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

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