$500 +$60 Deep Stack NLH (Re-Entry)
Will 'the Thrill' Failla (Smithtown, NY) demonstrated his poker prowess as he plowed through the record-breaking field in the Borgata Winter Poker Open kickoff event to claim the title and top prize of $165,053. Adam Faherty held the lead for a while, but had to settle for second and $104,463.
Ryan Dion, (3rd ) Mark Borges, (4th) and Mark Hopkins (5th) all fought hard, but the chips did not fall their way. "He dodged the land mines and got value when he had the best hand" one said, referring to Failla's tournament play. Failla never held the chip lead until they were down to the final six, playing a solid game without a lot of flash.
Interestingly, the key hands that changed the course of the tournament did not involve him at all. With 12 players left, tournament regular Eugene Fouksman was the chip leader but saw it quickly evaporate. In back-to-back hands, he doubled up Ryan Dion twice, giving Dion a huge lead and leaving Fouksman short, as he eventually settled for 6th place finish.
And once Failla claimed the lead from Dion in the early hours Friday morning, there was no looking back.
The tournament's total entry count of 1,873 topped not only last year's number of 1,472 entries, but also eclipsed the previous record set in the 2011 Borgata Poker Open of 1,718 entries. The total buy-ins of $936,500 crushed the $500,000 guarantee for Event 1 and resulted in 180 players earning a piece of the pie.
Quite a few notables played this event, including WSOP and/or WPT title holders Jason Young, Dwyte Pilgrim, Paul Darden and Mike 'Little Man' Sica.
Failla earned more than $1.8 million playing poker in 2011 and has now started off 2012 with a bang. "This is the biggest tournament I've ever won, by number of entries" he said.
Final Table Results
1. Emanuel ' Will' Failla (Smithtown, NY): $165,053
2. Adam Faherty (Lowell, MA): $104,463
3. Ryan Dion (Blackwood, NJ): $69,311
4. Mark Borges (Glen Rock, NJ): $58,773
5. Mark Hopkins (Cranbury, NJ): $48,600
6. Eugene Fouksman (Manalapan, NJ): $39,061
7. Matthew 'Paul' Leon (Virginia Bch, VA): $30,432
8. Williams Watchman (Reno, NV): $22,256
9. Ragavan 'Rags' Thiagarajah (Marlton, NJ): $15,897
10. David Penna (Babylon Village, NY): $10,447