Monday, April 23, 2012

Leaderboard Winners

Borgata Spring Poker Open Leaderboard
By participating in any Borgata Spring Poker Open event (April 4-20, 2012), players earn points based upon the Borgata Poker Tournament Leaderboard Formula.

Winners are:$2,700 entry into Borgata Summer Poker Open Championship event (Play either Day 1A: June 17 or Day 1B: June 18, 2012)
$300 entry into $30,000 Guaranteed Friday poker tournament
(pick a Friday daily tournament through May 30, 2012)
$140 entry into $10,000 Guaranteed Bounty Monday poker tournament (pick a Monday daily tournament through May 30, 2012)
$120 entry into $15,000 Guaranteed Wednesday poker tournament
(pick a Wednesday daily tournament through May 30, 2012)
Below are the top 200 scores for the 2012 Borgata Spring Poker Open Leaderboard:

575.360: MARK WAHBA
463.043: MANH NGUYEN
417.580: SUNGWOO TAE
397.818: DAVID KIM
379.248:  MICHAEL WOLL
374.088:  JAMES SLOAT
353.800:  BRIAN LEMKE
339.300:  ERIC DOERR
334.713:  DARYL BLACK
333.420:  YUEBIN GUO
325.955:  QING GUO
315.360:  MARK BORGES
302.450:  JIA LIU

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Championship Event Winner - Liu

$2500 + $200 Championship NLH

Jia Liu (Broolyn, NY) 

On the final hand Jia Liu puts Larry Abrams all in for his last 750k.

Liu: K♣ 4
Abrams: A♠ J♣

Flop: 7♠ 2♣ K (pair of kings for Liu)

Turn: 6♣

River: 7

Liu dodges the last three aces in the deck and is the Borgata Spring Poker Open Champion.  "It's still not sinking in," says the 25 year-old, who takes down his biggest poker score.  "I'm numb right now."

Liu doesn't consider himself a poker professional, but will now look to play in more tournaments. He considers this win redemption for the 2010 Borgata Spring Open when he cashed in 18th place ($4,000) after holding the chip lead at the bubble.

Liu says two pivotal hands helped win the title.  The first was not going broke with pocket aces against Abrams pocket 10s.

"I was supposed to be out with aces," he says acknowledging that had all the chips gone in preflop, Abrams would have hit a full house on the river to take the title.  Instead a scary board made it easy for him to fold to Abrams' river bet.

The other key hand came when Abrams slow played pocket kings and Liu flopped a flush to take all but 750k of Abrams' chips.

"This is my biggest accomplishment," says Liu, who wins the trophy and $312,483 as the Spring Open champion.

Liu's Crew

Championship Event Runner Up - Abrams

$2500 + $200 Championship NLH

Larry Abrams (Mahwah, NJ) 

Larry Abrams is the Borgata Spring Poker Open runner up and is a classy 2nd place finisher to Jia Liu. "Nice kid," says Abrams who loses with A♠ J♣ against Liu's K♣ 4 when a king flops.

"Nice, guy," Liu replies. And a nice friendly heads up match that lasts three hours.

"It was a lot of fun," says the business owner who pockets $175,700 as runner-up. "The final table was great."

Abrams is a regular tournament player when Borgata holds one of it's five series throughout the year.  The 45-year-old family man has two Borgata cashes for ~$9,000 each, including a 75th place finish ($9,644) in the 2011 WPT Borgata Poker Open.

Abrams had 3/4 of the chips in play at the dinner break, but ran into some bad luck later in the evening.  

One pivotal hand came when Abrams flopped top pair, top kicker with AJ, but Liu flopped the joint with Q 10.  The flopped straight gave Liu the much needed double-up and the stacks were virtually even after the hand.

"I played well, I can't complain," says Abrams, "I just couldn't finish it at the end."

Larry Abrams is the second place finisher who earns $175,700 for his four days of poker.

Champ Event Recap

 $2500 + $200 Championship NLH

Jia Liu (Brooklyn, NY) was dead and buried twice at the final table, but each time he kept his composure and survived to win the Borgata Spring Poker Open Championship.  Liu defeated Larry Abrams (Mahwah, NJ) heads up, holding K♣ 4 on the final hand, to win the title, the trophy and the $312,483 first prize.

"It's still not sinking in," said the 25-year-old, who out flopped Abrams' A♠ J♣ to complete the comeback from a 3 to 1 chip deficit. "I'm numb right now, this is sick."

Liu was feeling ill in a different way when he stared across the table at Russ Dykshteyn (Brooklyn, NY), who had 12 million of the 15 million chips in play while three-handed.  But despite holding less than 2 million and being down 6 to 1 in chips, Liu hung around.

"I was looking at second or third," said Liu, but Abrams had a different mindset.

"I was never intimidated by his (Dykshteyn's) stack," said Abrams, who earned $175,700 as runner-up. "You're deep enough (with chips) to keep playing. I knew a couple of double-ups and I'd be right there."

Dykshteyn, not only doubled-up each of his opponents, but his collapse resulted in a third place finish. "It happens," he said on his way to the cage to collect $112,950.

Abrams had a 2 to 1 chip lead when heads up play began and extended it to 3 to 1, but Liu stayed focus and had three key hands that led to the title.

First Liu flopped a straight against Abrams top pair, top kicker to double-up and pull even in chips. He followed that by not going broke with pocket aces.

Liu then flopped a flush when Abrams slow played pocket kings and won a big pot that gave him all but 750k of the chips, setting up the final hand.

It was a roller coaster day for Liu who began the final table as the chip leader with 4.2 million.

The field was quickly thinned with the eliminations of Mike Meskin, Mike Borovetz and Matt Woodward in 10th, 9th and 8th places respectfully.

The most recognizable names at the final table were next to go. Cliff  "Johnnybax" Josephy, a WSOP bracelet holder, finished 7th, followed by WSOP circuit championship Chad Batista in 6th place.

At that point Dykshteyn had half the chips in play.

After Cameron Cornell was eliminated in 5th place by 4th place finisher Robert Pardo, Dykshteyn knocked out Pardo to continue his march to the 12 million chip mark.

The tournament began with 520 entries for a total buy-in of $1.3 million. The field featured 13 WSOP bracelet holders and multiple WPT title holders.  In addition to Josephy, the bracelet holders included 3 time winner "Miami" John Cernuto, and two time winners Matt Matros, "Rep" Porter and Brock Parker*

The well decorated field also included 2010 WPT Borgata Poker Open Champion Dwyte Pilgrim, two time WPT winner Cornel Cimpan and 2005 WSOP Main Event runner-up Steve Dannenmann.

The five days of poker (two Day 1s) started with Woodward (1A) and Steve Saklad (1B) earning a $3,000 bonus as chip leaders at the end of their respective starting days.

Woodward worked his big stack to the final table, while Saklad cashed in 19th place for ($6,903).

By the end of Day 2 the field was trimmed to 54 players as everyone returning for Day 3 was in the money.  Those who cashed included WSOP bracelet holder and WPT titlist Paul Darden, Event 8 Champion Mike Dentale, Ian Palomo, Vinny Pahuja, John Lakatosh and Dave Inselberg.

Four woman made the money. Grace Sun (22nd) was the last woman standing and was joined at the pay window by Stephanie Hubbard, Joanne Monteavaro and Cathy Dever.

The last player to cash on Day 3 was Ofir Mor (in 11th place).  Mor was the third place finisher in the 2010 WPT Borgata Poker Open (he won $267,000 in that event). Mor's elimination sent the final 10 players into Day 4 and the final table.

Liu's thrilling day concluded with his largest poker payday -- which is nearly double his previous career tournament earnings of $182,000.

"This is my biggest accomplishment," says Liu, who joins Russel Crane (2011) and Alex Queen (2010) as Borgata Spring Poker Open Champions.

Final Table Results
1st Jia Liu (Broolyn, NY) $312,483
2nd Larry Abrams (Mahwah, NJ)$175,700
3rd Russ Dykshteyn (Brooklyn, NY) $112,950
4th Robert Pardo (Mount Vernon, NY) $89,733
5th Cameron Cornell (Asbury Park, NY) $70,280
6th Chad Batista (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) $57,730
7th Cliff Josephy (Syosset, NY) $45,808
8th Matt Woodward (Las Vegas, NV) $35,768
9th Michael Borovetz (Pittsburgh, PA) $25,100
10th Mike Meskin (Belmont, MA) $16,315

* Full List of Participants with WSOP Bracelet

Miami John Cernuto - 3 WSOP bracelets
Matt Matros - 2 WSOP bracelets
Ralph "REP" Porter - 2 WSOP bracelets
Brock Parker - 2 WSOP bracelets
Mike 'Little Man' Sica - 1 WSOP bracelets
Ken 'Teach' Aldridge - 1 WSOP bracelet
Kathy Liebert - 1 WSOP bracelet
Gavin Smith - 1 WSOP bracelet, 1 WPT title
Freddy Rouhani - 1 WSOP bracelet
Chris Bell - 1 WSOP bracelet
Jeff Papola - 1 WSOP bracelet
Brian Lemke - 1 WSOP bracelet

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Event 21 Recap

$200 + $30 Big Stack No Limit Hold'em (Re-Entry)

Twice is nice for Jeffrey Gurfinkel (Hollandale Beach, FL) who wins the final event of the Borgata Spring Poker Open, the second Borgata title of his career.

Gurfinkel, who earned $14,505 for the win, edged out Flavio De Oliveria, Nick Guinto, Al Frampton, Ken Mezaros and Anthony Glante at the final table, who finished in 2nd through 6th places respectively.

"Team Brooklyn wins another," says Gurfinkel while beaming with his New York pride. "It feels great."

Gurfinkel was a force through most of the tournament and continuously had a top five chip stack.

"I always had chips," says Gurfinkel, who won his first Borgata title in the 2010 Summer Open. "I was running over the table and there was only one time that I got my chips in bad."

That key hand came just before the final table when he was behind with J J vs the Q Q of Brian McKane (Holmdel, NJ).  But a jack on the flop knocked out McKane in 12th place and gave Gurfinkel a commanding chip lead.

After the elimination of Stephen Moy (New York, NY) in 11th place, the final table was set and the action was fast and furious.  Thomas Confrey (10th), Tom Squerra (9th) and John Womack (8th) were the first to go before the tournament's quick ending.

The day began with 267 players putting up a total buy-in of $53,400.  The recognizable faces included Joe Liberta, John Del Rossi, Jimmy Wong and Grace Sun, the highest finishing woman (22nd/$6,903) in the Championship Event.

But they all failed to make the money.

The Borgata regulars who did cash included Howard Wolper (22nd), 5th place finisher Mezaros and runner-up De Oliveira who took home $8,547 for second place.

Even though Gurfinkel is a Florida resident, he loves his New York roots and loves winning at Borgata.

Final Table Results

1st Jeffrey Gurfinkel (Hollandale Beach, FL) $14,505
2nd Flavio De Oliveira (Long Branch, NJ) $8,547
3rd Nick Guinto (Brigantine, NJ) $4,921
4th Al Frampton (Maple Shade, NJ) $3,988
5th Ken Mezaros (Freehold, NJ) $3,108
6th Anthony Galante (Bronx, NY) $2,590
7th Mark Becker (New York, NY) $2,072
8th John "JW" Womack (Lauderhill, FL) $1,554
9th Tom Squerra (Old Bridge, NJ)$1,036
10th Thomas Confrey (New Windsor, NY) $673

Event 21: 1st Place - Gurfinkel

$200 + $30 Big Stack No Limit Hold'em (Re-Entry)

 Jeffrey Gurfinkel (Hollandale Beach, FL)

Chip leader Jeffrey Gurfinkel closes the deal in a wild and crazy finish.  "I had chips the entire tournament," says the ring holder of a WSOP circuit event.

"I live in Florida, but represent New York and Team Brooklyn," he says.

This is Gurfinkel's second Borgata trophy after winning a title in the 2010 Borgata Summer Poker Open ($19,000). 

With this win Gurfinkel wins the title and $14,505.

Event 21: 2nd Place - De Oliveira

$200 + $30 Big Stack No Limit Hold'em (Re-Entry)

Flavio De Oliveira (Long Branch, NJ) 

Flavio De Oliveira is a Borgata regular who loves the $30,000 guarantee Wednesday tournaments. De Oliveira is originally from Brazil and earns $8,547 for his second place finish.

Event 21: 3rd Place - Guinto

$200 + $30 Big Stack No Limit Hold'em (Re-Entry)

Nick Guinto (Brigantine, NJ) 

Nick Guinto says, "go Flyers," and that they "have" to win game 6 against the Penguins if they're going to win the series. 

For Guinto, third place is an improvement over his 4th place finisher in the penultimate event of the 2011 Borgata Spring Poker Open.

Guinto improves by one spot and earns $4,921 for finishing third.

Event 21: 4th Place - Frampton

$200 + $30 Big Stack No Limit Hold'em (Re-Entry)

Al Frampton (Maple Shade, NJ)

Al Frampton was the calming influence at the final table and is a retired fire captain.  He's a Borgata regular with multiple cashes over the years.  

Frampton earns $3,988 for his 4th place finish.

Event 21: 5th Place - Mezaros

$200 + $30 Big Stack No Limit Hold'em (Re-Entry)

Ken Mezaros (Freehold, NJ)

Ken Mezaros says that when he finds time between coaching hockey and work you can find him playing Borgata poker.  He's a fire sprinkler systems contractor by day, and on this night he finishes 5th, good for $3,108.

Event 21: 6th Place - Galante

$200 + $30 Big Stack No Limit Hold'em (Re-Entry)

Anthony Galante (Bronx, NY)

Anthony Galante sparred with Flyers fan Nick Guinto throughout the tournament and only has one thing to say, "go Rangers!"

Galante finishes in 6th place for $2,590.

Event 21: 7th Place - Becker

$200 + $30 Big Stack No Limit Hold'em (Re-Entry)

Mark Becker (New York, NY)

The fourth time was not the charm for Mark Becker who is eliminated while holding A K vs pocket queens.  "Ace-king was hot for me until the end," says Becker.  I doubled-up three times with it."

Becker, who is recently unemployed, earns $2,072 for his 7th place finish.

Event 21: 8th Place - Womack

$200 + $30 Big Stack No Limit Hold'em (Re-Entry)  

 John "JW" Womack (Lauderhill, FL)

"Ask any of the old-timers, they know who I am," says the fun and brash John Womack, who has more than 70 cashes and $300,00 in his poker career.

"Call me JW," he insists, but JW wishes he didn't simply call with pocket jacks on his final hand.

In a clash of big stacks, Nick Guinto raises, Womack calls and the flop comes ace high.  Womack cold shoves all in and Guinto snap calls with A 6 and now has an overwhelming chip lead.

JW finishes in 8th place and takes home $1,554.

Event 21: 9th Place - Sequerra

$200 + $30 Big Stack No Limit Hold'em (Re-Entry)

Tom Squerra (Old Bridge, NJ)

 "I didn't think I'd ever get this far," says Tom Squerra, who is playing in only his third "big tournament."

Squerra is on the rail when he's beaten by a flush, but proud of making the final table.

Squerra takes home $1,036 as the 9th place finisher.

Event 21: 10th Place - Confrey

$200 + $30 Big Stack No Limit Hold'em (Re-Entry)

Thomas Confrey (New Windsor, NY)
Thomas Confrey's tournament comes to an end while holding A♣ 10♠ against chip leader Jeffrey Gurfinkel's Q Q♣.  

Gurfinkel flops a queen and at the other end of the table Nick Guinto breaths a sigh of relief.  Guinto folded pocket 5s face up and would've been eliminated set over set.

"I had a great time," says Confrey. "But if you don't like bad beats, don't play poker."

Confrey was referring to a beat he took just before the final table by Guinto. Confrey had pocket queens against the J 9 of Guinto who flopped a straight on a board of K Q 10 to double up and and cripple Confrey who flopped a set.

Thomas Confrey finishes in 10th place, good for $673.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Event 21: Final Table Redraw

$200 + $30 Big Stack No Limit Hold'em (Re-Entry)

Players are just back from break and four more eliminations set the final table. 

The worst beat comes at the hands of chip leader Jeffrey Gurfinkel (Hallandale Beach, FL) who was behind with J J vs Q Q, but flops a jack to bust Brian McKane (Holmdel, NJ) in 12th place.

Latest Eliminations:


11th Stephen Moy (New York, NY) $673
12th Brian McKane (Holmdale, NJ) $673
13th Luis Pereira (Millstown Twp., NJ) $570
14th Robert Noble (Philadelphia, PA) $570

Event 21: Chip Leader

$200 + $30 Big Stack No Limit Hold'em (Re-Entry)

Gurfinkel Running Good

Jeffrey Gurfinkel (Hollandale Beach, FL) has the chip lead with 1.1 million.

The average stack for the 14 remaining players is 381k (19 BB) as blinds are now 10k/20k, 3k ante.

Event 21: Womack Wacks Another

$200 + $30 Big Stack No Limit Hold'em (Re-Entry)

Eights are Great for Womack

Robert Noble (Philadelphia, PA) puts his last 180k all in with 8 7, but is dominated by the pocket eights of "JW," John Womack.

When asked how many players he's knocked out, JW smiles and says, "a lot."

Womack wins the hand and takes his chip stack to 950k which is second overall behind Jeffrey Gurfinkel (Hallandale Beach, FL).

Noble finishes in 14th place for $570.

Event 21: Flying Fast

$200 + $30 Big Stack No Limit Hold'em (Re-Entry)

The eliminations started slowly when the bubble broke, but just after the two table redraw we've seen a steady stream of bustouts.

Here are the latest:


15th John Froehlich (Bellmore, NY) $570
16th Joseph Zeller (San Diego, CA) $518
17th Mirta Urena (Brooklyn, NY) $518
18th Bill Hearon (New York, NY) $518
19th Jim Bozzuto (Orlando, FL) $466

Event 21: Two with One Blow

$200 + $30 Big Stack No Limit Hold'em (Re-Entry)

A big pot has two players all in and a third side pot brewing.  On a board of 2♠ 10 J 8♣ J♠, John "JW" Womack (Lauderhill, FL) puts out a healthy bet and Bill Hearon (New York, NY) reluctantly folds saying, "I missed the world."

Womack shows A♣ J♣ for trip jacks and knocks out Howard Wolper (Atlantic City, NJ) who mucks, and a disappointed Jason Rosenberg (Brooklyn, NJ) who shows K♠ J♣ for trip jacks with a worse kicker.

19 players remain, one more elimination before the two table redraw.


20th Jason Rosenberg (Brooklyn, NJ) $466
21st Howard Wolper (Atlantic City, NJ) $466

Event 21: Good Times at Borgata

$200 + $30 Big Stack No Limit Hold'em (Re-Entry)

Coan Laughing to the Bank, while Howard Wolper (left) 
& John "JW" Womack Play on 

Tom Coan (Hauppauge, NY) is on the rail with pocket 4s against Mark Becker (New York, NY) who's mildly surprised that AK wins a hand when he flops an ace.

Coon laughs it off and is happy with a min. cash of $466.


22nd Tom Coan (Hauppauge, NY) $466
23rd Paul Pedretti (Mineoloa, NY) $466
24th James Froehlich (Bellmore, NY) $466

Event 21: Two Down/Blinds Up

$200 + $30 Big Stack No Limit Hold'em (Re-Entry)

The first two players to cash have already picked up their $466 at the cage.


26th Donovan Ellis (Brooklyn, NY) $466
27th Marcus Vera (Hallandale Beach, FL) $466

The purple (500) chips have been removed from play as blinds are now 5k/10k, 1k ante.

Event 21: Fly Guys

$200 + $30 Big Stack No Limit Hold'em (Re-Entry)

Nick Not Nervous Yet

In addition to watching the blinds and ante, Philadelphia fans are keeping an eye on the Stanley Cup playoffs.  Nick Guinto (Brigantine, NJ) is originally from the City of Brotherly Love and disappointed the Fly Guys are trailing the Penguins in game five 3 to 2 in the second intermission.

His prediction with perfect deadpan, "Flyers 9 to 7, with a late field goal."

Philadelphia leads this offensive series 3 games to 1 and can close it out with a win tonight in Pittsburgh.

Not Much Goaltending on the Big Screen

*****Series Update (10:20 pm)******
Penguins win 3-2 and now trail in the series 3 games to 2; game 6 is Sunday in Philadelphia.

Event 21: Bubble Breaks

$200 + $30 Big Stack No Limit Hold'em (Re-Entry)

Pedretti Pierces Bubble

Leon Motola (E. Windsor, NJ) wasn't as lucky on his second all in and is the double bubble, out in 29th place.  Just a moment later Paul Pedretti (Mineola, NY) uses his big stack to bust a woman who prefers to be anonymous.

Pedretti has A 10 against the woman's A K, but flops a ten to knockout the bubble and send the final 27 players into the money for a min. cash of $466.

Table four is now breaking as play is 9 handed on three tables.

Event 21: Shorties Survive

$200 + $30 Big Stack No Limit Hold'em (Re-Entry)

After three quick eliminations the short stacks are hanging on for dear life just spots from the money.

First Tom Coon (Hauppauge, NY) doubles 20k with pocket 10s, then it's Leon Motola (E. Windsor, NJ) who's at risk with A 10 for 23k and he spikes an ace against a pocket pair.

Life doesn't get any easier as blinds are moving up to 4k/8k/1k ante.