Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Event #1: Moving Day (Literally)

Seats Open

The Event Center is eerily quiet for a tournament that still has 350 remaining players, but that all changes during the next break.

The remaining 13 tables in the Poker Room will bag and tag their chips and make the move to the second floor.

Level 14 winding down and when play resumes blinds are 2k/4k/400 ante.

Event #1: Low Talker

Mayrose Making Magic

Bill Mayrose (Annapolis, MD) is a soft spoken, gentile man who's letting his chips and table mates do all the talking. He's sitting on more than 400k and everyone but Mayrose is amazed.

"He's only lost one showdown at the river," says Nathan Klotz (Manassas, VA), who guess Mayrose has won the other 11 hands. "I've been sitting to his right for 12 hours and just glad to still be here."

Mayrose's biggest haul is a 120k pot when he flops top two, his opponent turns a straight, but is sent packing when the board pairs giving Mayrose the river boat. "I used to be his accountant," says Klotz, "but, now I'm his agent."

As the rest of the table recites Mayrose's winning hands: 5-6, gut shot straight, 7-8 vs Q-Q, 9-10 flopped flush vs. K-Q, the older gentleman takes his time while laughing along. "I'm playing pretty well," he says.

"It doesn't matter how your playing," says one player, "you simply say, 'I took the pot.'"

"He's put a lot of players to the test and nobody's been able to withstand the challenge," says Klotz.

Level 14 continues (1.5k/3k 400 ante).

Event #1: Payouts

$350 + $50 No Limit Hold'Em
Entries: 1,563
Prize Money: $530,639

Place-Prize
1 $99,919
2 $74,289
3 $41,124
4 $35,819
5 $30,513
6 $25,206
7 $19,900
8 $14,594
9 $10,614
10-12 $6,898
13-15 $5,041
16-18 $3,184
19-27 $2,388
18-36 $2,016
37-45 $1,698
46-54 $1,486
55-63 $1,327
64-72 $1,167
73-81 $1,061
82-90 $955
91-100 $849
101-120 $796

Event #1: Hugs & Kisses

Dear Hoover,

Don't you wish you could be here?

Love, Crumlish

490 players remain with Tournament Director Tab Duchateau joking, "as we inch closer to the money."

Event #1: Outer Limits

Don't Call Me "Merry" Merrifield

Had a chance to venture to the Poker Room to check on the 24 remaining tables on the first floor. Surprisingly most of the overflow crowd is perfectly fine with the separation from the Event Center.

"I like it actually," says Dave Merrifield (Secaucus, NJ), "I'm closer to the food downstairs," he says referring to the food court.

Merryfield's also in a good mood because he continues to stack a pile of chips and is at 285k. "No really big hands," says the Champion of the 2008 Winter Open $500 tournament, "I'm playing pretty well."

Case in point: On a board of A 7 8, Merrifield bets 7k and is called. It's a similar bet-call on the turn and after both players check the river, Merryfield shows A J for top pair and the winner.

Players in the Poker Room (24 tables) are getting anxious to join the main field (32 tables) which should happen in the next 2 hours.

Moving on to Level 13 (1,200/2,400/300 ante).


Event #1: Payouts

The top prize for Event #1 is just less than $100,000 as 120 players cash.

"That's awesome," says James Boyle, "great bang for your buck."

1,563 players paid the $350 + $50 entry for a $530,639 prize pool.

Top Prize: $99,919, with the final table all earning more than $10,000.

101-120 takes home $796.

We'll post a full prize breakdown in a bit.

Level 12 continues (1k/2k/300 ante)

Event #1: Eye On The Prize

Event 1 Trophy

All 24 Main Event winners will take home this beautiful crystal engraved trophy. After grinding for hours, the cash is nice and so is a souvenir for all the hard work.



Event #1: Back From Break

Players are slowly returning to the seats after what some call a "short dinner break."

Mark Wagner (Vorhees, NJ) is surprised to find out that part of the field is still in the poker room. He's giving a shout out to his family and wants them to know that "I'm at 170 thousand," which is well above the chip average.

Level 11's underway (800/1600/200 ante)

Borgata Dinner Giveaway

While players are on dinner break, here's something to munch on.

Each night, Borgata is giving away a $100 dining experience at their fine dining restaurants:

* SeaBlue by Michael Mina
* Izakaya - A Modern Japenese Pub
* Fornelletto Cucina and Wine Bar
* Wolfgang Puck American Grille

To qualify, all you need to do is participate in one of the day's Borgata Winter Open tournament events.

Today's winner, Rocco Luciano (Philadelphia, PA), gets a $100 dining experience at Fornelletto Cucina and Wine Bar.

Congratulations and Bon Appetit!

Hungry For More Chips



Joseph Zajas
220k at the Dinner Break

Event #1: Dinner Time

The only thing faster than the rush of players entering the Event Center at 11 am is the stampede to dinner. 1,563 players begin the day and approximately half of the field is on a one hour break.

The unofficial chip leader is Joseph Zayas (Union Beach, NJ) who's sitting with 230k.

The staff is currently tabulating the prize pool and we'll update a head count and the chip average as play resumes at 8:50 pm with Level 11 (800/1600/200 ante).

Event #1: Numbers Game

Packed House

The Event Center is still packed with players, but there's still not enough room to bring the 35 remaining tables in the Poker Room to the second floor. 870 total players remain and with 39 million chips in play, the average stack is 45k.

As the clock winds down to dinner break, tournament officials guess that they'll need to wait until the Poker Room is at 15-20 tables (approx. 10 pm) to consolidate everyone in the Event Center.

The 7 pm Second Chance Cash tournament is underway, while the Survivor (1 in 10 wins $2,000)
continues in the back half of the Event Center.

Bottom line: lots going on at Borgata and you can find a complete list of Events here.

Event #1: Slow Boyle

On The Comeback Trail

The Borgata Summer Open was James Boyle (Havre de Grace, MD) coming out party when he decided to trade his real estate license in for the life of a professional poker player.

"I'm pleased to be still here," says Boyle who's slightly above his starting stack of 25k. "I've been playing well, I just haven't gotten any cards."

Boyle says he dropped to 13k by doing a lot of calling and folding, but has worked his way back to 30k. "I'm just glad it wasn't an early exit," he says.

Level 9 continues.

Event #1: Stout Out

Matt Stout (Galloway, NJ) is seen leaving the Events Center as his first day ends in disappointment. One player at the table says Stout goes out when his A-Q is four flushed by his opponent's same hand. A third player has 7 7 and watches the pot slip away, as Stout slips out the side door.

Level 9 underway 500/1000/100 ante.

The PPI Perspective - Food For Thought

By Eric Siegel, PPI Director of Marketing and Player Development

Dinner for Two
Eric Siegel & Jason Young

Poker Players International is well represented in today's field. The following players have been seen around the event center: Charlie Marchese, Joey Brooks, Kelly Armentrout, Gordan Eng, Jason Young, Al Riccobonno, Matt Stout, David Inselberg, David Zeitlin, Lisa Pickler.

Many of us are contemplating which top Borgata restaurant to have dinner at, while others are just hoping to make the dinner break. My reputation as a notorious "Over Orderer" at any dinner table, has made for tough times finding people to join me!

Event #1: Dentale Doing Damage

Mikey "Unbelievable"

Mike Dentale (Brooklyn, NY) is a Borgata regular and always in the mix for a final table, and while it's a long way to go, he's one of the few players with more than 100k, setting himself up for another deep run.

"I'm hoping 2010 is my year," says Dentale, who finished 7th in the Summer Open 1k. "I'm always doing damage, but haven't gotten over the hump for that big cash."

Dentale wins a 40k pot when he flops set over set to build his stack to 80k. That's followed by another elimination when he flops top two with Q ♣ J vs. A A , good for another 20k.

"I'm playing really well right now," says Dentale, who's affectionately known as "Mikey Unbelievable, "but you need luck at the end. I'm hoping this is a good start. It would be a great way to start the year, especially for $350."

Level 8 is ending, as blinds move up to 500/1000 - 100 ante.

Event #1: Siegel Drives Sixty-Five

Eric Siegel of PPI fame now has 65,000 in chips.

Event #1: Level 8

Blinds are 400 / 800 with an ante of 75.

Event #1: Alex K Gets Away

Alex K raises to 1,200 preflop and gets two callers in late position. The flop is 5h-Ac-Ah and it's checked to Alex who bets 3,200. Seat 1 check-calls and Seat 2 also check-calls. The turn is 10d and everyone checks. The river is 2c and Seat 1 leads out this time for 7,000. Seat 2 and Alex fold.

Event #1: David Inselberg's Chips

David Inselberg has 73,000 in chips, well above the average chip stack of 33,978.

Event #1: Seat Open!

We're starting to hear the words "Seat Open" a little more often, as those large starting chip stacks run into ever-increasing blinds. Some players can only go six hours or so before getting restless and succumbing to the lure of the All In.

Event #1: Do I Look Fat In These Pants?

Pants On The Ground

It's been a busy day and players are itching to get to the dinner break. According to Deb Daly, Borgata Poker Extraordinaire, the 1,563 players is second only to the 1,600+ in 2008, that also an Event 1.

Not sure why the Gorilla took this photo, I guess he was checking out his "wide angle lens!"

10 minutes left on Level 7, dinner is scheduled to hit between 7 and 7:30.

Event #1: Craig Klein Lies

"I had pocket aces," Craig Klein says away from the table, motioning at the ongoing hand with a flop of 5A A. He was, of course, joking. Seat 9 makes a big bet of 13,000 and Seat 3 folds, and Seat 9 turns over only K-9. Nice bluff!

Event #1: Level 7

Blinds are $300 / $600 with a $75 ante.

The PPI Perspective - Hope Springs Eternal

By David Zeitlin, PPI Elite Player


Event #1of the Borgata Winter Open is about new beginnings. While a few of the players in the Events Center have recently returned from playing tournaments in the Caribbean or the deep South, for the majority of the combatants in the room, this is our first serious tournament of the new year.

It's much like baseball's opening, when even Royals fans envision a pennant-winning campaign. The poker equivalent is the dream of a full calendar year of final table domination. Even the biggest donks in the room are permitted such visions today! At the start of the BWO (as evidenced by the 1500+ player turnout today), optimism abounds. It's a fresh start for us all, at the best venue on the East Coast.

Today we twist the cap and crack open 2010's tournament schedule. What lies in store? Best of luck to everyone in 2010!

Event #1: Break

Players are on an extended 15 minute break.

Event 1: Inslebergs up!

David Insleberg is sitting on 56k That's not the real story. The real story is his wife doesn't believe he is actually here but I HAVE PROOF! And so does the rest of the players sitting at his table as he painstakingly grinds out his day to increase his chances at a huge pay day.

Event #1: Al Isn't Hanging

Poker personality, bon vivant and occasional tournament reporter "alcanthang" is in this event, close to Media Row. He's still hanging on with about 10,000 in chips after raising to 1,400 under the gun and getting no callers.

Event #1: Official Number

The official player count is 1,563 runners, which, if not a record, is among the highest player count for any Borgata poker event.

Event #1: Level 6

Blinds are $200 / $400 with a $50 ante.

Event #1: Jason Lives ... Barely

Not Jason's Current Expression


Seat 4 raises to 2,025 preflop and seat 6 calls. Jason Young calls from the small blind. The flop is 9 K 6 and it's checked to seat 4, who bets 5,500 with 13,000 behind. Seat 6 folds immediately. Jason goes into the tank and eventually lays it down. Seat 4 rakes the pot and Jason's down to 11,500.

Event 1: Some Updates

Matt Stout is sitting on a nice stack of chips. It looked to be about 60k but I couldn't get a good count because he was too busy trying to bribe me to buy him a sausage sandwich.

He went on life tilt when I told him that they weren't selling anymore sausage sandwiches. We'll try to sort him out however with something else.

Larry Gold is sitting on a little more than a starting stack at his original table. "It's kinda tight. I can't even take advantage of it, because every time I make a move someone is there to 4 bet me."

Even so, he has managed to keep his head above water. Tables are playing so much differently. I've seen some uber aggressive tables, some super tight tables, and really weird tables where everyone just seems to be in an assembly line pushing bb's to the left.

On one of these tables I saw three limpers and the big blind to the flop. The flop came an A 2 5 rainbow. Everyone checked and the turn saw a 4. Everyone checked again, and the river brought a T. Once again, everyone checked.

One player turned up KK and the other showed AA winning with a set after the others mucked their cards. "Man we oughta be taken out back and shot," said the man holding KK. Others at the table just shook their heads, and one stated how weird that was. "I couldn't bet the turn or the river once it came 4 to a straight." said the guy with AA.

Event #1: Joey the Bored

Joey "JoeytheB" Brooks says he has just above the starting stack, 26,200, and nothing much has happened at his table yet. Look for the fabled post-dinner rush to change all that.

THE PPI Perspective

By Eric Siegel, PPI Director of Marketing and Player Development


Throughout the Borgata Winter Open players from Poker Players International will be guest blogging under the banner of The PPI Perspective. They will share their tournament experiences, hand analysis, and other poker related interests.

The BWO is a favorite stop for many of the PPI players as Borgata offers amazing structures, large fields and the best accommodations for poker players. We are proud to have been invited by Borgata to share our experiences and thoughts. We're looking forward to giving you the PPI Perspective during the next 17 days!


Event #1: Chips Fiorentini

Steve Fiorentini and his opponent check a flop of 8 Q 9.

The turn is 2 and seat 7 bets 1,300. Steve calls.

The river is A and seast 7 bets 2,600. Steve calls and the opponent slowly mucks his hand. Steve turns over 9 9 for the flopped set and takes a nice pot.

Event 1: Cruisin'

The day is grinding away with players still occupying more than 2 stories of poker floor space. some players are being very cautious and attentive to their stacks. "I feel like there is so many players in this thing, and the prize pool has got to be so ridiculous, that if I can be patient and fold for 7 hours, I'll keep myself out of trouble. There's gotta be a hand in there somewhere where I can catch someone sleeping and double or triple through," said an anonymous player who didn't want to be named. His accent was definitely NY though!

Conversely, other players are trying a different strategy. "I'm seeing as many hands as I possibly can! If I catch large against some unsuspecting "purist" who is trying to trap me with a made set, you know I'm getting his stack and moving on,"answered another player sitting at table 45.

I'll have some more interviews when they break again with some thoughts on how the day is going, what they expect tonight, and what we should expect heading into tomorrow.

Event #1: Level 5

Blinds are 150 / 300 with a 25 ante. Shuffle up and deal!

Event #1: Break Time

The remaining players in Event #1 are on a 10-minute break.

Event #1: Standing Stout

Stout Smiling

We caught the tail end of this one. Matt Stout bets big on a river of JK K7 A, a player in early position calls and a player in middle position folds in disgust.

Matt turns over A K. "Do you have jacks?" he says. The opponent indeed turns over J-J. "That's sick," Matt says as he rakes in chips, including many 5,000 denomination grey chips.

Event #1: Robello Robbed

A player in seat 2 raises to 400 from early position and Todd Robello calls from the button. The flop is 6 4 8. Seat 2 bets 2,500 and Robello calls. The turn is 8. Seat 2 goes all in and Robello instantly folds.

Event #1: Level 4

Blinds are 100 / 200. This is the last level without antes, and there is another break after this level.

Event #1: Table of Death

Table 63 has Craig Klein, Svetlana Gromenkova and Todd Robello.

Event #1:Unofficial Number

Unofficially the amount of player who have entered Event #1 is 1,563. We're still not sure if registration is over. Still waiting on that announcement. But the directors here were adamant about getting everyone who wanted to play, into the tournament.

Event #1: Stout Finisher

Matt Stout is one of the alternates here and sat down recently at table 83. He tells us he busted a player to his right with a turned flush versus a flopped set of deuces.

Matt's had an impressive 2009 tournament year, making his first WPT television table at the World Poker Finals, as well as winning a $2K event at the California State Championships.

Event #1: Level 3

Blinds are 75 / 150. Go!

Event #1: Break Time

The remaining thousand-and-change players are on a 10 minute break.

Event #1: Breaking It Down

The room here is crazy! Among the break, there are 1500 + players running around trying to get a drink, grab a smoke, or shout updates to their friends.

The action has spilled over into the regular poker room which is down stairs and across the other side of the property. All told there are over 150 tables of action in just this tournament wit another 30 live tables in the actual poker room.

The players are still lined up trying to register. They haven't closed it yet, nor announced closure so we will be closer to 1600 when all is said and done.

They are at alternates already and I based on that number, we are probably looking at about 40 entrants who are already gone for the day.

They are coming back from break and starting to get ready to play again. We'll have all the action as it comes.

Event #1: Set for Gordonk

Gordon "Gordonk" Eng shows down with two other players on a board of 7 56Q3. One player turns over AQ. Another mucks and Gordon announces, "I have a set." He turns over 5 5 and rakes in a nice pot.

Event #1: Break Coming Up

In nine minutes, a massive crush of players will be heading to the restrooms and to grab a quick snack. It might be prudent to skip the last hand if you don't want to wait.

Event #1: Al Riccobono's Set

Al tells us he flopped a set of 8s against top pair, and the opponent turned two pair and stayed with him. The set held up and Al is up to 37,000.

Event #1: Level 2

Blinds are 50 / 100. There's a break every other level, so not for another 45 minutes.

Event #1: Anticlimactic Finish

One of the few tables where we recognize more than one player is table 65, with Charlie Marchese and Jason Young. Naturally, these two had to mix it up. Naturally. They tell us that there was an all in and a call on a board of K-9-3-Q-8, and both Charlie and Jason turned over J-10 for the chop.

Event #1: Deja Vu

The Zayas Touch

As the registration line continues to snake through the Event Center, the long list of alternates are waiting for seats to open up. Joseph Zayas (Union Beach, NJ) won't be going anywhere soon as he doubles-up on the first hand he plays.

"Queen, ten again," he says as the dealer compares stacks and seat 1 barely survives as he's left with 5k. "I had the exact same thing Saturday and busted out."

The irony is that both hands are his first hands of the day, but at the Winter Open Zayah needs a little luck take his stack to 50k.

The flop of Q 4 Q creates fire works as both players hold a queen, but with Zahas' ten kicker dominated by an ace. The miracle 10 ♠ gives Zayah a full boat and some early breathing room.

"We both flopped trips, what are you going to do," he says as Level 1 continues.

Event #1: Players in the Field

It's a massive crowd of 1250 and counting, with registration still open for as long as possible. Some players are here in the Event Center, and some are downstairs in the poker room. Among this huge field are players like Eric Siegel, Gordon Eng, Jason Young, Josh Paul, Trevor "tremomey" Savage and Gene Castro.

Borgata Winter Open Underway

Shuffle Up & Deal!




Tournament Director Tab Duchateau gets things started, while
Jason Young & Howard Wolper make bold predictions.

Event #1: Shuffle Up and Deal

Blinds are 25 / 50 and levels are 45 minutes. Here we go!

Event #1: Josh Paul

Josh Paul would like to give a shout out to his friends and family back home. He tells us they're going to check out the blog, so here's to Josh going deep today!

Event #1: Jason Young: "Come and Get Me"

Jason Young won the first event here last winter, and says he is planning to defend his title, and that it looks like every person in the Tri-State area has come out to make that difficult.

If anyone at his table reads this, he's the guy in the camo hat.

Event #1: A Few More Minutes

Players are still trickling in from registration and taking their seats. We're moments away from the start of action.

Event #1: $350 + $50 No-Limit Hold'em

Welcome back to the Borgata Poker Blog and the Borgata Winter Open 2010. Event #1 is scheduled to kick off in mere minutes. There are hundreds of players queued up outside, ready for their piece of the action!

The event is $350+$50 No-Limit Hold'em. The levels are 45 minutes long and the blinds start at 25 / 50. Keep it tuned here for interviews, hands, commentary and everything else you could possibly need in life.