$350 + $50 Big Stack No Limit Hold'em
After two days of poker, it was Steve Scales (Red Bank, NJ) who had the Big Stack -- over 7 million. His first main event tournament cash at Borgata is for $32,913 and a beautiful Borgata trophy. Second place and $18,282 went to 21-year-old Jacob Fafard (New Ipswich, NH).
Heads-up play began with Fafard holding a 4:3 chip lead over Scales, but the tide turned when Scales was all in holding pocket Queens against Fafard's pocket 4s. He doubled up, reversing their positions and taking the chip lead with a 4:3 lead over Fafard.
Scales was ninth out of ten in chips when they moved to the final table. "I was short the whole final table" he said. A key hand for him was when he was all-in with A8 and hit an 8 on the board to crack pocket 3s. That gave him some much-needed chips and momentum to propel him to the win.
Day One saw 359 players turn up for this event, the second of two $350 Big Stack events on the Borgata Winter Poker Open schedule. Thirty-six players got a piece of the $125,650 pie.
One of those taking a big slice was Borgata regular Alex 'Jedi' Nepomnyaschiy. He claimed 5th place and $7,069 after his pocket Queens took a bad beat from Jacob Fafard's pocket 8s. This was Nepomnyaschiy's second final table of this series. He finished 3rd in the other $350 Big Stack event ($16,653).
Among the entrants in this event were Will 'the Thrill' Failla, winner of event 1; Jon Sorscher, winner of event 2; and Scott Schwalich, winner of event 6. None of them held on long enough to make the money.
The 24-year-old winner, Steve Scales, graduated from college last year with a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice and Juvenile Justice. He moved back home and was in the process of deciding on a career, and may have just changed directions.
Scales has lots of poker experience online, but only recently began playing live poker. "I was forced into the live arena" he said. "I play a good amount of dailies [tournaments] and played during the last open. Seven events during this one." So we'll be seeing lots of him. "This is the only place I play."
The 21-year-old runner-up Jacob Fafard is also a recent convert from online poker. This is his first big cash in a main event and may convince him to change careers. He's a chef trained in classic French cuisine.
Final Table Results
1. Steve Scales (Red Bank, NJ) $32,913
2. Jacob Fafard (New Ipswich, NH) $18,282
3. James Salters (W Hempstead, NY) $11,335
4. Keith Solomon (Newark, DE) $9,141
5. Alex 'Jedi' Nepomnyaschiy (Staten Island, NY) $7,069
6. Robert Albert (Manalapan, NJ) $5,972
7. Daniel Daconti (Mt Laurel, NJ) $4,814
8. Jerry Jones (Severn, MD) $3,595
9. Jimmy Wong (Brooklyn, NY) $2,438
10. Gino Grimberg (Brooklyn, NY) $1,584