Brian Lemke (Norristown, PA) took charge of this event early on day one and never looked back. Coming out on top of the field of 1,041 players earned him a payday of $111,076. Runner-up Joe Daddario (Hauppage, NY) didn't have much of a chance, starting heads-up play at a 6-to-1 chip disadvantage. Plus the cards were just falling Lemke's way. The final hand saw Daddario's pocket 3s crushed by Lemke's pocket Tens.
Throughout the tournament, Lemke was catching cards, winning the races when he needed to, and drawing out on the short-stacks when he was behind. He used his big stack to intimidate and push his opponents around, relentlessly accumulating chips. He completed day one as the only player with more than 1 million chips (1.33 million) and 464,000 more than the second-largest stack.
The random nature of table breaking put two bracelet holders next to each other late on day one. Jeff Papola (Monmouth Beach, NJ) who has both a WSOP bracelet and Borgata Open title to his credit, landed on Lemke's right. Having to act before the big stack kind of limits your choices, so Jeff struggled through day one, but made it to day two (and the money) with a below average stack (66th of 100).
Papola's table draws were better at the start of day two, but with 36 players remaining, he landed on the same table with Lemke (again). Papola still held on, making it all the way to 19th place ($2,272).
The other WSOP bracelet holder who made day two was Robert Varkonyi, (Great Neck, NY) who won the WSOP main event in 2002 ($2 million). He was also below average, returning for day two 68th out of 100. He improved to 58th place where he finished for $1,414.
1,041 entries at $500 + $60 generated total buy-ins of $520,500, well above the $300,000 guarantee. The final 100 players earned a piece of the pool with a min-cash good for $1,010. They played until about 2:30am day one in order to bust the money bubble before the final 100 bagged their chips and called it a night.
Brian Lemke is best known for the WSOP bracelet he won in 2009, along with over $692,000, in the $5,000 No Limit Hold'em event. He's amassed more than $1 million in career tournament earnings and now has a Borgata title and trophy to go with his bracelet.
Not sure if we'll be seeing him in action again before the main event. He's got three boys and a few businesses that keep him busy. "Go Terps!" he said, as one of his sons will be playing Lacrosse tomorrow, which will take him away from poker. "I'll have to look at the schedule" now that he's got a win under his belt, to see which tournaments he might be able to play.
Final Table Results:
1. Brian Lemke (Norristown, PA): $111,076
2. Joseph Daddario (Hauppauge, NY): $66,746
3. Philip Sam (San Jose, CA): $40,391
4. Justin Sousa (Seabrook, NH): $33,827
5. Jong Man Kim (Silver Spring, MD): $27,769
6. Eric Doerr (Newark, DE): $22,467
7. Joseph Primavera (Brooklyn, NY): $17,923
8. Ramon Hubbard (Brooklyn, NY): $13,632
9. Akiva Pearlman (Providence, RI): $9,340
10. Thomas Ross (Brooklyn, NY): $6,059