Hey everyone, unfortunately my double-up didn't happen and I'm no longer Inside the Rail, but am on the outside looking in.
After running into pocket sixes in a blind vs. blind battle, I was down to 8k (5 BB). Then I got it all in with AQ against yet again, pocket 6s. The board runs out J-J-10-J-K, but the meaningless straight on the river is trumped by my opponent's full house.
I would have loved a piece of the the $936,500 prize pool and a shot at the $165,053 first place haul, but was never able to get anything going. In the next day or so, I'll be providing a more detailed account of my experience at the Borgata Winter Poker Open.
Best of luck to all the remaining players.
Jen Shahade, a writer, entrepreneur and games player who is providing her insights from Event 1. She is a two-time American Women’s Chess Champion and is a contributor to PokerStars.com.
Writer, entrepreneur and games player Jen Shahade provides her insights from Event 1.
Hey there, I made it past the dinner break so I’ve at least earned a $10 food voucher against the $560 buy-in! weeee.
Sadly, I only have about 12 big blinds (19k) so I’m going to need a lot of luck in the next levels to make it to the end of the night. My table has been pretty fun with a lot of action though I’m obviously not happy with my stack.
It’s hard for me to say whether I missed spots in the previous level (i.e shoving a late position opener light from the blinds with an appropriate stack size) or if they just weren’t quite there. Often the truth is a mixture of the two and I feel that it’s always possible to get more precise at these things, despite the seeming simplicity of playing with relatively few blinds. I’ll go over a few specific spots after the event is over.
One of the things I love about tournament poker and the Borgata is the great community atmosphere. It’s also nice to see a lot of women in the field.
I saw many female pros at surrounding tables, including May Siu, Amanda Musumeci, Cherish Andrews, Marguerite Spagnuolo and the aforementioned Jamie Kerstetter. I even saw a table with more women than men, although at that very table a raucous argument broke out. So don’t go saying women are more “peaceful” than men!
I’ll definitely need some run good after dinner. Look for my double or bust tweets @jenshahade and be sure to follow @BorgataPoker throughout the series. Until next time, Jennifer
There's a mad rush out the Event Center doors and down the escalators as the field is on a one hour dinner break. Players were restless the last 15 minutes and glad to get away from the table.
Just before the break, Steve DeSimone (East Hanover, NJ) three-bets all-in for 19k, but doesn't get any action as he shows pocket kings. After scoping out the Fornelletto menu, DeSimone says he likes the chicken parm.
Tim Vance (Milstadt, IL) is in the field today, but just took a tough beat.
He had the best pair, pocket Aces, and was up against a shorter-stack that was all-in holding AQ. His opponent made a flush to crack those Aces and Tim shipped the double across the felt. He was left with less than 10k (8 big blinds).
Tim made his name in the poker world in 2008 when he won the EPT Scandinavian Open, good for over $1 million. He doesn't get to travel to live tournaments much because he has a 7-year-old daughter at home. This is Tim's first-ever tournament at Borgata.
"We just want to make it to the final room, forget the final table," jokes Jerry Payne (Dayton, OH) who's one of 250 players still grinding in the Poker Room. The field of more than 1,800 entries forced the Event Center overflow to the other side of the casino.
"There was class division," jokes Anthony Caruso (Medford, NJ), "all the good players are up there. They tried to find a spot for me in the basement, but they don't have poker anymore, just the black card lounge.
Payne is glad to see blog coverage as he picks up pocket aces and forces Jim Hayduk (Johnstown, PA) to fold.
"Don't go away," laughs Payne, "first time I've had them all day."
As the field shrinks the remaining players in the Poker Room will bag and tag and move to the Event Center.
Trying to keep pace with table 65 is table 3, which has it's three original ladies, but there's a catch. Taemee Feuer (New Platz, NY) started the day in the three seat and busted, but coincidentally her re-entry ticket put her back at the table in the 10 seat.
Feuer, who won a 2009 September Deep Stack ($108,000) joins two other Borgata regulars in Kelly Armentrout (Alexandria, VA) and Gina Cannone (Long Branch, NJ).
Four ladies who began the day on Table 65 are still alive and well in the back of the Event Center. Borgata regulars Jennifer So (New York, NY) and Leanne Rosenblatt (Brigantine, NJ) are joined by Christine Brewer (Middletown, NJ) and Kathy Long (Reading, PA).
They're proud of the fact that they've seen a number of players come and go but that this fearsome foursome are players to be reckoned with.
Pete "Pit Bull" Gonzalez (Bronx, NY) is a colorful character and lives by one simple motto, "You can
lead a horse to water, but a donkey will follow you all the way to the
Gonzalez wouldn't say if he was the donkey when he busted from his first table, but proudly holds his re-entry ticket for a second go around.
Gonzalez started the day in the Poker Room and says the room is buzzing with both cash and tournament action. And, "heard the roar," when the mini bad beat jackpot hit (efforting details). But now he's waiting in line for his new seat in the Event Center.
Level 7 (250/500/50) is underway with pit bulls, donkeys and gorilla's, "oh, my!"
On the last hand of Level 6 (200/400/50), Nikolai Sears (Burlington, VT) says he wants to "gamble," knowing that if he busts he can still re-enter the tournament. Sears moves all in for 16,250 from middle position, but doesn't get any action.
"It's right on the edge on whether it's right to gamble or not," say Sears as players are on a 15 minute break.
The re-entry portion of the tournament is now over, but alternates who haven't played a hand yet, still have one more level to join the field.
Level 6 is the beginning of the end, as re-entry closes in the next 40 minutes.
Haralambos "Bobby" Saridis (Boston, MA) and an anonymous player are all-in preflop, each with ~25k in chips.
Saridis tables pocket aces against his opponent's pocket 5s, and when a 5 flops, Saridis doesn't flinch. And he maintains that same demeanor when an ace hits the turn. Saridis' hand finally holds as he wins the pot with the higher set and has his opponent covered.
"Scary," is all Saridis says about rallying against the set of 5s. He now has 47k, while the other player reluctantly grabs the re-entry ticket and heads back to the registration desk.
Borgata Winter Poker Open Tournament Leaderboard
Win prizes for the Borgata Winter Poker Open Tournament Leaderboard promotion
How To Qualify:
By participating in any Borgata Winter Poker Open event (January 18 - February 3, 2012), players will earn points based upon Borgata’s poker tournament leaderboard formula, which takes into consideration three criteria:
Tournament Buy-In Amount
Total Event Entries
Borgata Tournament Leaderboard points are calculated by multiplying the point factors from all three criteria. The Borgata Tournament Leaderboard will be updated throughout the tournament.
Winners will be announced Monday, February 6:
1st Place: Entry into Borgata Spring Poker Open Championship event (April 2012)
2nd Place: Sony Internet tv
3rd - 8th Place: Ray Ban sunglasses
9th Place: Nikon digital camera
10th Place: Keurig coffee maker
In addition, places 1 through 30 will receive an exclusive Blind Squirrel Apparel t-shirt and discount offer code.
There are about 44 tournament tables in action down in the poker room with quite a few familiar faces. I made a quick pass through the room and spotted these:
Only three levels into the tournament and there are plenty of bad beats to go around.
"I'm so angry, I want to punch somebody in the face right now," says one player we overhear lamenting how his set of aces were cracked by 9,10 suited.
Taking her bad beat in stride is Guyana Petrossian (Brooklyn, NY), who lost more than half her stack with a "high pocket pair," to Joe Cohen (Philadelphia, PA) who turned a straight flush. "Just say I'm looking for revenge," Petrossian says with a smile.
At the other end of the spectrum is a player who doubled-up early and tells his buddy, "bottom set against two pair."
Blinds are 75/150 as players are looking forward to their first break at just after 1 pm.
This is where we normally list the Borgata regulars, big names, and interesting characters who are in the field. But, with more than 1,500 entries and a never ending registration line, it would be an injustice to highlight
some players and leave out others who are just as worthy of mention.
On that note, EVERYONE is a notable player and it's great to see so many familiar faces. As the field shrinks over the next two days, we'll highlight some names that make a deep run.
We'll start with a shout out to the players in the Poker Room and as we sift through the names, buckle-up, enjoy the ride, and avoid those landmines!
Hi, I’m Jen and really excited to be here at the Borgata Winter Poker Open’s kickoff event.
Over the next few days I'll be offering you a view from Inside the Rail, a personal account of my experience playing in Event 1, the $500k guarantee.
I can't believe the turnout and am glad I registered last night to get a head start on this massive field! Jen Shahade
A bit about me, I'm part of a group called the Grindettes and am here with my girl Jamie Kerstetter and we rushed back to play in the Winter Open after playing the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (though you can’t tell from our lack of tans).
I'll be providing updates here on the blog and tweeting my Borgata Winter Open Adventure along the way. You can catch me from @jenshahade to @BorgataPoker so thanks for following along.
And if you’re at my table, tell me what you’re looking forward to over the next 17 days at the Winter Open and the $2 Million Guaranteed Championship Event (Jan. 29-Feb. 3)
As players settle in, everyone's wondering if 2,000 entries is a real possibility.
"I thought it would be 15 (hundred), but this could hit 19 (hundred) or more, says John Del Rossi (Mantua, NJ), who had multiple final tables at Borgata in 2011 including a 4th place finish ($6,800) in Event 6 of the Fall Open.
"This is sick," Del Rossi adds, "I'm so excited, this is the tournament you want to win."
The registration line is still 200 deep and players who set their over/under line at 1,500 are pleasantly surprised that the number is being blown away.
As players take their seats, the first riff of the deck signals the official start of the 2012 Bogata Winter Poker Open!
The starting head count of 1,350 players means the $500,000 guarantee has already been met ($675,000 prize pool and growing). The turnout proves that not only is the structure (25k chips/40 min. levels) and the staff top notch, but that players love playing poker at Borgata.
The Event Center has 90 tables so that means there are 40+ tables in the Poker Room and the vibe is electric.
Re-entries are available for the first 6 levels so players looking to gamble or suffer a horrendous beat can reload and fire a second bullet.
Blinds start at 25/50, the button is the three seat and the cards are in the air!
Heath Hoyes (Chester Springs, PA), left, Chats with
Suresh Suryawanashi (Manassas, VA) as Dealer Joe Cuts the Cards