Mikey "Muscles" and Mike "The Mad Dog" were side-by-side at the final table, but only one of the Borgata regulars could win the title. In the end Mikey "Muscles" Dentale (Brooklyn, NY) beat Dean Chen (Ellenville, NY) heads up as Mike "Mad Dog" Shasho finished third at the Borgata Spring Poker Open.
"It feels great," says Dentale who won his second Borgata trophy and $31,716 to go along with it. "I keep playing the same game, the big thing is that my hands held up." Like on the final hand when his A♦ 3♣ held against Chen's K♠ 9♦.
"I played pretty well," says Chen, who takes home $17,620 as runner-up. "When the blinds get this high, the cards matter and I didn't hit anything."
The final two took different paths to heads up play.
Chen held the chip lead most of the final table after winning a huge pot with pocket aces against 9th place finisher Matt Piccolo (Dumont, NJ). On the flip side Dentale came to the final table as the short stack, but his patience paid off as he doubled-up twice, including with pocket jacks against Chen, to get off life support.
While Chen and Dentale watched their chip stacks fluctuate, Shasho was slow and steady for his 3rd place/$10,924 payday. He didn't have any final table knockouts, but Shasho did record his second final table of the series (5th place Event 5/$6,600).
The tournament began with 346 entries for a total buy-in of $121,100. The field featured Spring Poker Open event winners Brian Lemke (Event 1/$111,076) and Manh Nguyen (Event 2/$30,159), along with 2010 Borgata Poker Open Champion Dwyte Pilgrim ($734,000), but none of them made the money.
Recognizable names who did cash included three time WSOP bracelet holder "Miami" John Cernuto (34th place/$705) and Day 2 casualty Roman Valerstein (24th/$881).
Valerstein was 4th in chips on the restart, but his pocket 10s and pocket kings were cracked early and he was the first elimination of the 24 returning players.
There was also an early exit for chip leader Neel Mazumdar (Wallingford, CT) who was beaten by a two outer on the river by Deon Nossel (New York, NY), who turned his good fortune into a 7th place/$4,640 finish. Mazumdar settled for 19th place/$881.
For Dentale it was solid play and good fortune that earned him his second title. "I really didn't get cards," he said. "I just make sure I put my chips in with the best of it."
The New York businessman now has bookend trophies and back to back Spring Poker Open victories after winning his first title last year for $57,000.
Final Table Results
1st Mike Dentale (Brooklyn, NY) $31,716
2nd Dean Chen (Ellenville, NY) $17,620
3rd Mike Shasho (Ramsey, NJ) $10,924
4th Peter Dene (Pearl River, NY) $8,810
5th Jeremiah McKenna (Norwalk, CT)$6,813
6th Casey Keith (Greenville, NC)$5,756
7th Deon Nossel (New York, NY)$4,640
8th Sungwoo Tae (Piscataway, NJ) $3,465
9th Matt Piccolo (Dumont, NJ) $2,349
10th Rob Brown (Milford, NH) $1,527