Update: The final table of the World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Poker Open Championship was held as scheduled March 13th at the Luxor HyperX Esports Arena.
Vinicius ‘Viny’ Lima had the biggest climb of the final six players, starting play at the bottom of the chip counts. At the end, it was the youngest player, Viny, at only 24 years old, against the oldest, David Farah, who was twice his age at 48 years young.
Viny emerged victorious, winning $728,430, which includes $15,000 for a seat in the WPT season-ending Baccarat Crystal Tournament of Champions, along with a Hublot Big Bang Steel Watch, and the WPT Champions Cup trophy.
The $2 Million Guaranteed Kick-Off Deep Stack drew a massive 5,130 entrants, which is the second-largest WPO Kick-Off field on record, behind 2017’s 5,512 entrants. The total buy-ins of more than $2.77 million did set a new record, due to the increased buy-in of $540.
Also notable was the 3rd place finisher, Vladimir Alexandrov. He won his entry through a BorgataPoker.com online satellite. Alexandrov managed to parlay his $45 satellite entry into his largest career tournament score, earning a $216,000 payday.
Barry Leventhal won his record fourth Borgata Seniors Event, which was also his eighth Borgata title, putting him in a tie for second-most wins at this venue, trailing only Abraham Korotki with nine Borgata titles.
The $1 Million Guaranteed Almighty Stack generated total buy-ins in excess of $1.4 million with a BWPO Almighty record of 3,508 entrants. Raj Desai held the chip lead wire-to-wire on Day 3, from 37 players down to the final three, who agreed on adjusted payouts based on chip counts. As the leader, Raj took the lion’s share of $175,429 and his first-ever Borgata trophy!
The first-ever “Ladies Brunch and Learn” was hosted by the Borgata and the World Poker Tour, with guest lecturers WSOP Ladies Champion Jessica Dawley and Loni Harwood, a professional poker player with nearly $3 million in tournament earnings. The sold out seminar was held the morning of the Ladies event, to give the Ladies some beginner instruction on tournament basics and tips to improve their play. In addition to brunch and mimosas, there were gifts and prizes for the attendees. (Due to the event’s popularity, it may appear again on a future tournament schedule!)
The Ladies NLH tournament followed the seminar and drew a field of 154 entries. The eventual winner was Alida Veliu, who took home her second Borgata Ladies Event trophy and claimed her fifth lifetime Ladies Event win. Just a couple of hours earlier on the other end of the Event Center, Alida’s sister, Kujdes Gagliardi, won the CSOP NLH event, accomplishing something we believe has never happened before in the history of poker — two sisters winning trophy events on the same day!
For the first time in probably a decade, Phil Hellmuth made an appearance at Borgata, arriving in time to play the Heads-Up Championship. The WSOP bracelet record-holder (15) and new World Poker Tour Raw Deal host blazed a path through the 64-player bracket to take the title and $37,245. He followed that up with a cash in the WPT BWPO Championship for another $7,176.
Speaking of the WPT BWPO Championship, it was another record-breaking turnout. The final tally of entrants was 1,415, beating both the 2017 WPT BWPO Championship record (1,312 entries) and the largest of all WPT Borgata Open Championships, which was in 2011 (1,313 entrants). The prize pool of nearly $4.7 million crushed the $3 million guarantee.
The field played down to the final six, who bagged up their chips and paused the clock until March 13th, when they will reconvene at the new HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor in Las Vegas to play it out under the lights and cameras of the World Poker Tour. BorgataPoker.com Ambassador and tournament grinder Dan Buzgon will make his third WPT final table appearance. He will start in the middle of the pack with an average stack when play resumes.
With more than $728,000 waiting for the eventual winner, the “HyperX Six” finalists must be chomping at the bit to get started, but they still have four weeks to wait. Make sure to check back here in the Winter Poker Open Blog for updates on that final table which begins the evening of Wednesday March 13th.
A list of main event winners is below, along with their earnings.
Thank you to all the participants and congratulations to all the winners! A special thanks goes out to all Borgata tournament staff and dealers for a terrific series.
On behalf of Borgata Poker Bloggers Tim Kelliher, Chris Murray, and myself, thank you for reading! Mark your calendars now for the Borgata Spring Poker Open, which takes place April 2nd-19th. Hope to see you then!