$3300 + $200 Championship No Limit Hold'em
He called himself a "DahJinerat" online, but now you can call Josh Mancuso a live champion. The 29 year old outlasted a final table that featured two bracelet holders and a WSOP Main Event runner-up to win the Borgata Winter Poker Open Championship.
"It was a rough five days, I'm exhausted," said Mancuso (New Orleans, LA) who won $542,771, his largest poker score.
Mancuso beat WSOP bracelet holder Jeff Papola (New York, NY) heads up when his A♣ K♣ hit a king on the flop to beat Papola's pocket 6s. "I wasn't completely happy with how I played," said Papola who took home $315,837 as runner-up. "I felt I could've done better, but it was a tough table."
The final 10 also featured two time bracelet holder Brock Parker, who finished 7th, and Steve Dannenmann, the 2005 WSOP runner-up, whose run through the tournament as a short stack ended in 9th place.
"It was a stacked final table," said Mancuso, who singled out Papola, Parker and 5th place finisher Christian Iacobellis as tough internet players he's tangled with online. "It validates my on-line results. Many players haven't made the transition to live play, so to win a live main event is great."
Mancuso, whose internet handle is DahJinerat, is an accomplished online player with more than $900,000 in career tournament earnings. He joined the hordes of internet players who switched to casino poker after the Department of Justice shutdown online poker in April, 2011.
"I made plenty of final tables online so I was comfortable with chips moving around the table and the pay jumps," said Mancuso who had a roller coaster day during the Borgata Winter Poker Open finale. He began the day third in chips, but became a short stack when seven players remained before Mancuso doubled-up through Marc Goldman.
Those two tangled again three-handed when Mancuso hit a set of 3s on the turn against Goldman's flopped two pairs. Mancuso won the 14 million chip pot and knocked Goldman out in third place good for $193,012.
Goldman, who came to the final table as the chip leader, said "making this final table with these legends," was his biggest poker accomplishment and added that, "I would have won if Jeff (Papola) wasn't there." The knockout was a big advantage to Mancuso as it gave him a nearly 2 to 1 chip lead over Papola in heads up play that last thirty minutes.
The tournament began with 734 entries who put up a total buy-in of $2,422,200, well more than the $2 million championship guarantee. The Day 1A & 1B chip leaders, Alex Queen and Tony Ruberto respectively, each took home a $5,000 bonus to start the championship event.
The tournament featured a lot of recognizable names who made the money, as the top 72 included the reigning WPT player of the year Andy Frankenberger (59th), Dave "Cold Stone" Inselberg (27th), Dan Buzgon (24th) Charlie Townsend (23rd), Amanda Musumeci (22nd) and Brent Hanks (19th).
The field also included WSOP November Niners Phil Collins (5th, 2011) and John Racener (2nd, 2010), along with WPT title winner Will "The Thrill" Failla, who had an impressive run during the 55 event Winter Poker Open series. Failla cashed four times, including a win in Event 1 for ~$165,000, but didn't make it out of Day 2 of the championship.
The rest of the final table had Cedric Adam going out 10th, followed by John Zoldak (8th), Sam Bernstein (6th) and Nick Manfredo (4th). But it's Mancuso who not only takes home the title and the cash, but the engraved Borgata trophy.
"It definitely wasn't easy. I had to run good and hit hands at the right times."
Final Table Results
1st Josh Mancuso (New Orleans, LA) $542,771
2nd Jeff Papola (New York, NY) $315,837
3rd Marc Goldman (Easton, PA) $193,012
4th Nick Manfredo (Levittown, NY) $159,088
5th Christian Iacobellis (Rye, NY) $128,674
6th Sam Bernstein (Englewood, NJ) $105,279
7th Brock Parker (College Park, MD) $84,223
8th John Zoldak (Staten Island, NY) $64,337
9th Steve Dannenmann (Severn, MD) $44,451
10th Cedric Adam (Prodo Neort, France) $29,244