Saturday, September 24, 2011

Championship Event Recap

$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH

Bobbi Oboodi - $922,441
WPT Borgata Poker Open Champion

A final table that featured two satellite qualifiers, a WSOP bracelet holder, and a trio of Borgata regulars comes down to the J♠ as it's Bobby's World for the WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship.

Bahbak 'Bobby' Oboodi (Morris Plains, NJ) is the last man standing in a record field of 1,313 entries as he takes down the $922,441 first place prize. "I'm just numb, the excitement hasn't hit me yet," said the 24 year old poker pro moments after winning the title.

"I feel like everyone else is more excited than I am, but I'm sure it's going to hit me later tonight when I realize I just won this tournament and nearly a million dollars."

Oboodi beat Jin Hwang (Gambrills, MD), a man who seriously doubted that he would make the final table and checked out of his hotel room on Day 4 before play resumed with 27 players.

"I'm so proud of myself, I think I did my best," said Hwang, who had no major cashes on his tournament resume, but pocketed $554,303 as runner-up. "I'm completely satisfied and happy with my play and ready to go on to the next tournament."

Heads up play began with each player holding at least 40 big blinds, but lasted only 18 hands. The J♠ was the key card that propelled Oboodi to victory on the final two hands.

On the penultimate hand, Oboodi hit a pair of jacks on the turn as his AJ bested Hwang's AQ to win a 10 million chip pot and extended his lead. The final blow comes when the one eyed jack hit the turn again giving Oboodi a flush and Hwang two pairs.

Oboodi had to sweat the river, but when Hwang missed his outs for a full house, the Borgata regular wins the championship with a queen high flush.

"My strategy for heads up was to small ball it. I didn't want to get into any big hands where I'm going to be put in marginal situations," he said while being congratulated from his rowdy rooting section, the Morris County Crew (MCC). "I was fortunate enough to make the flush against top pair on the last hand and it held up and here we are, champion."

Hwang, who didn't have any regrets on how he played the final two hands said, "I didn't think there was anyway he had a flush there," and that he expected Oboodi would have raised Hwang's flop bet with a flush draw. "He played it perfectly."

Hwang, the 56 year old self-employed financial agent, was happy to still be playing for a six figure cash as he was 27th out of 27 returning players on the final three tables with just 12 big blinds. But after surviving multiple all-in pots, he got a huge lift with quad jacks after his pocket hooks were dominated by the pocket queens of Will "The Thrill" Failla.

"That was the biggest turning point," said Hwang, who entered this tournament on a $400 satellite, "and that's when I thought I could do it. I was feeling comfortable and it was like someone was leading me to the final table."

When the final table of six resumed under the glare of the tv lights on Day 5, Hwang was once again the short stack with still only one dozen big blinds. But one by one, he moved up the pay scale.

The first to go was Ricky Hale (Cornwall, England), the other short stack, who turned a $100 satellite into $186,585 for his 6th place finish.

Darren Elias (Montclair, NJ), one of the three New Jersey players at the table, was 5th ($230,610) when his pocket jacks ran into Oboodi's pocket kings. The hand took Oboodi's stack to nearly 19 million and caused problems for Fred Goldberg (Hollywood, FL).

"I was sitting on Fred's left and he was put in a difficult spot being on my right because we were both chip leaders heading into the day," said Oboodi. "You really don't want to play too big of a hand out of position against the second chip leader. He was really unlucky with his seat because if he was on my left I'm sure I would have had just as difficult of a time."

Goldberg, a WSOP bracelet holder and the 10th place finisher in the 2006 Main Event, was frustrated throughout the day and finished 4th ($280,925) when he was out kicked by Oboodi on Goldberg's final hand.

Oboodi had more than half the chips in play while three-handed, as Hwang was second in chips and Daniel Buzgon (Marlton, NJ), the third local player, was third.

Hwang eventually knocked out Buzgon in third place ($335,433), setting up heads-up play, as the final two outlasted a world class field.

The tournament featured big names, bracelet holders and WPT champions. In addition to Failla (11th/$50,315), who was bidding to be the first back-to-back winner on tour and calls Borgata his "home" casino, notables who cashed in the $4,332,900 total buy-in included:

Jeff Madsen (60th/$11,740) 2x bracelet winner
John Racener (35th/$16,352) WSOP 2010 Main Event runner-up
David Williams (31st/16,352) WSOP bracelet
Vanessa Selbst (23rd/$18,868) - WSOP bracelet
"Miami" John Cernuto (14th/$35,640) 3x bracelet winner
Matt Glantz (12th/$50,315) who added to his nearly $4 million in career tournament earnings

In the end, Borgata is Bobby's World and with his new found wealth his goals are to play more poker and to start a business. "Poker is great, but I want to have some steady income that's not related to poker," he said while trying to figure out where he'll display the championship trophy.

Oboodi Celebrates with MCC

2011 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship
Notable Participants

WSOP Bracelet Winners:

Robert Varkonyi (2002 Main Event Champion)
Allen Cunningham (5 bracelets)
"Miami" John Cernuto* (3 bracelets)
Jeff Madsen* (2 bracelets)
Matt Matros (2 bracelets)
Vanessa Selbst*
David Williams* (and WPT title)
Michael Mizrachi (and WPT title)
Gavin Smith (and WPT title)
Andy Frankenberger (and WPT title)
Fred Goldberg*
Kathy Liebert
Robert Mizrachi
Jason Young
Freddy Rouhani
Brian Lemke
Brock Parker
Ken Aldridge
Allen Bari
Mike "Little Man" Sica
Chris Bell
David Diaz
Hasan Habib

WPT Title Holders

Jonathan Little (two-time champion)
Cornell Cimpan (two-time champion)
Tuan Lee (two-time champion)
Will "The Thrill" Failla*
Yevgeniy Timoshinko*
Victor Ramdin
Lee Markholt

Recent Deep Runs in the WSOP Main Event:

John Racener* (2010 runner-up)
Chino Rheem (2008 Final Table/Inaugural EPL Champion)
Matt Affleck
Josh Brikis
Jerry Payne

* Cashed in this Championship

Final Table Results


1 Bahbak "Bobby" Oboodi (Morris Plains, NJ) $922,441
2 Jin Hwang (Gambrills, MD) $554,303
3 Daniel Buzgon (Marlton, NJ) $335,433
4 Fred Goldberg (Hollywood, FL) $280,925
5 Darren Elias (Montclair, NJ) $230,610
6 Ricky Hale (Cornwall, England) $186,585

Leaderboard Update (Final)

Borgata Poker Open Leaderboard Final Results

By participating in any Borgata Poker Open event (September 7-23, 2011), players will earn points based upon the Borgata Poker Tournament Leaderboard Formula:

Winners for the following prizes are announced below:
  • 1st Place: $3,500 Entry for Borgata Fall Poker Open (November 9-23, 2011) 
  • 2nd - 4th Place: Sony Web TV 
  • 5th - 7th Place: Apple iPod Touch 
  • 8th - 10th Place: Nikon digital camera
The top ten scores for the Borgata Poker Open Leaderboard contest through all Borgata Poker Open events:


PPI Wrap Up

Guest Post:

The WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship Event went on to break its own attendance record from the previous year. An astounding 1,313 players participated in the Championship event - including many of those who used the new Double Play option to take another shot on Day 1B after busting Day 1A.

Several PPI players made deep runs in the Championship, which featured a 1st place prize of more than $900k, including the WPT Legends of Poker Champion Will "The Thrill " Failla who pulled off an astounding 11th place finish to follow up his previous victory. Other PPI notable finishes in the Championship were: Jack Schanbacher (16th place), Ryan Eriquezzo (22nd place), and John Racener (35th place).

The PPI Leaderboard Champion was James Boyle for a 2nd year in a row. The staff and players of Poker Players International ( would like to congratulate Borgata for a wonderful series of events, and we would also like to thank the Borgata for its continued support of PPI.

See everyone at the Borgata Fall Open (November 9-23)!
Eric Siegel - Co-Founder PPI, Director of Marketing



532.675 PTS: JAMES BOYLE (HAVRE DE GRACE, MD) - Champion

20.800 PTS: ADAM ADLER (Aventura, FL)

Event 24 Recap

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

While the Championship was going on in The Event Center, Event 24 was running in Borgata Poker Room. After 15 hours of play, Dan Dizenzo (Vernon, NJ) takes down the deep stack and takes home a whopping $20,875.

Dan outlasted 421 other players all vying for a piece of the $96,830 Total Buy-In. Keep in mind this was a re-entry so many players took advantage. Top 45 made the money.

After dinner, James Sansone (Las Vegas, NV) was the chip leader with over 300,000. Borgata regular Leanne Rosenblatt was among the chip leaders all day. She finished in 9th place for $1,633.

Your last woman standing was Josephine Finelli who finished in 6th place for $3,880.

The final table was fast and furious with what seemed like an all-in every hand.

Brian Kruyd (Parsippany, NJ) found himself stuck between two monster stacks 3-handed and finally fell in third place for $7,351.

Heads up took close to an hour as both players were very familiar with each other. Unbelievably, they had been playing since the tournament began.

Glenn Cole won four races in a row against Dan early on at the FT but lost the one monster hand when everything was on the line. Cole's QQ was cracked by Dan's 55 after he turned a set of fives.

Cole collected $12,047 for his 2nd place finish.

But once again the winner of the last main event of the 2011 Borgata Poker Open is Dan Dizenzo who made three final tables during this series and ends on the best note possible - 1st Place.

Congratulations on your $20,875 victory today you played outstanding poker and deserve it.

Event 24: 1st Place - Dizenzo

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

Dan Dizenzo - 1st Place - $20,875

Dan Dizenzo (Vernon, NJ) takes down the last main event of the 2011 Borgata Poker Open. This is Dan's third final table of the open. Tonight he wins the Borgata trophy, the blue shark optics sunglasses, and $20,875.

The key hand for Dan's tournament was when 9th place finisher Leanne Rosenblatt flopped a king with A-K then Dan hit the case six on the river for a set of sixes and a huge double-up.

At the final table his 5-5 cracked Q-Q after turning a five and completely crippling his heads up challenger.

A couple hands later it was over.

After 9th in Event 2, and 8th in the $100,000 guarantee, Dan strikes gold and captures a first place title along with a huge payday of $20,875 to add to his Borgata bankroll.


Event 24: 2nd Place - Cole

$200 + $30 Deep Stack NLH (Re-Entry)

Glenn Cole - 2nd Place - $12,047

Glenn Cole (Centreville, MD) started the day at the same table (T-4) as Dan Dizenzo. Seemed only fitting these two big stack grinders would end up going against each other heads up.

Both players were evenly stacked heads-up and played for 30 minutes without too much drama.

Finally a monster hand presented itself but Cole was on the losing end.

Glenn raised with pocket queens and Dan jammed with pocket fives. Glenn called and said he had a bad feeling after seeing the fives.

Sure enough a five on the turn proved disastrous for Glenn.

Board: 7-2-4-5-A.

After a count, Glenn realized he was still in the tournament but barely. He was left with two big blinds and was all in every hand.

The final hand that ended his day was his K-10 vs. Dan's K-J. Board ran clean and the J kicker played.

The construction worker build some great stacks all day but in the end couldn't survive his queens getting cracked. He would have played many more events but was summoned to jury duty all week. Today he was able to play poker and the verdict came in at $12,047.

Event 24: 3rd Place - Kruyd

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

Brian Kruyd - 3rd - $7,351

Brian Kruyd (Parsippany, NJ) thought the tournament started at 12:00 but it really started at 11:00. So Brian showed up at 12:30 and got off to a late start.

Right out of the gate he caught fire. When he made a move with 9-10 he'd flop trip nines. Before dinner he won three huge hands that awarded him 2nd chip leader in the tournament.

1) A-Q vs. A-K and he'd spike a queen.
2) His A-K vs. A-J and it held.
3) His K-K vs. A-K and it held.

So he ran good all the way to third place where he found himself between two monster stacks.

Brian shipped his short stack in with K-Q and Dan Dizenzo called with A-2.

Board ran: 9-5-2-7-4.

Brian Kruyd pockets $7,351 for his third place finish in Event 24.

Way to go!

Event: 24: 4th Place - Shasta

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

Bobby Shasta - 4th Place - $5,921

Bobby Shasta (Wantagh, NY) shipped all in holding Q-3 of hearts and ran into A-A of Dan Dizenzo.

Bobby picked up two hope-filled hearts on the flop but bricked out on the turn and river.

Board ran: 7-J-5-4-8.

Shasta scores $5,921 for his fourth place finish.

Event 24: 5th Place - Ellitott

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

Dave Elliott - 5th Place - $4,655

Dave Elliott goes all in for his remaining 350,000 with K♠7♣ and big blind Dan Dizenzo calls holding 8♣10♣.

Three clubs hit the board flushing Elliott out in 5th place.

Board: J♣ 95♣ A♣ 2

Elliott phones home $4,655 for his fifth place finish.

Event 24: 6th place - Finelli

$200 + $30 Deep Stack NLH (Re-Entry)

Josephine Finelli (West Caldwell, NJ)

Josephine Finelli is the last woman standing and after surviving a couple of all-ins is finally out in 6th place.

Finelli's 10-J loses to the A-3 of Dan Dizenzo.

The board runs out K-6-4-5-4 and Dizenzo's ace high is good enough to win the hand.

Finelli is sent packing with $3,880.

Event 24: 7th place - Frantz

$200 + $30 Deep Stack NLH (Re-Entry)

John Frantz - 7th Place - $3,104

John Frantz (Mendham, NJ) is the short stack and all in against Bobby Shasta.

Frantz: Q 5
Shasta: J 10

Flop: K 3 6

Turn: 10 (Shasta pair of 10s)

River: 3

Shata's pair of 10's knock Frantz out in 7th place for $3,104

Event 24: 8th Place - Brodsky

$200 + $30 Deep Stack NLH (Re-Entry)

Mike Brodsky (Wayne, NJ)

Mike Brodsky is out in eighth place after his 5-5 fell to A-J of Brian Kruyd who calls the preflop shove. The board runs out 3 J 7 9 Q and Kruyd wins the hand with a pair of jacks.

Brodsky's out in 8th place for $2,369.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Event 24: 9th Place - Rosenblatt

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

Leanne Rosenblatt (Brigantine, NJ)

Blinds 40k/80k/5k ante

Dan Dizenzo moves all-in from early position with 1.4 million chips, Rosenblatt makes the call from the small blind with 1.2 million and is at risk.

Dizenzo: 66
Rosenblatt: AK

Flop: A 2 3 (Rosenblatt leads with pair of aces)

Turn: 7

River: 6

Dizenzo hits a set on the river, and is told by another player that he folded a 6. The case 6 sends Rosenblatt to the rail as she cashes for $1,633.

"It's so gross," says Rosenblatt, "I played my (butt) off today."

1st Place - Bobby Oboodi

$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH

Bob "The Blade" Wins "The Bling"

Bahbak "Bobby" Oboodi (Morris Plains, NJ) has just won the 2011 Borgata Poker Open Championship and $922,441. The 24 year old is now a millionaire.

In two consecutive hands the tournament is over. In both hands a jack of spades on the turn spells victory for Bobby Oboodi and defeat for Jin Hwang.

After hitting a three-outter with A-J in the second to last hand of the tournament, Oboodi comes right back to finish Jin Hwang off.

Oboodi limped in with Q♠2♠ and Hwang raised 1,250,000 with K♣ J.

Both players check a flop of 6♣ 6♠ 7♠.

Jack of spade on the turn gives Oboodi the flush and at the same time gives Hwang two pair, jacks & sixes.

Jin Hwang perhaps steaming from the last hand, perhaps just wanting to gamble, jams all in. Oboodi quickly calls.

Jin is at risk, and behind in the hand, but still not dead. Only a jack or a six for a full house can save Jin from second place.

River 3♠ falls and Bobby's fan club goes crazy.

Immediately after winning, he was presented the WPT trophy. He hoisted the trophy with his friends behind him and the Royal Flush Girls beside him. Whoo-hoo!

At first, when interviewed by Mike Sexton, Bobby had no words. Then he said, "Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. It's about time I won this!" His crew laughed. They also laughed at the following exchange:

Sexton - "Your name will be engraved on the WPT cup with all those legends."
Bobby - "I'm probably better than all of them."

In this Championship, Bobby was better than all 1,313 players winning $922,441 and the 2011 WPT Borgata Poker Open title.

"I'm just numb, the excitement hasn't hit me yet. I feel pretty calm right now, it's pretty crazy. I feel like everyone else is more excited than I am, but I'm sure it's going to hit later tonight when I realize I just won this tournament and nearly a million dollars.

Oboodi with Runner-up Jin Hwang

2nd Place - Jin Hwang

$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH

Jin Hwang - 2nd Place - $554,303

Life changing money for Jin Hwang (Gambrills, MD) who just took 2nd Place in the 2011 Borgata Poker Open Championship. Originally from South Korea, Jin battled his way up the leader board after sitting in 27th place when 27 players remained.

2nd place for Hwang who was done in by the Jack of spades.
In two consecutive hands a jack of spades on the turn was the card his opponent needed and the reason he lost back to back pots, along with the tournament.

"I'm so proud of myself, I think I did my best," said Hwang, "I'm completely satisfied and happy with my play and ready to go on to the next tournament."

Jin seemed more upset with the second to the last hand then the final hand.

He was steaming after his A-Q fell to Bobby Oboodi's A-J, perhaps regretting why he didn't bet more on the flop.

Hwang's run to the final table got a huge boost with 11 players remaining when he survived an all in with pocket jacks against the pocket queens of Will Failla. Hwang flopped a set and turned quads to double-up and cripple Failla in the process.

"That was the biggest turning point and that's when I thought I could do it," Hwang said about making the final table. "My only concern was getting a room. I had already checked out because I didn't think I'd still be here."

Great tournament and congratulations again to Jin Hwang who just fell short of first place but still takes home $554,303 for his second place finish.

Monster Heads Up Pot

$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH

Big Hand - A-Q vs A-J

With the blinds at 250,000 / 500,000 / 50,000 antes, Bobby Oboodi and Jin Hwang mix it up in a hand where Bobby hits one of his three-outters and increases his chip count by 4.5 million.

Jin raises from the button 1,150,000 pre-flop holding AQ and Bobby calls with A♠J♣ .

Flop falls: 8♣95.

A c-bet of 1,150,000 from Jin and a quick call from Bobby.

When the turn comes J♠, Jin releases the same number of chips into the pot - 1,150,000.
Again, Bobby just calls.

River: 3♠.

Jin bets 2,250,000 and Bobby quickly calls.

Cards revealed after the showdown have Jin's AQ losing to Bobby's A♠J♣.

Oboodi's Pair of jacks take down a 9 million chip pot.

Chip counts after this monster hand has Bobby in the lead with 24,575,000 and Jin holding on with 15,750,000.

Both Players All Out...On A Break

$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH

As the players and WPT crew take a ten minute break, Bobby Oboodi maintains his slight lead over Jin Hwang in their heads-up battle.

Bobby Oboodi - 21,015,000
Jin Hwang - 19,300,000

First place takes home $922,441 while second settles for $554,303.

Not sure if any of the hands played so far will make it on TV broadcast - players have only made it to a couple of rivers.

No big chip gains or losses yet. When the swings come we'll report the action.

Show Me the Money

$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH

The Royal Flush Girls bring out the money, the trophy and the Tiffany card protector.

Special Delivery

Trophy Time

Card Protector

Bricks at Borgata

First Place - $922,441

Heads Up Chip Counts

$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH

Heads-up play is about to begin and the chip leader is Bobby Oboodi with 23,190,000.

Jin Hwang is sitting on 17,125,000.

Thirty minutes left on this level.

Blinds 200,000 / 400,000 with 40,000 antes.

Interesting tournament fact: Jin started Day-4 in 27th place out of the 27 players who returned.

Jin battled up the leaderboard on Day-4 and today is holding on to 2nd place, looking for the top spot.

3rd Place - Daniel Buzgon

$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH

Daniel Buzgon - 3rd Place - $335,433

Daniel Buzgon (Marlton, NJ) lost a race with his tournament life at risk and is out of the Championship in 3rd place. A huge payday for Buzgon who pockets $335,433.

Buzgon was slightly ahead holding 7♣7 up against Jin Hwang's AK.

Here's the action for Daniel's final hand.
Bobby on the button opened for 800,000.
Daniel in the small blind jammed his remaining 7,870,000.
Jin quickly called and the television audience exploded into an uproar.

Bobby Oboodi thought for two seconds, pondering if he could felt two players and win the tournament right here. He decided to fold, letting the shorter stacks battle it out.

So we're off to the races with Daniel's 77 vs. Jin's AK.

Flop: 9♣ 10 Q♣.

Turn card J♣ gives Jin a straight.

River 7 gives Buzgon a meaningless set.

Jin advances to 18,000,000 just three million short of chip leader Bobby Oboodi.

Daniel Buzgon is finally gone. He said his good-bye's and exited the felt, soon to receive $335,433 for a job well done.

Sure to be an exciting heads-up between Bobby & Jin. Both players have many fans cheering them on from the rail. It's anybody's game. Who will be the next World Champion?

Player Profile - Bobby Oboodi

Name: Bahbak "Bobby" Oboodi
Age: 24
Birthplace: Livingston, NJ
Resides: Morris Plains, NJ
Occupation: Poker Pro
Tourn. Earnings: $88,541

Start of Day
Chip Count:
11.1 million (2nd)

22 million (1st of 3)

Bobby Oboodi is of Persian decent and has a rooting section that includes 10th place finisher in this event Dan Colman and poker pro James St. Hillaire. If he wins the $922,441 first place prize he would like to start his own business.

4th Place - Fred Goldberg

$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH

Fred Goldberg - 4th Place - $280,925

Fred Goldberg is out of the Championship in 4th place and takes home $280,925.

In the previous hand, Fred jammed under the gun and the other players folded.

In what would be the last hand of Fred's tournament, Bobby opened UTG for 600,000 causing Daniel, on-the-button, to fold and sb Jin Hwang to fold.

Fred calls the 600,000 and they see a flop.

Flop: 9 7♠ 6.

Fred jams all of his chips and Bobby snaps.

Fred tables 9♣ 10 and is behind against Bobby's A9.

Turn helps Fred as the board pairs with a 7♣.
Fred looking for another seven on the river for a chop...

Instead, a J♣ on fifth street gives Bobby Oboodi the 3,255,000 pot and sends Fred Goldberg off the WPT set and out of the Championship.

Goldberg enjoys $280,925 for his 2011 Borgata Poker Open efforts.

With that pot, Bob "The Bling" jumps up to 22,090,000.

Chop it Up

$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH

Fred Goldberg moves all in for 3.3 million and chip leader Bobby Oboodi calls.

Goldberg: Q 10♠
Oboodi: 5♠ 5

Flop: Q♣ 3♣ 8♣ (pair of queens for Goldberg)

Turn: 9♣ (4 clubs means a flush draw chop is available)

River 4♣

Five clubs on board is a chopped pot as both players have a flush and Goldberg stays alive.

Short Fred Doubles Up

$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH

Daniel folds then Jin on the dealer button opens for 775,000. Without hesitation, Fred jams all of his 1,185,000 chips across the line. Bobby calls and Jin folds.

Heads up to the flop between Bobby who shows K 10 vs. Fred who tables A♣ Q♣ .
Fred's ahead but will have to sweat draws and live cards.

The audience stands as Fred's Championship is at risk.

The board comes down: 8♣ 3♠ 8 4 5♣ .

Fred's fans applaud as Goldberg doubles up, now sitting on 3,235,000.

He's still the shortest stack, but has a little more breathing room.

TV Break

$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH

Melyssa Movin' & Groovin' at Borgata

Another tape change for the WPT crew means a short intermission and a dance off between Royal Flush Girl Melyssa Grace and Mikey Conoran (Dover, NJ).

Melyssa Grace was clearly the winner.

Updated Chip Counts (in millions)

Bobby Oboodi 20.1
Jin Hwang 8.5
Daniel Buzgon 8.2
Fred Goldberg 3.5

Mikey & Melyssa

Hwang Gets Value From Buzgon

$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH 

Dan Buzgon raised to 730k on the button and Jin Hwang called from the small blind.

The flop came K 6 4 rainbow.  Jin led out for 725k and Dan called.

Turn was a 2 and both players checked.

River was a 7 and Jin fired 925k.  Dan gave it some thought, then called.

Jin showed KQ for top pair.  Dan mucked.

Jin chipped up to 6.1 million.  Dan still had almost 13 million.

Event 24: Sansone Soaring

$200 + $30 Deep Stack NLH (Re-Entry)

James Sansone - 393,500

James Sansone (Las Vegas, NV) has the chip lead in Event 24 deep stack with 393,500. Only one other player has cracked the 300,000 mark.

James was surprised when I told him he was the chip leader. A couple players at the table were giving him a hard time, telling him how to pose for the cameras etc. We'll see if the fame goes to his head or if he can maintain the lead until the end.

Out of the 421 players who started today at 11am, 75 remain. Everyone has their eye on cashing and if they survive to 45th place, they'll get a min-cash of $408.

Total Buy-In = $96,830
1st place prize - $20,875
2nd place prize - $12,047
3rd place prize - $7,351

Player Profile - Fred Goldberg

Name: Fred Goldberg
Age: 36
Birthplace: Hollywood, FL
Resides: same
Occupation: Contractor
Poker Pro
Tourn. Earnings: $247,296

Start of Day
Chip Count:
11.5 million (1st)

Currently: 6.1 million (3rd of 4)

Fred Goldberg won a WSOP bracelet in 2007, just one year after finishing 10th ($1.1 milllion) to Main Event winner Jamie Gold. Goldberg is married with two kids and took two years off from poker to spend more time with his family.

He returned to the game earlier this year and last week finished in 10th place in the $560 NL event of Borgata Poker Open, earning $2,711.

Blinds Up

$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH

New blinds are 150k/300k/30k ante

Chip Counts: (in millions)

Bobby Oboodi 19.3 (64 BB)
Daniel Buzgon 11.75
Fred Goldberg 5.17
Jin Hwang 3.04 (10 BB)

Total Buy-In: $4,332,900

Remaining Payouts:

1st $922,441
2nd $554,303
3rd $335,433
4th $280,925

5th Place - Darren Elias

$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH  

Darren Elias opened for 500k on the button, then Bobby Oboodi raised to 1.1 million.  Back to Darren, who announced he was all-in.

 Darren Elias

Bobby snap-called, showing pocket Kings.  Darren was in bad shape with pocket Jacks.

The board came T 5 4 6 3 and Bobby collected another big pot.  He's now up to almost 18.7 million.

Darren Elias finished in 5th place, earning $230,610

Hwang Doubles Thru Elias

$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH 

Jin Hwang opened for 525k from the cutoff, then Darren Elias (button) raised to 1.225 million.  Jin gave it some thought, then called.

The flop was Q♣J♠5♠ and Jin announced he was all-in.  After giving it some think-time, Darren called.

Jin showed Q♠7♠ for top pair with the flush draw.  Darren held AK♠ for a gutshot with two overs.

The turn was the 3♠, completing Jin's flush, but giving Darren a draw to a higher flush.

River was the 5, however, and Jin's flush held up to double him up to 6.2 million.

Darren was left with about 4 million.

Faces in the Crowd

$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH

Hwang & Joo in between Hands

Lots of familiar faces are in the audience for the final table including, Larry Gold, Chris Klodnicki, Saad Ghanem, and Colonel Poker.

Dan Colman, the 10th place finisher in this event is here, and Ricky Hale, who was just knocked out in 6th place ($186,585) has stayed to watch the action.

Jin Hwang has a strong rail including his protege Inhyo Joo, who's thrilled that his mentor has gone this deep in the 1,313 entry field.

Oboodi Bests Goldberg in a Big Pot

$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH 

Fred Goldberg opened for 550k on the button and Bobby Oboodi flatted from the small blind.

On the flop of T 8 8, Bobby checked, Fred fired 775k, and Bobby called.

Turn was a 4 and again Bobby checked.  Fred bet 1.325 million.  Bobby gave it some thought, then called.

River was a 5.  Both players checked.  Bobby showed pocket 9s and Fred mucked.  Bobby picked up the more than 5 million chip pot, retaking the chip lead with ~14.3 million.

Fred dropped to 7.1 million.

Blinds are up to 12k/240k with 30k antes.

Player Profile - Darren Elias

Name: Darren Elias
Age: 24
Birthplace: Boston, MA
Resides: Montclair, NJ
Occupation: Pro Poker Player
Tourn. Earnings: $247,296

Start of Day
Chip Count:
7.4 million (4th)

Currently: 3.9 million (5th of 5)

Darren Elias has been a poker pro for five years and was formerly an on-line player who won $400,000 for a 6th place finish in a WCOOP event. He is single after attending the University of Redlands where he studied creative writing.

Buzgon Still Here

$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH

Buzgon Chats with Chris Klodnicki

Daniel Buzgon moves all in for ~2.5 million chips and Fred Goldberg calls.

Buzgon: A♣ 10♠
Goldberg: 8 8

Flop: 8♠ (Goldberg set of 8s)

Turn: J♠ (Buzgon picks up flush draw)

River: 7♠

The river spade gives Buzgon new life and he celebrates with fellow pro Chris Klodnicki who's on the rail. Buzgon is up to 5.6 million, while Goldberg drops to second in chips with 10.2 million.

Bobby Oboodi leads with 11.9 million chips, Jin Hwang is now the short stack with 3.2 million.

Chip Counts

$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH 

There was a short tape-change break, so we got the chip counts, in millions:

Fred Goldberg - 13.445
Bobby Oboodi - 11.620
Darren Elias - 9.540
Dan Buzgon - 3.385
Jin Hwang - 2.315

Blinds are still 100k/200k with 20k antes. 

Bob the Blade?

$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH

Gossweiler (center) Leads the MCC Cheers

Bobby Oboodi wins three straight hands and four of the last six. His rowdy supporters continue to chant something along the lines of, "Bob the Blade, Bob the Blade, Bob the Blade!"

Other suggested translations include, "Bob the Bling," "prob-a-bly," and "Bobby Flay."

Oboodi is still second in chips, but is less than one million behind Fred Goldberg as players are on a 10 minute tv break.

As the WPT crew make a few tweaks for the broadcast, we confirm that the chant is in fact
"Bob the Blade," and his rail birds are known as the Morris County Crew (MCC). Joe Gossweiler admits he's the ringleader and the New Jersey group includes WSOP bracelet holder Allen Bari who is not in the audience.

Goldberg Retakes Chip Lead

$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH 

Fred Goldberg opened for 475k on the button.  Bobby Oboodi called from the small blind.

On the flop of A A 4 rainbow, Bobby checked, Fred fired 600k, and Bobby called.

Turn was another Ace.  Both players checked. 

River was another four, putting Aces-full on the board.

Bobby led out for 1.3 million.  Fred raised to 4 million.  Bobby wasted little time mucking his hand and Fred collected the 2-million-plus pot.

Fred Goldberg is now up to 13.4 million and once again the chip leader. Bobby dropped to ~9.9 million.

Player Profile - Daniel Buzgon

Name: Daniel Buzgon
Age: 26
Birthplace: Philadelphia, PA
Resides: Marlton, NJ
Occupation: Pro Poker Player
Tourn. Earnings: $235,054

Start of Day
Chip Count:
4.7 million (4th)

Currently: 3.4 million (5th of 5)

Daniel Buzgon started playing poker in his dorm room at Arizona State University (Degree: Agriculture Business, Professional Golf Management). He's single and took advantage of the Day 1B re-entry after busting on Day 1A.

Buzgon finished 14th in last week's Borgata Poker Open Championship $1,500 purple chip ($500) bounty tournament, earning $3,937. His biggest Borgata cash came in this year's Winter Poker Open Championship Event with a 16th place ($14,250) finish.

6th Place - Ricky Hale

$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH 

Bobby Oboodi opened for 340k utg, then Ricky Hale moved all in for almost 2.1 million.  Action folded back to Bobby, who made the call.

Ricky Hale

Ricky held AT offsuit and was dominated by Bobby's AK suited.

Ricky took the lead when a Ten flopped, but a King on the turn gave it back to Bobby.  He took the pot with a pair of Kings.  Bobby chipped up to over 13.2 million.

Ricky Hale finished in 6th place, earning $186,585.

Ricky is from Cornwall, England, where he has been a builder for 25 years.  He won his entry into this event in a $100 super satellite and has now multiplied that $100 by more than eighteen-hundred.

Player Profile - Jin Hwang

Name: Jin Hwang
Age: 52
Birthplace: South Korea
Resides: Gambrills, MD
Occupation: Self Employed Financial Agent
Tournament Earnings: $0

Start of Day
Chip Count:
2.2 million (6th)

Currently: 3.5 million (4th)

Jin Hwang has been playing poker for 25 years and qualified for the tournament in a $400 satellite. He's married and has one son. Hwang is the oldest player at the final table, 16 years older than Fred Goldberg, who's second in age.

Hwang Doubles Thru Goldberg

$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH

On the fourth hand of the final table, Fred Goldberg opened for 345k utg and action folded around to Jin in the small blind.  Jin gave it some thought, then moved all-in for 1.79 million.

Fred tanked for a couple of minutes, then made the call. 

Jin was ahead with pocket 8s.  Fred held KJ offsuit and was racing.

The board came A 8 4 Q 2 and Jin doubled up with a set of 8s.  He's now up to 4.5 million.  Fred was left with about 9.8 million.

Shuffle Up & Deal!

$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH

Tournament Director Tab Duchateau issues the magic words and the cards are in the air. Chip leader Fred Goldberg is the button as blinds are 80k/160k/20k ante.

Final Photos

$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH

Super Six with Royal Flush Girls

Ready and Waiting!

Player Profile - Ricky Hale

Name: Ricky Hale
Age: 42
Birthplace: London, England
Resides: Cornwall, England
Occupation: Builder
Tournament Earnings: $2,377

Start of Day
Chip Count:
2.4 million (5th)

Ricky Hale has been playing poker for 25 years. He's married with three children. He qualified for this tournament in a $100 satellite.

Preparing to Get Underway

$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH

They are still getting everything set for the start of the final table, due at 3pm, but it may be a few minutes later following player introductions for the studio audience.

 A couple of the Royal Flush Girls, waiting for the action to start

Last night it was discovered that there were some errors in the chip counts.  Here are the corrected counts, which put Fred Goldberg in the lead:

Name - Chip Counts

Fred Goldberg 11,480,000 *
Bobby Oboodi 11,140,000
Darren Elias 7,360,000
Dan Buzgon 4,710,000
Ricky Hale 2,420,000 *
Jin Hwang 2,205,000


Lights, Cameras.....

$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH

The WPT crew is prepping for the final table, here's a look at the behind the scenes setup for the Borgata Poker Open Championship.

Commentators Mike Sexton & Ali Nejad

Host Kimberly Lansing

Royal Flush Girls

Final Touches for Dealer Nick

Event 24: Registration Closed

$200 + $30 Deep Stack NLH  (Re-Entry)  

Level six has ticked away and that's the end of the entry / re-entry period.

It will be a while before they sort out the numbers, but they've easily booked more than 400 entrants.

Play will continue tonight until a winner is determined.  With the deep starting stacks and so many entries, it could be a long night!

Event 24: Last Re-entry Level

$200 + $30 Deep Stack NLH  (Re-Entry)  

Level 6 has commenced with blinds of 200/400 with 50 antes.

The clock reads 400 entries.  Still time to get in.  Until about 1:40pm.

Spotted some more familiar faces:

Michael Buttacavoli
Gil Sacks
Rathe Miller

Event 24: 380 and Counting

$200 + $30 Deep Stack NLH  (Re-Entry) 

Play has resumed with level 5 and blinds of 150/300 and 25 antes. 

Entries and Re-entries allowed through level 6.

380 entries so far -- it is reasonable to expect that number will hit 400, which means total buy-ins of $80,000.

Event 24: Poker Room Packed

$200 + $30 Deep Stack NLH  (Re-Entry)  

The Poker Room is packed as today's tournament is occupying almost all of the available tables.

 Borgata Poker Room

The lines have cleared out at registration, so no waiting to re-enter.  This will change, of course, at the end of level 6 which is the last-chance for entering.

Tournament players are currently enjoying a 10-minute break after finishing level 4.

Event 24: Blinds Relentlessly Climbing

$200 + $30 Deep Stack NLH  (Re-Entry)  

Play continued into level 4 with blinds of 100/200.

There's still a line at registration and for re-entries. 

They can still get in (or back in) through the break after level 6, which should mean registration will close at about 1:40 pm.

Event 24: Conspicuously Absent

$200 + $30 Deep Stack NLH  (Re-Entry) 

Faces I'm not seeing in today's field are names at the top of the Borgata Leaderboard Contest.

James Boyle is the leader with 508 points.  Perhaps he feels he doesn't need any more.

James English is a close second with 494 points.  Haven't seen him either.

Byung Yoo has 459 points -- but hasn't turned up yet today.

Event 24: More Faces, Blinds Up

$200 + $30 Deep Stack NLH  (Re-Entry) 

More familiar faces have turned up:

Bob Santilli
Anthony Caruso
David Laufer
Donald Brown
James Governa

Blinds are up to 75/150 for level 3.

Event 24: Faces In, Blinds Up

$200 + $30 Deep Stack NLH  (Re-Entry)

Quite a few familiar faces in the crowd today:

Howard Wolper
Leanne Rosenblatt
John Koliner
Wazir Baksh
Ibra Ibraimovic
Doug Rosen
Allan Lubin
James Welsh
James 'Suits' Salters
Nancy Martin
Jane Gold
Adam Varrenti

Blinds are already up to 50/100 for level 2.

Event 24: Cards Are in the Air

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

Today is the beginning of the end...the final main event of the Borgata Poker Open!

Players began with 25,000 chips (Deep Stack) and blinds of 25/50.

Players who bust out during the first 6 levels may re-enter as many times as they want.  Late registrations will also be accepted through level 6.

Levels are 25 minutes long and play will continue tonight until a winner is determined.

Cards are in the air!

Event 20: Final Table Chip Counts

$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH

Tournament Director Tab Duchateau Assits Buzgone
Bag & Tag, while Ricky Hale (left) and Oboodi Watch

Name - Chip Counts

Bobby Oboodi 11,140,000
Fred Goldberg 11,080,000
Darren Elias 7,360,000
Dan Buzgon 4,710,000
Ricky Hale 2,320,000
Jin Hwang 2,205,000

Seat - Name

1 Jin Hwang
2 Darren Elias
3 Fred Goldberg
4 Bobby Oboodi
5 Daniel Buzgon
6 Ricky Hale

Number of Entrants: 1,313
Players Remaining: 6
Chips In Play: 39.3 million

Average Stack: 6.6 million (41 BB)
Big Stack: 11.1 million (69 BB)

Blinds: 80k/160k/20k ante (1 hr 7 min remain)

Total Buy-In: $4,332,900
Remaining Payouts:

1st $922,441
2nd $554,303
3rd $335,433
4th $280,925
5th $230,610
6th $186,585

Places Paid: 100

Day 4 Recap/Championship Preview

$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH

Top Row (l-r): Ricky Hale, Fred Goldberg & Jin Hwang,
Bottom Row: Daniel Buzgon, Bobby Oboodi & Darren Elias

A record setting field of 1,313 entries is down to six players as the tv final table is set to play for the WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship first prize of $922,441.

"It's amazing," said Jin Hwang, who is the table short stack with 2.2 million chips, "I was on a roller coaster all day and to still be playing is incredible."

After four days of poker, two players emerged as the big stacks in Bobby Oboodi and WSOP bracelet holder Fred Goldberg, who both have a little more than 11 million chips.

"It's a great feeling anytime you have a chance to win a title," said Goldberg who is only 60k behind Oboodi's 11.14 million after being the chip leader most of the day. "I love Borgata. I've only played one other time, but seem to run pretty good here."

The other three players at the final table are Darren Elias (7.4 million), Daniel Buzgon (4.7 mil), and Ricky Hale (2.3 mill), who are 3rd, 4th, and 5th in chips respectfully.

Day 4 began with 27 players looking for their piece of the $4,332,900 total buy-in, including two WSOP bracelet holders and two prominent Borgata regulars.

Two-time WSOP winner Vanessa Selbst finished 23rd ($18,868), while three-time winner "Miami" John Cernuto was 14th ($35,640).

On the local side, the largest rail bird crowd supported Will "The Thrill" Failla, who was trying to be the first player to win back-to-back WPT titles. Failla started the day as the chip leader, but after becoming a short stack was crippled by Hwang.

Failla was all-in with pocket queens, but when Hwang flopped a set of jacks and turned quads, Failla was crippled and knocked out the next hand in 11th place ($50,315).

"I was trying to do something that's never been done before," says Failla, "I got it in good, but the chips ended up where they were supposed to go."

Going out in 12th place ($50,315) was Matt Glantz who plays regularly in the high stakes room and has $3.9 million in career tournament earnings.

The final six are guaranteed $186,585 as they return 3 pm Friday to play for the title under the bright lights of the Event Center.

"It's pretty exciting," said Oboodi, "but I haven't done anything yet. There's still $800,000 to play for."

Friday, September 23

Today's Events

3PM: Event 20 - $3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship NLH (Day 5)
  • $3,000,000 Guaranteed Prize Pool

11AM: Event 24 - $200 + $30 Deep Stack No Limit Hold'em  (Re-Entry)

  • Players start with 25,000 in tournament chips 
  • Players that bust within the first 6 Levels may Re-Enter (unlimited re-entries)
  • Levels will last 25 minutes each 
  • 1-Day event

6PM: Event 57 - $150 + $30 + $25 Green Chip Bounty No Limit Hold'em
  • Players start with 15,000 in tournament chips 
  • This is a Bounty tournament.  Players must have their Bounty Chip clearly displayed on the table in order to remain active in tournament.
  • Levels will last 20 minutes each 
  • 1-Day event

    Event 23 Recap

    $250 + $30 No Limit Hold'em

    Event 23 is the second to last tournament of the 2011 Borgata Poker Open and was running simultaneously as the Championship whittled down to their Super-Six.

    For $250 + $30 players loved the low risk and high reward. 255 players took their shot at a piece of the $63,750 Total Buy-In. 27 made the money but only one individual captured the grand first place prize of $17,312. That honor went to Atlantic City's native son, Cuong Phung who just kick started his poker bankroll to support his wife Thuy and 3-month old baby at home.

    I named a couple players "All-In-Somniacs" as they played 17 hours yesterday, grabbed a couple hours of sleep, then started today's tourney at 12:00 noon and played all day again. The Vo & Sanjeev Datta both scored large last night in Event 22 and both played today in Event 23. Sanjeev ended in 12th today for an $804 cash.

    Two players went out during hand-for-hand bubble action. The player with less chips, and crowned "the bubble" was Vince Nicoletti. He received some parting gifts from the players.

    Tough final table of ten included: Cuong Phung, Anthony Colombo, Craig Lampa, Andrew Interdonato, Michael Nye, Martino Scaturro, John Mirdita, Fred Meder, Scott Raifer, & Frank Rasile. Once Cuong got the chip lead he held on tight to the finish line.

    3rd place of $5,875 went to Craig Lampa while 2nd place in the amount of $10,202 went to Anthony Colombo. Colombo was out-chipped heads up 3 to 1 and his A high was rundown by Cuong's Q high.

    Once again your big winner of all 3,825,000 chips and the $17,312 in cold cash was Atlantic City fall/winter poker pro Cuong Phung. Congrats on jump starting that Borgata bank-roll and taking down Event 23.

    Event 23: Cuong Phung - 1st

    $250 + $30 No Limit Hold'em

    Cuong Phung - 1st Place - $17,312

    It's over folks! When the dust settled, Cuong Phung (Atlantic City, NJ) ended up as the sole survivor.

    He wins the Blue Shark Optics sunglasses, the Borgata trophy, and $17,312 for his 1st place finish.

    Cuong would have been gone if he didn't hit a miracle runner, runner for a chop early on at the final table of ten. Scott Raifer A-5 vs. Cuong Phung's A-8. Board ran out: A-4-5-10-10.

    From that point forward he built his stack and became the chip leader. He jumped up to 1,375,000 after his A-7 saw an ace in the window on a draw heavy board. He never let go of the lead once he captured it.

    Cuong was playing this tournament for his wife Thuy and his three-month old baby waiting at home for him. She's reading the blog at home and following this tournament. Cuong said "Hi" to her earlier but we weren't able to get the post up.

    The local New Jersey boy works full-time in the summer months but in the fall/winter he plays poker for a living. Today's win came at the right time as Cuong is building a bankroll.

    He was very happy and excited after felting Craig Lampa. Calling with Q-6 proved right as his cards were live and he out-flopped Lampa hitting a Queen.

    It's his third cash in the 2011 Borgata Poker Open but tonight's $17,312 is by far the largest of the three.

    Congrats again to Cuong Phung - today's Event 23 winner!

    Event 23: Anthony Colombo - 2nd

    $250 + $30 No Limit Hold'em

    Anthony Colombo - 2nd Place - $10,202

    Anthony Colombo (New York, NY) played great all day and just fell short heads up against Cuong Phung. Going into heads up he was outchipped 3 to 1.

    The final hand of the tournament went down like this - Anthony jammed his remaining 690,000 holding A-3. Cuong Phung thought and thought and finally made the call tabling Q-6.

    Phung's live cards saw a flop of Q-7-3.

    Both players hit one of their cards on the flop but Colombo would need to improve if he was going to stick around.

    Turn: 8
    River: 9

    Anthony like to make appearances in Borgata Championships and deep stack tournaments.

    He'll take home $10,202 for his impressive 2nd place finish.

    Event 23: Craig Lampa - 3rd Place

    $250 + $30 No Limit Hold'em

    Craig Lampa - 3rd Place - $5,875

    Craig Lampa (Easton, PA) got his remaining chips in on a flush draw but whiffed.

    Event 23 was the first tournament Craig ever played at Borgata.

    He says hi to all his poker buddies in Easton.

    $5,875 goes to Professional Photographer, Craig Lampa for his third place finish today.

    Well done.