up to 160k and is one of the bigger stacks in the tournament.
Some of the bigger stacks:
Farid Jattin 160k
Andy Santiago 140k
Adam Hui 120k
Larry Lackatosh 115k
Ryan Eriquezzo 110k
Jamie Kerstetter 100k
Roy Winston busts when he misses a flush draw against pocket kings.
The 6 max tournament creates a slightly different pay structure. Normally a field of 291 players would pay 27 spots, but this tournament will pay 30.
Here's a look at the numbers:
Total Buy-In: $291,000
Play resumed after the break with blinds of 3k/6k and 1k antes.
Things have been quiet for a while. Looks like these two tables are monopolizing the massage therapists in the room.
All these players are guaranteed to cash for at least $4,056, so we know they can afford it.
Jessica Weurz (Newburg, NY) battles back from 9k and now has close 50k. She was all-in with A 10 vs JJ and spikes an ace to stay alive. Weurz then she's hit three good hands to build her stack to just below the average chip count.
Weurz is at the Boyle/Mazzeo table and is watching Mazzeo cling to life, while Boyle has been holding steady in the PPI points race for the Main Event seat.
The 72 remaining players (61k avg) are on a 10 minute break.
Players are taking a color-up break, so here are some rough chip counts with their new table and seat assignments:
Seat - Player - Chips
1 - Natale Kuey - 165k
2 - Charles Tidmarsh - 130k
3 - Christian Harder - 150k
4 - Derek Buonano - 360k
5 - Mark Tyson - 290k
6 - Aaron Steury - 163k
7 - Walter Harris - 175k
8 - Dennis Summers - 144k
9 - Daniel Cai - 300k
1 - Richard Kirsch - 275k
2 - Jacob Schindler - 260k
3 - Joshua Field - 255k
4 - Nicholas Ricciardi - 335k
5 - Mark Baatz - 250k
6 - Michel Bittan - 220k
7 - Joshua Hillock - 270k
8 - Ory Hen - 190k
9 - Edward Pham - 630k
With 18 players remaining, the average stack is ~251k.
Four more players have busted out and cashed out:
John Manwarning - 22nd
Donald Boivin - 21st
Sharon Levin - 20th
Steve Barshak - 19th
Each will collect $3,650.
With 18 players remaining, they are drawing seats and moving to the final two tables.
One of the big stacks is Ryan Eriquezzo, who is still thinking about how his mountain of chips was reduced to an 8th place finish in Event 12, is one of the big stacks with more than 100k.
Adam "Lippy" Lippert says, "we should play a game called 'What Will He Do With Them This Time.'"
Eriquezzo's table is breaking and the field is down to 90 players (49k average) as the top 30 cash.
Here's a look at some various chip counts from around the room:
Ryan Eriquezzo 105k
Mike Leah 70k
Todd Terry 60k
Adam Lippert 48k
James Boyle 47k
Matt Brady 30k
Tim Tuveson 26k
Roy Winston 20k
Matt Mazzeo 14k
Level 10 (500/1000/100 ante) continues.
That last blind increase seems to have put a sense of urgency into the short stacks. Three players have busted out in rapid succession.
Joshua Mancuso - 25th
Jack Schanbacher - 24th
Justin Gardenhire - 23rd
Each earned $3,650 for their two days of work.
$390-$750 to earn seats into the $3,500 Championship Event.
The next qualifiers are at 5 pm and 9 pm.
Check this link for a full schedule.
Sheree Bykofsky walked by media table and said she has a great hand from her qualifer as there's crazy action all over the room.
Blinds up to 2,500/5,000 with 500 antes.
Zaher Saleh (Rocky River, OH) got involved in a pot with Nicholas Ricciardi (Palm Beach, FL). At the river, the board read Q♣6♣4♥3♦4♣ and Nicholas bet 54k. Zaher taked for a bit, then called. Nicholas tabled A♣J♣ for the nut flush. Zaher mucked his hand.
Zaher was left with only about 30k. He got it in on the next hand and was busted. For his 26th place finish, he earned $3,650.
Earlier in the day a bizarre hand played out and there are varying perspectives on intent vs reality, you decide.
5 players see a rainbow flop of 8 9 Q.
Defending Champion Dan Spirer leads out for 2,500. As Al Grimes is contemplating his action when Leo Wei makes the call, but the dealer instructs him that he's out of turn.
After Grimes folds, Wei attempts to fold throwing his cards towards the muck, but the dealer rules that his call stands and because Wei's cards are retrievable is still in the hand.
"Karate" Mike Santoro moves all-in for 22k and the action is back on Spirer, who also moves all-in. Wei who's had time to reconsider, makes the call and has both players covered.
Spirer: K K (over pair)
Santoro: J 10 (straight)
Wei: A Q (top pair, top kicker)
Wei goes runner, runner full house to knock out both players taking his stack to more than 70k. A player who tried to fold now has one of the bigger stacks.
Keep tables balanced is a lot more challenging in this format because tables will always have 4, 5 or 6 players. Every bust means there's a cry of, "seat open" and the floor personnel are constantly juggling players and breaking tables.
126 players are just back from break as 21 tables remain.
Level 9 (400/800/100 ante) is underway.
Scott Blemenfeld busted out in 30th place.
Then James Broadbent moved his last 34k in from the small blind. Jack Schanbacher called from the big blind. James' J7 off was behind Jack's KT off. Board was A 9 3 4 4 and James hit the rail in 29th place.
At another table, Alex Santiago was all-in and busted. He gets credit for finishing 28th and becomes today's bubble-boy.
With 27 players remaining, the are all officially in the money and guaranteed to earn at least $3,650.
The PPI "Play for the Main" subplot takes an interesting twist when Matt "Muffins" Mazzeo sucks out on the river to keep his hopes alive for winning the points title and a free seat into the Main Event.
Mazzeo is all-in for his last 12k on a board of J 10 2 and holds Q 10 for middle pair and is up against A J, top pair, top kicker. The turn is a brick, but the river brings another 10 and new life, as Mazzeo wins the pot with trip 10s.
"I'm so blessed," says Mazzeo as he doubles-up. James Boyle, who's also at the table is the only other player still in the running for the seat.
Mazzeo and Boyle can still earn points for cashing in the event, and a bonus for making the final table.
Edward Pham moved in for 55,500 and got called down by Alex Santiago, who held AK. Edward's AJ was dominated, but the board came J 3 3 Q 2 and Edward took the pot with Jacks-up. After doubling up Edward, Alex was left short.
Alex got his last chips in a few hands later against Justin Gardenhire. Alex held K8 off and had run into a dominating AK. The board came A 8 4 6 4 and Justin took the pot. Alex hit the rail.
Alon Shahar and Paul Richardson have also departed.
30 players remain. They're on break now as the staff colors up the black 100 chips.
Stanislav 'Steve' Barshak is the chip leader and the only player over 400k.
Honorary Blogger and Borgata Regular Jamie Kerstetter (Monroe Township, NJ) is slowly chipping up and has 53k. Without giving many details she says, "I owe a friend an apology," which means a bad beat may have been involved.
Kerstetter was instrumental in providing updates on the HOSE tournament which began play in the Poker Room.
Daniel Santoro makes his move with KQ off, getting action from Stanislav Barshak, who had AT off. The board ran out J 3 2 5 5 and Stanislav took the pot with Ace-high. Daniel took the walk out the door.
Mikail Vainstain made his desperation shove with his last 35k with QT off. Mark Tyson was on the button and made the call with pocket 5s. Board came 4 4 3 4 6 and Mark took the pot. Mikail was vanquished.
Heads Up runner up Tim Tuveson (Philadelphia, PA) says he barely made it into the field. "I was driving 80 miles an hour and at one point thought I wasn't going to make it."
Tuveson says he registered at 11:58, two minutes before the event closed. The University of Pennsylvania student says he didn't get much sleep which is understandable after playing Brandon Zaucha (Chicago, IL) for four hours in the championship match that didn't end until after 3 am.
Defending champion and this year's 5th/6th finisher Jeremy McLaughlin is also in the field. McLaughlin is all-in and at risk, but survives when his opponent tables the exact same hand as both have A J.
Mike Laufer (utg) got all-in with pocket Tens and ran into the pocket Kings of Richard Kirsch (utg+1). The board ran out Q 4 4 5 6 and changed nothing. Mike was already headed out the door when the stacks were counted down. He actually had 3,200 chips left after doubling up Richard. Unfortunately, they went in on the next two hands when he was the big blind and small blind.
In addition to Mike, Samuel Eliacin has also reported to the rail after running into Joshua Field's pocket Queens. Matthew Cohen has also been eliminated.
35 players remain at four tables. Average stack is ~129k.
Currently playing 1,500/3,000 with 400 antes.
Players are just back from break and starting to settle in. Dave Fox and Mike Beasley are side by side and are playing nice "for now," says Fox. "The blinds aren't big enough to get in trouble, yet" he adds.
Now that we reached Level 7, the levels have been extended from 30 to 40 minutes.
Level 7 (250/500/50 ante) is underway.
Official player count is 291 players, meaning total buy-ins of $291,000.
Gavin Smith and David Fox were at a late-forming table, but they've now been moved to empty seats in the field. David landed at table five with Mike Beasley and Vinny Pahuja.
Gavin landed at table 23 with Roy Winston.
Over on table 9, a PPI showdown is in progress. Matt Mazzeo and James Boyle are tied with 105 points each on the PPI "Play for the Main" points list -- and they're now seated at the same table. PPI is running a leaderboard for their players and today is the last day for PPI players to earn points to win a seat in the main event (courtesy of PPI), which begins tomorrow.
Day Two is underway with blinds of 1,200/2,400 and 400 antes.
46 players returned to continue the battle for the top prize of $113,556. Only the final 27 will get paid.
Here's a reminder what they're playing for:
Play resumed after the break with level 4, blinds of 100/200.
Jeff Papola (Little Egg Harbor, NJ) is in the field today and he's one to watch out for. He won the $5,000 buy-in Six-handed event this past summer at the WSOP.
Some players contend that you have to change your style for short-handed play (playing more hands, opening up your range, etc). Others just play as if always in late position. Regardless of which camp you're in, six-max means more action.
Several players have already busted out and tables are being broken down to fill the seats. Impossible to judge the field size, but 46 six-handed tables are currently in action (276 players).
More and more players continue to take their seats in this event. Due to the six-handed tables, they are filling empty seats quickly with players from broken tables. But new tables are starting up with late registering players.
More faces in the field:
Players will be going on break in a few minutes at the end of level three.
Level 3: blinds 75/150.
Taking his seat during the previous level at table 42 is Andy Santiago (Ben Salem, PA). "I'm going to win this tournament" he said. That remains to be seen, but if confidence is a factor, he's got it in spades.
Unfortunatly for Andy, he's facing Dwyte Pilgrim across the table. Dwyte has never lacked for confidence, as everyone will see when his WPT episode airs.
Dwyte won the Borgata Poker Open World Poker Tour main event here last September, taking home over $733,000 in the process. That final table was filmed and will appear on Fox Sports some time after Season IX begins airing in February.
Blinds are up to 50/100.
These tables are filling up like a beer stein during Oktoberfest. They're up to 43 tables now, with players still arriving.
Some familiar faces already spotted:
With only one day remaining before the BWO Main Event we expect an action packed event center with players trying to win their seat into the Championship Event through the many satellites being run today. At this years BWO we are pleased to introduce the PPI "Play for the Main" which will award the PPI player with the most points accumulated through participation, cashes, and final table appearances a seat into the Borgata Winter Poker Open Championship Event. We will provide you with daily leaderboard updates here, along with PPI player news. You can check out our roster of players and bios, news, charity organizations we support, and see the trailer for the PPI produced documentary film On The Line: John Racener at PPIPOKER.COM
Here is the updated leaderboard (Main Events 1-17, 19 & Events 27-47):
105: JAMES BOYLE
105: MATTHEW MAZZEO
90: RYAN ERIQUEZZO
90: JASON YOUNG
85: LAURENCE GOLDSTEIN
85: ALBERT RICCOBONO
80: JOSEPH CUTLER
70: MICHAEL SICA JR
60: MICHAEL DENTALE
60: BRENT KELLER
60: ADAM LIPPERT
55: JOSHUA BRIKIS
50: STEVEN DANNENMANN
50: DAVID INSELBERG
50: CARL RESTIFO
50: IAN PALOMO
45: KATHRYN DOUGHERTY
40: MICHAEL CASTALDO
40: DAVID ZEITLIN
35: VINEET PAHUJA
35: JAMES SALTERS
30: MICHAEL CASTALDO
30: CHRIS RESLOCK
30: JAMES STENELLA
25: ANTHONY CASAGRANDE
25: CARLOS DELAFUENTE
25: GORDON ENG
20: KELLY ARMENTROUT
20: JONATHAN WERZ
15: MICHAEL BROWN
15: ALEXANDER CUKAR
15: EMANUEL FAILLA
15: ROBERT HWANG
15: LISA PICKELL
15: EUGENE TODD
10: ELIZABETH GREY-PARDO
10: ROSLYN QUARTO
10: JEFFREY VANCHIRO
5: ANTHONY CAMPAGNA
5: CARLOS COLON
5: ADAM GERBER
5: CHARLES MARCHESE
5: JONATHAN SORSCHER
Last September, the Six-max event ran 23 hours -- from 11 am to 10 am the next morning. The player who outlasted all 297 entries was Dan Spirer (New Hope, PA).
Dan is back to give it another go today. He's ready for another long night, if necessary. "I've got my caffeine ready" he says. Dan is a regular in the cash games here at Borgata and considers himself an 'experienced recreational player'.
Cards are in the air as players continue to fill the sparse seats in the event center. It looks sparse because for this event, tables are set up with only 6 chairs each, instead of the usual ten.
Each player began with 15,000 chips and the first six levels are only 30 minute long. The next six increase to 40 minutes, then from level 13 on, they are 50 minutes long.
This is a one-day event, so they will play until one player has all the chips. No matter how long that takes.
Level 1 blinds are 25/50.
11A - Event 20: $1000 + $90 No Limit Hold'em (6-Max)
- 15,000 in starting chips
- Levels 1-6: each will last 30 minutes Levels 7-12: each will last 40 minutes
Levels 13: each will last 50 minutes
- 1-day event
11A - Event 48: $200 + $30 Championship Qualifier
- 10,000 in starting chips
- Levels will last 20 minutes
- approximately 1 in 18 will win entry into Borgata Winter Poker Open Championship Event (Jan 30-Feb 4)
- 1-day event
1P - Event 49: $700 + $50 Championship Qualifier
- 15,000 in starting chips
- Levels will last 40 minutes
- approximately 1 in 5 will win entry into Borgata Winter Poker Open Championship Event (Jan 30-Feb 4)
- 1-day event
5P - Event 50: $350 + $40 Championship Qualifier
- 10,000 in starting chips
- Levels will last 30 minutes
- approximately 1 in 10 will win entry into Borgata Winter Poker Open Championship Event (Jan 30-Feb 4)
- 1-day event
9P - Event 51: $500 + $50 Championship Qualifier
- 12,000 in starting chips
- Levels will last 35 minutes
- approximately 1 in 7 will win entry into Borgata Winter Poker Open Championship Event (Jan 30-Feb 4)
- 1-day event
Event 18: $1850 + $150 No Limit Hold'em
January 28-29, 2011
Total Buy-In: $418,100
End of Day 1 Chip Count Leaders:
1. JACOB SCHINDLER (BRYN MAWR, PA): 328,000
2. STANISLAV BARSHAK (BUFFALO GROVE, IL): 218,800
3. AARON STEURY (FT WAYNE, IN): 190,700
4. DONALD BOIVIN (ANNAPOLIS, MD): 184,900
5. MICHEL BITTAN (ENGLEWOOD, NJ): 170,800
6. JOSHUA HILLOCK (PALM, FL): 164,700
7. DEREK BUONANO (TOLLAND, CT): 164,100
8. RICHARD KIRSCH (POMPANO, FL): 152,000
9. MARK TYSON (PHILADELPHIA, PA): 149,800
10. DANIEL SANTORO (NO BELLMORE, NY): 145,400
11. JOSHUA FIELD (VILLA PARK, CA): 136,700
12. DANIEL CAI (BROOKLYN, NY): 131,900
13. JASON STRASSER (NEW YORK, NY): 110,700
14. PAUL RICHARDSON (GLENWOOD, NJ): 109,800
15. PETER IPPOLITO (E MEADOW, NY): 108,500
16. ALEX SANTIAGO (W HARTFORD, CT): 104,700
17. CHARLES TIDMARSH (GREENVILLE, SC): 104,500
18. WALTER HARRIS (ST PETERSBURG, FL): 102,500
19. ERACLES PANAYIOTOU (TOMS RIVER, NJ): 98,700
20. SHARON LEVIN (PEMBROKE PINES, FL): 98,000
21. MICHAEL LAUFER (UPPER SADDLE RIVER, NJ): 97,600
22. CHRISTIAN HARDER (ANNAPOLIS, MD): 95,300
23. NICHOLAS RICCIARDI (PALM BEACH, FL): 94,600
24. SAMUEL ELIACIN (BALDWIN, NY): 78,400
25. ORY HEN (COOPER CITY, FL): 78,200
26. JOSHUA MANCUSO (MANDEVILEE, LA): 78,100
27. JAMES BROADBENT (SMITHS, BER): 70,500
28. JUSTIN GARDENHIRE (PONCA, OK): 66,500
29. TARA FORTE (W SAYVILLE, NY): 65,800
30. ALEX SMITH (HIGHLAND PARK, NJ): 65,800
31. RAFAEL MENKES (BETHESDA, MD): 61,600
32. SCOTT BLUMENFELD (ROCKVILLE, MD): 61,100
33. EDWARD PHAM (LANSDALE, PA): 59,600
34. BRUCE YAMRON (NAPLES, FL): 57,100
35. MIKAIL VAINSTEIN (STATEN ISLAND, NY): 56,800
36. ALON SHAHAR (FRESH MEADOWS, NY): 55,300
37. DENNIS SUMMERS JR (CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA): 53,500
38. MATTHEW COHEN (PHILADELPHIA, PA): 52,500
39. MARK BAATZ (BRIELLE, NJ): 48,100
40. JACK SCHANBACHER (PITTSBURGH, PA): 44,800
41. STEPHEN SISKA (WESTLAKE, OH): 41,600
42. NATALE KUEY (BRONX, NY): 35,900
43. ZAHER SALEH (ROCKY RIVER, OH): 34,000
44. DAVID EINHORN (RYE, NY): 31,500
45. JOHN MANWARING (WAPPINGERS FALLS, NY): 29,500
46. GARY SCHOENGOLD (OLNEY, MD): 28,100
Event 19: $300 + $50 No Limit Hold'em
January 28, 2011
Total Buy-In: $90,300
1. THOMAS POMPONIO (MANAHAWKIN, NJ): $23,649
2. JOSEPH NICHOLS (NUTLEY, NJ): $13,138
3. MATTHEW DAMON (LOS ANGELES, CA): $8,145
4. THOMAS CALVO (STATEN ISLAND, NY): $6,569
5. MATTHEW MAZZEO (E WILLISTON, NY): $5,080
6. VINCENT PIZARO (EAST MEADOW, NY): $4,291
7. ANDREW INTERDONATO (WASHINGTON, DC): $3,459
8. STEVEN FREIFELD (NEW YORK, NY): $2,584
9. ROBERT RUDOVIC (BRONX, NY): $1,752
10. LAURENCE WOLF (ANNAPOLIS, MD): $1,138
11. JEFFREY BENHART (LUTHERVILLE, MD): $1,138
12. TONY MANDIA (COMMACK, NY): $1,138
13. RICHARD WILLIAM HEGARTY JR. (MOSELEY, VA): $876
14. JOAKIM BROCHARD (WANTAGH, NY): $876
15. AMIR GENZEL (FRESH MEADOWS, NY): $876
16. VYACHESLAV ARKHANGELSKIY (BROOKLYN, NY): $745
17. PAVEL MYNDROV (BROOKLYN, NY): $745
18. CURTIS TATUM JR (FAYETTEVILLE, NC): $745
19. THOMAS TAYLOR (INNISFIL, ONTARIO): $657
20. THOMAS NYMAN (SECAUCUS, NJ): $657
21. VICKI RENFROW (PINE KNOLL SHORES, NC): $657
22. JOSEPH CUTLER (BAY SHORE, NY): $657
23. JOHN BORGER (EFFORT, PA): $657
24. JOSUKE ITO (LEONIA, NJ): $657
25. SAAD GHANEM (ROSEDALE, MD): $657
26. CHARLES FUTCHER (WEST CHESTER, PA): $657
27. EUGENE JASKIEWICZ (PHILADELPHIA, PA): $657
$300 + $50 No Limit Hold'em
301 Players faced the felt at high noon with 10,000 chips and a dream to take down the Borgata trophy along with $23,649.
Matthew Damon (Los Angeles, CA) came close finishing in third place for $13,138. Joseph Nichols (Nutley, NJ) came even closer finishing in second place for $13,138. But our big winner tonight is Thomas Pomponio (Manahawkin, NJ) who outlasted 300 other players to take home the hardware and the $23,649 first place prize.
Players competing for the $90,300 prize pool included Roy "The Oracle" Winston’s uncle Larry Greenberg who was chip leader during a lower level.
Also in the field: Smiley Chin, Henry Doiban, Mickey Woll, Mirsad Kovaci, Eric Siegel, Jinhing ‘Smiley’ Chin, Jay Johnson, Abe Kolari, Joanne Monteavarro, Ian Palomo, and Vincent Basilicata - who won Event 7.
Vicki Renfrow was the Last Women Standing after cracking Queens twice; once with Aces and once with a K-10 lucky river while her tournament life was at risk.
After Matt Damon burst the bubble (hitting a set of sixes on the river), the final four tables of 36 players celebrated as they all made the money. Joe Cutler from Long Island had the chip lead with 196,000 at this point in the tourney.
Then there was Mirsad Kovaci who busted out, then immediately won $2500 playing FLOP poker by hitting a straight flush off a $5 investment.
The final table kicked off with chip leader Thomas Calvo with 679,000 and short stack Robert Rudovic with 86,000. Other final table participants included: Steven Freifeld, Tom Pomponio, Laurence Wolf, Joe Nichols, Matt Mazzeo, Andrew Interdonato, Matt Damon and Vin Pizaro.
After hours of play into the wee hours of the morning, Joe Nichols and Tom Pomponio went heads-up and got all the chips in with 7-7 against A-A. The irony was Nichols had A-A ten times today and they held up every time. Now it was Pomponio's turn, as his Aces would go on to win.
Both Tom and Joe play in Beefs Poker Tournaments in Union Beach, NJ and had met each other prior to today's match. Sounded like Joe edged out Tom at Beefs, but not today.
Tom's aggressive image worked like a charm and nailing down quad 8's during the day didn't hurt either.
Tom plays on-line everyday, just won at PCA, and played in WSOP main event last summer, the day he turned 21.
Once again congrats to our champion Tom Pomponio the bus boy turned poker pro who cleaned up good today at 2011 Borgata Winter Poker Open.
Borgata will have to pony up $23,649 to Tom Pomponio (Manahawkin, NJ) who just earned his largest cash tournament win to date.
He was adamant about playing this to the very end sensing he had the skills to outlast everyone else.
Tom turned 21 last June and on his birthday played in the World Series of Poker.
He's been playing poker on-line under his Father's account since he was 15 and on his own account since 18.
Tom attends Richard Stockton College and used to scrub dishes as a bus boy making only $30 a night - he's since quit his job, making poker his new profession. Skeptical at first, his parents are now proud supporters as their son just won 21,000 at the PCA 1-K heads-up and now his largest cash to date, another $23,649 from Borgata.
His image was very aggressive and it paid off.
Congratulations again to our Champion Tom Pomponio.
Look out for this kid...the future is bright and he's got some game.
You gotta be tough to play poker and Joe plays three times a week in home games and comes down to Borgata once a month.
He has some nice finishes, including 2nd place after re-buying four times, but this will be his biggest cash to date. His Polar Bear marker was a Christmas gift from his seven-year-old daughter. He used it as a paperweight until he started playing poker 6 years ago. Now his cards are always protected with it.
Joe had pocket aces ten times today and they held up all ten. But...live by the aces, die by the aces. In a great heads up battle that was virtually even, Joe's 7-7 ran into Tom's pocket rockets.
Joe shook Tom's hand before the cards fell, realizing he was drawing very thin.
Board: 9-J-4-2-9 brought this tournament to a close.
Joe is turning 50 on Tuesday. Happy birthday Joe!
$13,138...what a great early birthday present.
Damon, thought and thought and thought. "I have an over pair to the board sir...you have Jacks beat right now?" asked Damon. "How can I answer that" said Joe.
Finally Matt called and tabled JJ. He actually turned a club for more outs, but the river faded.
Joe has been getting Aces a lot today and even kissed his cards before mucking them.
Even with the blow, Matt's friends Steve and Mikets didn't give up and offered encouragement.
"Keep doubling up. It'll be a storybook ending for the blog..."
Alas this tale ended in third place when a couple hands later Joe finished him off picking up monster outs (gutter and nut-flush and two-over cards) and hitting an Ace on the turn.
Early on with his tournament life at stake, Wolf got extremely lucky sucking out with A-10 vs. AK vs. AK and on another occasion with AQ vs. AK.
But this final table race from behind wasn't meant to be as A-9 fell to A-Q on a flop of A-Q-K.
"The blinds and antes were so much I had to make a move." said Wolf who won the 2007 Borgata Winter Poker Open $500 Event 13 and has three final tables this week already.
Seat - Name - Chips
1. Steven Freifeld 104,000
2. Tom Pomponio 659,000
3. Laurence Wolf 91,000
4. Thomas Calvo 679,000
5. Joe Nichols 290,000
6. Matt Mazzeo 215,000
7. Robert Rudovic 86,000
8. Andrew Interdonato 120,000
9. Matt Damon 158,000
10. Vin Pizaro 500,000
The last man into the tournament is the last man standing as Brandon Zaucha (Chicago, IL) wins the Heads Up title. Zaucha defeated Tim Tuveson (Philadelphia) to take the title and the $34,920 first prize.
"It feels good to finally cash in a live tournament," says the Arizona State student, who was playing at Borgata for the first time. A snow storm delayed the start of the tournament, which gave Zaucha just enough time to be the last player to register, 15 minutes before his opening match.
After blitzing through his first 6 matches, Zaucha lost to Tuveson, who was the sole survivor of the losers bracket, in an epic 4 hour match. Zaucha's only loss meant a rematch for the championship, which he quickly won.
"He was a really good player, who didn't have any weakness," said Tuveson, who earned $21,825 for second place. "His game was solid and he knew what he was doing."
Tuveson reached the championship match by exacting revenge on Lior Barlev in the losers bracket championship after Barlev defeated Tuveson in the winners bracket semifinals. Barlev finished 3rd taking home $13,095.
Two former Borgata Heads Up Champions were in the field including defending champ Jeremy McLaughlin who lost early in the tournament but battled back to barely make the money when he was eliminated by Tuveson. McLaughlin was joined by Charlie Hook (2009 Summer Open Champ) who failed to cash.
The other players who cashed included Sirous Jamshidi and McLaughlin who each earned $4,365 for finishing tied for 5th and 6th place by losing in the same round of the tournament. Marc Davis finished 4th, good for $8,730.
The field also included a pair of Borgata Main Event Champions in Dwyte Pilgrim (Sept. 2010 Poker Open Champ) and Billy O'Neil (2010 Summer Open Champ). They were joined by notables Jason Young, Josh Brikis, Matt Affleck, Bill Blanda, Will "The Thrill Failla" and Matt Glantz.
Zauch went 7-1 in the tournament, while Tuveson finished 7-2.
Zaucha had weather related travel problems from Illinois and was running so late his bags are still at the airport.
"It feels good to finally cash in a live tournament," says the poker playing student who's finishing his Arizona State Liberal Arts degree on-line. "We played the same," Zaucha says about Tuveson. "Controlled agression, we both played pretty well."
Zaucha ends the tournament with a 7-1 record.
Tim Tuveson rallied from the loser's bracket to defeat Brandon Zaucha, but in the end he came up short in the "rematch." He's a University of Pennsylvania student who's closing in on a degree in Criminology.
Tuveson has spent a lot of time playing heads up on-line and thinks the Borgata Winter Poker Open double elimination format is fantastic and so was his opponent.
"He was a really good player, who didn't have any weakness. His game was solid and he knew what he was doing. Tuveson says it's "to be determined" if he'll pursue poker professionally.
Tuveson ends the tournament with a 7-2 record.
1. Jake Schindler 328,000
2. Steven Barshak 218,000
3. Aaron Steury 190,000
4. Donald boivin 184,900
5. Michel bittan 170,800
6. Josh Hillock 164,700
7. Richard Kirsch 152,000
Jake Schindler is the big chip leader with 328,000. Jake is not over-confident with his lead but shared a couple insights as to how he amassed so many chips.
He spent the first few levels studying the table then in the mid levels switched gears and trusted his reads. One key hand paid huge dividends, 1) in chips and 2) in establishing a crazy table image to be feared.
Opponent kept coming after Schindler's big blind so he defended with J-9 off. After missing the K-8-3 flop his Opponent bet 10,000. Jake noticed the vein in his Opponent's neck pulsating so he re-popped it to 21,500. Opponent folded and Schindler tabled the slop. "After that no one played back at me" said Jake.
In the last hour of play, Jake used his big stack to push others around and accumulate even more chips. He's currently more than 100,000 chips over second in chips with 218,000 - Steven Barshak.
Approximately 50 players will return tomorrow at 1Pm to continue Event 18 down to a Champion who will pocket $113,556.
Curtis Tatum is out in 18th place for $745.
"I played good and am happy" said Curtis.
A-Q of spades was the hand that weakened Tatum's stack, then he put the rest of his chips in the middle with Q-10 up against K-J.
Curtis didn't connect on the board and was knocked out.
Tatum told me he felt worn out after such a long day of grinding poker.
Tim Tuveson finally puts away Brandon Zaucha in the Championship Bracket and now both players have one loss. The two will rematch for the title after a grueling 4 hour match.
Tuveson holds A♠ J♣ against Zaucha's A♦ 4♦. The board holds for Tuveson who gets the last of Zaucha's 12k while blinds are 500/1000.
Talk about a run. How about three, count em, three key double-ups. Thomas Calvo (Staten Island, NY) was down to 80,000 then he struck gold thrice.
First he scores a full-house against two pair.
Then he has the higher end of a straight against Opponent's lower end.
Then he wakes up to three sevens.
Calvo takes care of his kids, ages 5 and 2, when he's not on the felt.
Brandon Zaucha (6-0) vs Tim Tuveson (6-1)
Board: 5♣ 10♠ K♠ 6♦ 2♣
Zaucha bets 5k into a 7k pot on the river.
Tuveson tanks and eventually makes the call
Zaucha: Q♠ J♦ (queen high)
Tuveson 5d♦ 7 (pair of 5s)
Tuveson wins the pot and regains the chip lead 31k to 19k.
********* Post Match Quotes **********
Tuveson: "Either he has a king or missed a lot of draws. It was a tough decision, but once I thought it through I felt I was good. Even if I'm wrong I still would have had enough chips to keep playing.
Zaucha: "It was a good call. I didn't feel it affected my momentum, but chip wise it was a big hand."
Down to two tables of ten.
Woops already lost one player who slo-played Aces and got caught by a donk hand.
Blinds are 4000 / 8000 with 500 antes.
We are finishing this baby tonight and the blog will be here to the end.
Brandon Zaucha (6-0) vs Tim Tuveson (6-1)
Zaucha (36k) K♠ K♥
Tuveson (14k) Ac 4♥
Flop: 3♠ 6♣ 5♣ (Zaucha leads with pair of kings/Tuveson gut shot straight draw)
Turn: 2♠ (Tuveson, Zaucha is dead to a chop and needs a 4 for a straight on board)
Tuveson wins the hand and has a slim chip lead 26k to 24k.
Brandon Zaucha (6-0) vs Tim Tuveson (6-1)
Blinds: 400/800 (2nd hand of the level)
Zaucha (20k) K♣ Q♠
Tuveson (30k) A♥ 10♣
Zaucha flops an ace to secure the hand and double up to take the chip lead 40k to 10k
Down to three tables.
Looks like Matt "Muffins" Mazzeo is going deep again.
He just knocked out player #26.
"I had A-K, he had 8-8. Flop was A-J-2 and that's all she wrote" succinctly said Mazzeo.
Matt is stacking 130,000 but admits he still has a way to go.
Tara currently has 110,000 chips and is looking to make some moves.
Tara's nine year old son Justin made her this bracelet which to Tara is better and way more special than any WSOP bracelet could ever be.
Vicki Renfrow is Event 19's Last Women Standing.
She's played fairly solid and is having fun.
"I did bust pocket Queens twice...once with AA and once with K-10", said Vicki.
She was short stack and tired of folding so shipped it in with K-10 and spiked a King on the river.
"He was a nice guy, but thank-you" joked Renfrow.