Before we get started with coverage of the Fall Poker Open Championship, the Borgata Poker blog and community would like to say goodbye to a friend, player and one of the more genuine people we’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. This past weekend, Long Island poker player and Borgata regular Lee Hirsch passed away far too soon.
Hirsch was a staple in the last few Borgata Poker Opens and was just starting to come into his own as a successful tournament player before he so abruptly passed away. Plenty of other Borgata regulars took to social media over the last few days to send their condolences to Hirsch and his family.
BorgataPoker.com pro Asher Conniff tweeted about Hirsch’s passing yesterday and longtime Borgata tournament player Eric Siegel had nothing but good things to say about his young friend when we caught up with him yesterday. Siegel got to know Hirsch through games near their hometowns and Hirsch was always there to congratulate Siegel on his many tournament scores via constant texts and phone calls.
Those were just two of the many lives that Hirsch touched here at the Borgata and even though we didn’t know Hirsch outside these casino walls, we imagine that they were just a few of the lives he touched in his day to day life outside the Borgata.
He will be missed but he will always be remembered and the Borgata Poker blog and community would like to offer his friends and family our prayers during this tough time.
While the main focus of the Borgata Poker Open blog over the next two days will remain on the $1,000,000 GTD FPO Championship, there are three more FPO trophies up for grabs as the series ends with in signature style. As is the case with every BPO series, the end of the schedule brings out the deepest stacks and some big guarantees.
Those deep stacked structures begin with the Event 18 ‘Deep Stack NLH’, with that event set to start at 11 AM in the back of the Poker Room. Tomorrow, there is another ‘Deep Stack’ event, where the final FPO champion of the series will be crowned. That final event is always one of the biggest fields we see throughout the series and we expect no different.
That event will be previewed before cards get in the air at 11 AM, with the FPO blog providing updates on that event throughout the day.
During the first week of the Fall Poker Open, ten Borgata Poker champions have been crowned and while those winners will be featured in our ‘First Week Recap’, there are still ten FPO trophies up for grabs through the rest of the series. That second half of the series starts today, with the return of the Almighty Stack.
Last BPO series, this event boasted a $1,000,000 guaranteed prize pool and while that number has dropped to $300,000 this time around, we still imagine a massive field will come out for this headlining event. The Almighty Stack will see five starting flights run over the next three days and before the cards get in the air for Day 1A, information on Event 11 will be posted.
The $100,000 GTD ‘Saturday Series’ stayed true to form and while it technically was a one-day affair, the nearly 18 hour grind stretched into the early morning hours of Sunday. In the end, that grind was well worth it for Mark ‘dipthrong’ Herm, who outlasted a massive field to take home a nearly $50,000 score.
Even though Herm hoisted the trophy no more than two hours ago, the Fall Poker Open weekend schedule continues without interruption today, with three one-day main events, one Day 2 restart and a live qualifier to next week’s $300,000 GTD Almighty Stack. The first event to fire up today will be the Event 8 ‘Seniors NLH’, which is set to begin at 10 AM.
A one-day ‘Deep Stack’ event starts at 11 AM and then the ladies take center stage at 12 PM, with the first of those starts playing out in the Poker Room, with the ‘Deep Stack’ and the Event 10 ‘Ladies NLH’ playing out in the Signature Room. Information about all of those events will be posted before play begins and the Day 2 seating assignments for the Event 7 ’40 Big Blinds Black Chip Bounty’ will be posted shortly.
After a jam packed Friday schedule, during which Stephanie Hubbard made Borgata Poker Open history as the first ever female opening event champion, the Fall Poker Open continues to roll through a dense weekend schedule. There are two events starting today and while it remains to be seen whether they will play down to a winner tonight, Event 4 will be coming back with 23 players looking to claim a FPO total at 12 PM.
That restart will demand most of the FPO blog’s attention for the better part of the next few hours but with the $100,000 GTD ‘Saturday Series’ firing up in a few minutes and the ’40 Big Blinds’ event starting at 4 PM, there is enough weekend actin to go around. Those events will be previewed prior to their starts and the Event 4 seating assignments and chip counts will be posted shortly.
Level 16 (3,000/6,000)
Total Entries: 129
Players Remaining: 11
It’s going to be a busy next few hours, as the Event 4 ‘Black Chip Bounty’ field continues to grow and Event 1 players are starting to poke their heads into the Signature Room to see their new seating assignments. Those 18 players are the only ones waiting to get back to the felt though, as 11 players will also be coming back to play down to an Event 3 ‘PLO High’ champion.
That final day of play will also resume play at 12 PM, with the following table assignments:
|FIRST NAME||LAST NAME||CITY||ST||CHIP COUNT||TABLE||SEAT|
This returning Event 3 field is already in the money but some of the bigger payouts still remain, with a complete payout structure posted below:
The first weekend of every Borgata Poker Open series is always packed with action and this weekend is no different. Come Monday, over a half dozen Fall Poker Open champions will be crowned and while the first trophy of the series was technically awarded last night, the opening Event 1 title still needs to be claimed. That hardware and a nearly $160,000 score awaits our eventual champion and that Event 1 field has already been previewed, with more information on the $500,000 GTD Day 3 restart coming before play resumes at 12 PM.
Before those players return, including 11 players coming back to play down to a winner in Event 3, the weekend schedule kicks off with the Event 4 ‘Black Chip Bounty’. Bounty events are always some of the best attended BPO events and we imagine that today’s tournament will follow that same trend. Event 4 will start at 11 AM and then Crazy Pineapple returns for another BPO appearance, with Event 5 ‘Half Crazy Pineapple/Half PLO’ starting at 4 PM.
More information about those events will be posted prior to their starts and while the FPO blog will be updating both of those events today, the main focus of today’s coverage will be on the two restarts set to begin at 12 PM in the Signature Room.
Level 29 (40,000/80,000/10,000) (22:48 remaining)
Total Entries: 1,757
Players Remaining: 18
Average Stack: 2,440,000
In a nearly 1,800 player, relatively low buy-in field, the majority of Day 3 sessions might return with one or two familiar names scattered in the remaining players list. With 18 players remaining in the opening $500,000 GTD Fall Poker Open event, there are more than a few familiar names still alive and the top of the leaderboard reads like a who’s who of players with past Event 1 successes.
BorgataPoker.com ambassador Matt Stout recorded his most recent six-figure score during the Spring Poker Open opening event, when he finished 2nd to another BorgataPoker.com ambassador, Asher Conniff. Stout looks like he’s in a great position to best that runner-up finish today, as he’ll return with a sizable chip lead. The New Jersey native turned Las Vegas pro controls nearly 20% of the chips in play and is the only player over the 100 big blind mark. That lead will help in his quest to reach another massive opening event final table and if there is anyone that knows a thing or two about that, it’s the players coming in right behind Stout.
We said earlier in this series that September’s Borgata Poker Open was headlined by Chris Limo and we weren’t kidding. Limo final tabled the opening $2,000,000 GTD event and then made another run to a final table in the $1,000,000 GTD Almighty Million. Limo couldn’t claim a title during his first live stream appearance but he did in his second, winning the Almighty Million for a nearly $170,000 score. While Limo did his back to back during the same series, Carlos Alvarado had exactly a year separating his Event 1 final table runs.
In 2014, Alvarado won the opening Spring Poker Open event, besting a stacked final table to take home just shy of $210,000. A year later, he was back at a $1,000,000 GTD final table, along with Stout, finishing 3rd for a nearly $90,000 score. If anyone has these opening events figured out, it’s these three, as they have the experience from past deep runs to fall back on today. Unfortunately for the rest of this field, the three most seasoned players in this field are also at the top of the leaderboard, as Limo and Alvarado will each be playing either side of 5,500,000 coming back for Day 3.
Below our leading three horseman, three-time Borgata Poker champion James Lillis and Steve Scales headline the second wave. Both players will return just under the 3,500,000 chip mark and while Lillis doesn’t have the same tournament resumes as the previously mentioned leaders in terms of past Event 1 success, he is one of the more consistent players in the region. Lillis has nearly two dozen tournament scores this year, including a victory in last month’s Deep Stacks Challenge.
Scales has begun to play less and less tournaments over the last few months but the value of massive opening BPO events always make them must plays. The cash game grinder recorded one of his best career scores in the 2014 Summer Poker Open opening event, when he finished 4th for just over a $30,000 score. He’s in a good position to make it back to an Event 1 final table and while Lillis and Scales got to this point following different paths, with Lillis working a short stack for much of Day 2 and Scales comfortably keeping his stack trending upwards, they’ll both return above the chip average.
The stacks quickly fall under that average after Scales and Lillis, as Marilyn Matthews is the only other player with over 3,000,000. The rest of the field returns with sub-2,000,000 chip stacks, including Anthony Pagan and Peter Sennon. Both players are looking for their first real breakthrough score but are coming off some impressive results that suggest that they could be contenders despite their below average holdings. Sennon final tabled last month’s Foxwoods World Poker Finals Main Event, taking home just under $23,000 for his 7th place finish, while Pagan has done most of his damage online.
Pagan is one of the hottest players in New Jersey and he’ll try to carry that hot streak into what he hopes to be his first ever Borgata Poker Open final table appearance. The road to that final table won’t be easy though, as Sennon and Pagan are both working around 15 big blind stacks. The players below them will have an even tougher road, as a half dozen players will return with ten bigs or less.
That group includes Day 1A chip leader Stephanie Hubbard, who final tabled that opening Spring Poker Open event in 2014, which was won by Alvarado. She’s hoping to best that 10th place finish today and if the early morning twitter trends mean anything, we have to, with all due respect to the rest of the field, put Hubbard as the fan favorite coming into Day 3. Jesse Cohen will also have a decent virtual rail present though, as the past Borgata Poker champion and regular will also return with a ten big blind stack and hope to run it up.
Regardless of whether we mentioned it or not, whatever storyline plays out, a winner be crowned today. The seating assignments are listed below, after an overnight redraw took place with 18 players remaining. The FPO blog will pick up the action once cards are in the air at 12 PM and a reminder of the Event 1 payouts can be found here.
|Table||Seat||FIRST NAME||LAST NAME||CITY||ST||CHIP COUNT|
|2||2||GEORGE||INAKAVADZE||WEST NEW YORK||NJ||620,000|
Level 17 (2,500/5,000/500)
Total Event 1 Entries: 1,757
Players Remaining: 332
Average Stack: 132,000
In total, 332 players have advanced from the four Day 1 sessions of the $500,000 GTD opening event of this year’s Fall Poker Open. They will return to Level 17, to not only play into the money, but to also play down to the final 18 players. Going from over 300 down to just two tables is not going to be a quick process, so the returning Day 2 players should all be prepared for a series grind, a grind that will start at 12 PM.
The majority of the Day 2 restart will take place in the Signature Room, with Tables 1-25 starting and finishing their day in the Signature Room. All other tables will start in the Poker Room and then move themselves across the hall as the field consolidates prior to the money bubble. That money bubble likely won’t come into focus for a few hours and when an official Event 1 payout structure is produced, we’ll post it for both players and blog followers to reference.
Before players lock up an Event 1 cash, they need to know where they’re sitting to start Day 2 and that information is provided below in our searchable and sortable Day 2 seating assignment chart:
|FIRST NAME||LAST NAME||CITY||ST||CHIP COUNT||TABLE||SEAT|
|GUY LOUIS||CICCONI||LAS VEGAS||NV||96,500||17||2|
|BRIAN||DENNIS||EGG HARBOR CTY||NJ||239,500||24||8|
|JEFFREY||EPSTEIN||NEW HYDE PARK||NY||190,500||13||5|
|JASON||HENRICI||EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP||NJ||251,500||19||5|
|ANTHONY||HILL||EGG HBR CITY||NJ||195,500||27||2|
|GEORGE||INAKAVADZE||WEST NEW YORK||NJ||69,500||2||7|
|MICHAEL||MOORE||N CAPE MAY||NJ||149,500||31||3|
|ANDREW||SAYEGH||BRIAR CLIFF MANOR||NY||153,000||33||8|
|CHARLES||SEITCHICK||EGG HBR TWP P||NJ||209,500||32||6|
|SHE LOK||WONG||FOREST HILLS||NY||285,000||30||6|
While the main focus of the Fall Poker Open blog will be on the $500,000 GTD Event 1 Day 2 restart, that restart won’t be until noon but there is another event that is starting off the FPO action this morning. Event 2 ‘WKFJ Junkies’ NLH was one of the biggest one-day events during last year’s FPO series and we imagine the junkies will come out in force again this year.
That event is set to start at 10 AM and Event 3 ‘Pot Limit Omaha High’ ends today’s action at 3 AM. Before we get into the particulars about those events, we need to bring you the Day 2 seating assignments and information for the opening FPO event…