Sunday, January 31, 2010

Your Day 1A Unofficial Chip Leaders

Al Grimes

Here's some unofficial chip leaders, including the unofficial chip leader Al Grimes. Officially, the official chip leaders will be posted in the morning. Officially.

Al Grimes 156,250
Jena Delk 145,750
Gavin Smith 123,950
Johanssy Joseph 121,350
Mario Vitale 118,150
Tony Burton 117,900
Dan Shak 112,375
Jose Reyes 102,000

Day 1B starts at 11 a.m. tomorrow, as does Day 2 the day after that. See you then!


On a flop of 8 10 J, it's checked around. The turn is J and seat 6 bets 3,000. Seat 7 calls and Phil Neiman calls. The river is Q and seat 6 bets 4,000. Seat 7 pops it to 10,000. Phil regretfully lays it down. Seat 6 calls. Seat 7 shows 8 8 and seat 6 shows 9 7, and seat 6 takes it all.

Phil is visibly upset. We asked him if he folded the winner. "Nah," he said, saying he he had two spades. "I'm just mad I bricked the river," he said. Good fold, but Phil is running out of chips.

115,000 In Chips

Micah Raskin (Old Westbury, NY) has a hefty 115,000 in chips.

Micah limps in with A-A and his opponent picks the wrong time to make a play. The pot grows to 10,000 pre-flop and whittles down to two players.

Opponent claims to have pocket kings right before a flop of K-blank-blank hits the felt. Both players check.

Brick on the turn causes opponent to shove. Could he really have a set of kings? Micah calls and wins a 35,000 hand against hole cards of K-5 and eliminates a player.

Jason Young: Focused

Jason Young

Jason Young tells us he's brought 10,000 back up to 38,000 and is focused and relaxed for this last level.

Champ Off The Ropes

Olivier Busquet

It's been a slow start for Olivier Busquet, but the 2009 Borgata Poker Open Champion has new life after the dinner break.

Busquet has A-K and sees a flop of A-K-8. He leads out on every street and eventually is all in on the river. His opponent calls with A-J and Busquet doubles to 40k.

Level 8 (250/500/50 ante) continues as the last level of the night.

Chipping Up

Jena Delk a Poker Players International Player (PPI) from Merritt Island, FL won a nice pot off of Brian Meinders (Jackson, NJ).

Jena holds K-9 up against Brian's 10-9. A flop of 9-9-K gets the action moving.

With her full house flop, eventually Jena shoves and eventually Brian makes the correct laydown. This 80,000 pot now gives Jena a total of 110,000 to work with.

Level 8

Blinds are 250 / 500 with a 50 ante. Last level of the evening. Shuffle up and deal!

Break Time

This is the last break of the evening. There are 186 players remaining on 19 tables in Day 1A.

Minter's Stock Falls Then Rises's Charlie Minter started with 30,000 went down to 15,000 and now is up to 40,000 chips.

In between hands after he exclaimed his plans on tripling up, the player to his right fearfully asked, "Who do you want to pick on?" Charlie pointed and said, "You!"...then had a laugh.

Charlie can certainly pick the blue chip stocks but can he pick off enough blue Borgata chips to win the Championship?

Smith Hammers Opponents

Every time we walk by Gavin Smith's table, he's raking in another pot. He has 94,000 in chips with 198 players remaining in Day 1A - over three times the starting stack. And he's killing his table.

Aces More Than Hold Up

A smiling Dennis Zetterstrom (Berkeley Heights, NJ) rakes in over 30,000 chips when his pocket aces fill up on the turn after the board pairs fives - "First I flopped a set of Aces then the turn gave me a full house".

He smoothed called and got paid off on the river.

Dennis - "The only hand I was worried about was quad fives. It was by far my best hand of the day".

And just like that Zetterstrom's stack rockets up to 70,000.

Opponent Looks Into Abyss ... Bill Gazes Back

Bill Gazes

Seat 8 raises to 1,450 and Bill Gazes re-raises to 5,200. Seat 8 calls.

The flop is 7 Q 7 and seat 8 checks. Bill bets 7,300 and seat 8 calls. The turn is K and both players check. The river is Q and seat 8 checks. Bill bets 6,500 and seat 8 finally folds. Bill now has 53,000.

Frangos Trying Not To Fumble

With the Pro Bowl up on the Borgata big screens, most of Nicky Frangos' table is watching and talking football.

Nicky's game plan must be working as he's sitting on 60,000 chips.

Level 7

Blinds are 200 / 400 with a 50 ante. The day ends after level 8 is over.

Gordonk Picks Up Chips


Gordon "Gordonk" Eng picked up a nice pot on the turn and still has about 52,000. There are 206 players remaining.

Tommy Gunz Still In Holster

No bullets yet in Tommy's Gunz.

When asked how he would describe his game so far he said, "Absolutely boring".

Tommy Gunz Dobrilovich is posting blinds and doing a good bit of folding. He anticipates a wave of excitement and can't wait to inform us once it arrives.

For now he's sitting on 25,000.

Back from Dinner

We're continuing the last 30 minutes of level 6: Blinds are 150 / 300 with a 25 ante. We're playing two more levels after this.


The clock is stopped with 30 minutes to go in the level, and the 211 or so players remaining are on a 75 minute dinner break.

DeSantis: Nearly Double

Jessica DeSantis

Jessica DeSantis is sitting on 57,000 in chips, nearly double the starting stack. She's doing very well with 211 players remaining in Day 1A, as the average stack is 39,099.

Train Wreck

On the last hand before the dinner break, there's four way action at the front of the room and Jason Young is in the middle of it, along with Mario Vitale

The action is:

Player 1: Raise to 800
Player 2: Call
Young: Raise to 2,600
Vitale: Call
Player 1: All in 17,000
Player 2: Fold
Young: Call
Vitale: All in

The action is back on Young and he's incensed. "Are you kidding me," he says. "I can't wait to see this train wreck. Okay I fold," as he throws his cards into the muck.

Player 1 tables 9-9, while Vitale shows A-Q. The flop brings a queen and Vitale takes the pot.

"That's horrible," says Young, and when asked what he folded, he replies "the winner, I folded the winner, of course I folded the winner," as he goes on break with 33k.

"I just play my cards," says Vitale, who's from Venezuela and has 110k. "I'm trying to beat him and him," he adds while pointing to the empty chairs. "I'm just trying to play the game."

Players are exiting the Event Center as they're officially on break.

Big Fat Greek Birthday

Sweet birthday gift for Dimitrius "Jimmy the Greek" Georgous (Washington Heights, NY) who turns 38 today.

Limps with 10 - 4 off and is gifted with a flop of J - 4 - 4. Adds 9,000 to his growing stack of 65,000 and in the process knocks a player out holding only J - 10.

Keep following to see if Dimitrius' birthday wish of winning the Championship comes true...

Action Bob Gets No Action

Action Bob

Seat 5 bets 300 in the small blind and seat 9 raises to 1,500 from middle position. "Action Bob" Hwang calls from the cutoff. The flop is K J 6 and it's checked to Bob, who bets 2,600. Everyone folds. Bob has climbed back to just over the starting stack with 26,000.

Level 6

Blinds are 150 / 300 with a 25 ante.

Not So "Supertuan"

Kenny "Supertuan" Nguyen

There won't be a deep run from Kenny Nguyen in this Championship Event after his Q-Q loses to A-A. "Oh well," says Nguyen who finished 6th and made the tv coverage of the Borgata Poker Open in September. "I played pretty well, but only had 12 thousand left."

"Supertuan" says he was short stacked after getting involved in a big hand where he had a full house, aces full of nines, but laid it down when he had a spot on read against quad nines.

Nguyen still has his trademark smile and is still here railing his friends.

Liebert Laying Low

Off to break as Kathy Liebert tells me, "won one, lost one, nothing exciting, I'm still about even." Hovering right around the 30K starting stack.

Break Time

There's about 222 players left, and they're on a 10 minute break. They'll be playing about 45 minutes of the next level before breaking for dinner at 7 p.m. exactly.


On a river of 5 A 8 2 3, seat 2 bets 2,125 and Jason Young tanks after a bit of table talk, and then calls. His opponent mucks immediately. Jason turns over his hand and has but K 10, and it is good. Seat 2 is nearly out.

At the same table, Gordon Eng has 52,500.

Dan, The Travelling Man

Dan Shak

After taking down 1st place in the high rollers event at the Aussie Millions last week, Dan Shak (Rosemont, PA) has a quick turn around and is here at Borgata for Day 1A.

Shak wins a 40k pot when he flops two pairs with Q 10. His opponent is all in with A Q and when the board bricks out, Shak is now up to 60k.

What's The Definition of Professional?

Table 2 proclaims they are a boring table so Frank Passantino (Garden City, NY) spices things up with some post hand chatter.

Opponent tables red KK after four spades come out and Frank bets. A young gun out of the hand eggs Frank on, "C'mon. Show it. Be a professional". Without missing a beat our experienced veteran snipes back, "There's no such thing as a professional. A professional is a shoemaker".

Frank mucks and scoops as everybody laughs.

Unbelievable is What Opponents Say

Mike Dentale

Mike "Mikey Unbelievable" Dentale's opponents at his table (namely Gordon Eng, Michael Omelchuk, Jason Young, etc) say that he's being hit in the face by the deck. He's got a lot of chips at a tough table.

Speaking of tough tables, as players bust and the Day 1A field shrinks (now down to 230), tables are breaking and players are consolidating, making what was once a room scattered with pros into a minefield. One table in particular has Nicky Frangos in the 1 seat, Matt Brady in the 4 and Bill Edler in the 10.

Bye Bye to JJ

Recognizable poker pro JJ Liu (Palo Alto, CA) flops a set of aces and rivers a full house, but it's second best to Lon Diamond (Philadelphia, PA) and his quad queens.

"She seems like a nice lady," says Diamond who's up to 60k, "and I feel bad. I just got lucky on the river."

Both players flop a set and Diamond leads out the entire way, not knowing he needs to hit a one outer on the river. Liu ships 20k and heads for the door.

Brady's Stacks & Towers of Checks

Matt Brady

Just before the break, on a turn of 5 Q 4 4, Matt Brady makes it 1,125 under the gun and seat 8 re-raises to 4,125 from the lojack (button+3) position. Matt makes it 8,200 to go and Seat 8 just calls.

The river is 10 and Matt goes all in for 8,050. Seat 8 calls. Matt shows 4 3 for the turned trips and busts seat 8 in the process. Matt stacks up a big pot.

We're Back

The level is 5, and the blinds are 100 / 200 with a 25 ante.

Break Time

The remaining 238 players in Day 1A of the championship event are on a 10 minute break.

You Wanna Hear a Sick Hand?

Those words opened Sean Burstein's conversation with us. Sean, from Toronto, says he raised on the button in Hand #2 of the tournament, and a player in the big blind reraised to 600. Sean three-bet to 2,000 and the big blind called.

The flop was K-8-3 rainbow and the big blind made it 2,000. Sean re-raised all in and the big blind folded 8-8 face up. Sean had but A-K and won a big pot. Sean tell us he later busted that same player with quad 4s versus 10-10. Nice!

Sean has 65,000.

Fist Pumping The Felt

Momentum continues for Luis Gomes (Rockville MD).

He slams his fist on the felt in utter exhilaration when his miracle flush hits the river and he cracks a set of tens for a 23K gain.

More joy a few hands later when he annihilates aces after his suited 8-9 hits the flop.

Not bad for a full time Borgata blackjack player.

Gavin Drives By Cabbie

Gavin Smith

Gavin Smith (Las Vegas, NV) is up to 43k after taking a small pot from Chris Reslock (Atlantic City, NJ).

The board is K-6-J-2 when Smith bets 2,500 and Reslock mulls it over. He eventually shows 9-7 and Reslock says, "that's my cab number, I like that hand." Smith mucks and scoops the pot.

Reslock explains his cab number is actually 197, but they call him "97" for short.

Back To Back Flush Draws

Phil Neiman (Queens NY) says he's on a roller coaster ride and has returned to his starting stack after chasing two flush draws. One he misses, one he hits.

In the first hand he mucks K-9 hearts after a large turn bet. The very next hand with A-9 of clubs he makes it to the river and gets paid off since his opponent turned a straight.

If at first you don't succeed, chase, chase again.

Sheree Has to Lay it Down

Sheree Bykofsky

Preflop, Sheree Bykofsky limps and seat 7 limps. Seat 8 raises to 1,600 from the cutoff and both call.

The flop is 6 A 4 and it's checked to Seat 8, who bets 3,000. Sheree folds and seat 7 calls.

The turn is J and both check.

The river is A and seat 7 bets 3,000. Seat 8 calls.

Seat 7: 8 8
Seat 8: A Q

Seat 8 takes it all.

Level 4

A break has come and gone, and blinds are 100 / 200.

No Action For Bob

Bob Hwang

"Action Bob" Hwang (Barnegat, NJ) has been on a steady decline all day and is at half his starting stack of 30k. "I haven't won any pots," he says. "oh wait, I took down the blinds once preflop."

Level 4 (100/200) continues.

Jason Young Loses Showdown

Jason Young

Jason Young falls to 48,000 after losing with A-K versus the K-K of another player on a river of 4-J-J-4-9.

At that same table, Mike Dentale folded 8-8 preflop versus Taeme Feuer (Long Island). Mike has 60,000. Michael Omelchuk, at that table, has 19,000. Gordon Eng, also at that table (it's a tough one) has 27,500.

Early Surprises From Levels 1 & 2

Phil Neiman (Flushing, NY) sees a board of all clubs and an opponent shove all in drawing dead.

Sheree Bykofsky (Brigantine, NJ) and her table watch a player try and sit in the Championship Event when their registration is for the satellite tournament at the opposite end of the room.

Ari Engel (Las Vegas, NV) gets A-A hold up after someone in early position opens for 8x and gets three callers. Engel's able to reraise and go heads up against Q-Q takes down a medium sized pots.

Eugene Castro (New York, NY) is surprised to have 70k this early in a tournament.

Mark Bernstein (Cherry Hill, NJ) isn't afraid to let Kathy Liebert know he's communicating with his good friend Steve Dannennmann on how to play against her. Dannenmann's at home in Baltimore, while Bernstein and Liebert play against each other at Borgata. Bernstein and Steve Dannenmann play together in the same home game.

Kin Findura (Butler, NJ) is standing up to put on her coat and appears to be making an early exit. After further review, she's just cold.

Level 3

Jessica & Dominque

Blinds 75/150

Break Time

The remaining players in the championship event are on a 15 minute break.

Unofficial So Far Numbers

So far, there are 271 players registered for Day 1A, but late registration is still open. Expect more than that for Day 1B, as there are a lot of big online events going on this evening, keeping the online players up in their hotel rooms until tomorrow.

A Gift for Mikey Unbelieveable

Mike Dentale tells us that Steve Fiorentini checked a flop of 5-6-7. Mike bet and Steve Fiorentini check-raised him to 2,000. Steve called. The turn was the K and they got it all in. Mike turned over K-K and Steve had just A-8. The river blanked out and Steve was eliminated. Both Mike and Jason Young (at the same table) have a lot of chips.

I'm A Mac and I'm a PC

John Macintosh (Red Lion, PA) is on the rail, and his friend Todd is in the event in seat 4. He just told us about a hand not involving Todd, but involving another player at the table, "Karate Mike" Santoro. It seems that on a flop of 8-5-4, one player had 8-8 and another 7-6, and Mike had A-A. The other two players got all in and Mike wisely folded, sensing his hand was way beat. The turn and river were 3-Q and the straight took the whole pot.

A Few More Late Arrivals

Here's some more guys that we either didn't spot the first time through, or who sat down late.

Matt Glantz
Eugene Castro
Nicky Frangos
Todd Terry

Level 2

2 Borgata Babes

Blinds are up to 50/100 and there's lots of deep play with 30k in starting chips. More recognizable names: Beth Shak is at her table, while Bill Blanda is playing in the Noon Championship Event qualifier.

Two other chances this afternoon:

3 pm, $700 + $50 (1 in 5)
7 pm, $500 + $50 (1 in 7)

You can find all the details here.

Other Players We've Spotted

Here's some more notable names throughout this field.

"Tommy Gunz" Dobrilovich
Bill Gazes
Gordon Eng
Jason Young
Steve Fiorentini
Charlie Minter
"Action Bob" Hwang
Eric Siegel
Dan Shak
Sheree Bykofsky (literary agent for Amy Calistri and Tim Lavalli's biography of Mike "The Mouth" Matusow, "Check-Raising the Devil")

The Borderline Situation of Jason Young

On a turn of 7 3 3 10, Jason Young bets 750 and the player in seat 7 goes all in. Jason can't believe it. He goes into the tank, pacing around. "You're really going to do that?" he says. "This is so stupid."

Jason eventually flips his hand over in front of him to try and get a reaction, but doesn't fold. It's A A. His opponent, thinking Jason folded, turns over A 7. Jason calls. The floor is called over and the hand is live, but Jason gets a warning. The river is 9 and Jason busts his opponent very early, doubling up to about $60,000.

Poker Open Champ Is Back

Olivier Busquet is in the field and looking for his second straight Borgata title. "I think today (day 1A) may be a softer field," he says after winning the Poker Open Championship in September. "I psyched, ready to go. I've got run good like I did last time."

Also in the field: Gavin Smith, Kim Findura (Ladies Champion), Ryan Eriquezzo (3rd place, Event #3), Chris Reslock and Mike Dentale who said he wouldn't play the Championship Event. "I'm back for more pain and suffering, bro," he says.

Levels are 75 minutes long and bind start at 25/50.

Welcome to the $3,300 + $200 Championship Event

After a stunning National Anthem rendition by Tasha, we're kicking off Day 1A of the Borgata Winter Poker Open Championship Event. Keep it tuned here for all the action from cards in the air (which just happened) to the crowned champion.

Let's get ready to rumble!

Well Played

Event #18 - NLHE
Buy-In: $1,500 + 125

Borgata has crowned another Champion.

1st Place - Daniel Garon (Sunny Isles Beach, FL)
Prize Money: $143,041


Event #18 - NLHE
Buy-In: $1,500 + $125

2nd Place - Vasillios Hrisafinis

The New Jersey card player earns $82,865
for his deep finish, well played sir.

Gone in Third

Event #18 - NLHE
Buy-In: $1,500 + $125

Phillip Vera - 3rd Place ($40,939)

The Ashburn, VA resident played two solid days of poker to earn a nice payday, a special thanks to his friends and family for following the blog.

Back to Boston

Event #18 - NLHE
Buy-In: $1,500 + $125
Anthony Zinno - 4th place ($34, 527)

Chris Bell (Raleigh, NC) - 5th

Event #18 - NLHE
Buy-In: $1,500 + $125

Chris Bell - 5th place ($29,595)

Glantz Gone

Event #18 - NLHE
Buy-In: $1,500 + $125

Poker pro and Borgata regular, Matt Glantz, busts 6th earning $24,6663.


Phillip Vera and Daniel Garon remain the dominant chipleaders as players grind it out 6-handed. Chris Bell and Matt Glantz are still alive. Mike Gracz has joined the rail for the sweat.

Lipped Out

Event #18 - NLHE
Buy-In: $1,500 + $125

7th Place - Adam Lippert wins $19,730

Young Gun Gone

Event #18 - NLHE
Buy-In: $1,500 + $125

8th Place - Phil "USCphildo" Collins wins $14,798

"I cruised through Day 1 and ran pretty bad today."

But, A Canoli?

Event #18 - NLHE
Buy-In: $1,500 + $125

Michael Buttacavoli jams AQ on a short stack and gets snapped off by the AK of Adam Lippert. The amateur part-time player earns $9,865 for his 9th place finish.

Day 1 Chipleader Eliminated

Event #18 - NLHE
Buy-In: $1,500 + $125

10th Place Finisher - Michael Shasho wins $6,413.