Friday, January 20, 2006

Borgata Winter Open - Event #1 $500 NL Day 1

Welcome to the official live blog of the Borgata Winter Open. The Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey will be hosting a series of winter poker tournaments running over the next two weeks.

Last September, the Borgata hosted the largest ever poker tournament in Atlantic City called the WPT Borgata Open main event, which was won by Al Ardebelli who took home almost $1.5 million.

There's a special twist to the Borgata Winter Open. The Borgata will be giving away not one, but two fully loaded 2006 Cadillac Escalades. I hear that the ticket value is around $70K. One of the lucky participants in the first eight events will take home one of the Escalades. The first place winner of the main event will win the second Escalade. Not too bad especially since the main event champion will win at least $1 million (depending on number of entrants) and a $25K seat in the WPT Championships at the Bellagio in April.

For the next two weeks the Borgata will be the epicenter for poker on the East Coast. Check back frequently for updates and results. For a complete list of events visit the 2006 Borgata Winter Open Schedule.

The tournament will be taking place in the ballroom upstairs on the second floor with some spill over happening in the actual poker room. Stop by and check out the action. The ballroom has 70 tables and the poker room contains 34.

I arrived yesterday and the Borgata put me up for two weeks in one of their luxurious rooms, along with free meals. I couldn't sleep last night so I headed downstairs to play some cards. That's the best aspect of living in a casino. You can always find something to do to cure your insomnia. I played some NL in the poker room and ended up down $20 before I crashed around 3 A.M.

***** Live Blogging Updates *****

11:05am... Cards are in the air. Event #1 $500 NL is sold out! It will be a two day event. There are at least 1,160 participants (as of now) with alternates. Players start with $3,000 in tournament chips. Levels are 60 minutes in length. Click here to read the blind levels and structure for Event #1. Stay tuned for more information.

11:10am... A few Borgata employees told me they have never seen the place so crowded. The registration line wrapped around the corner and the entire casino was buzzing with an influx of poker players.

11:58am... Photo dump! Here are a few pictures that I took already. You can click on the photos to enlarge them.

A glimpse of the tournament area in the ballroom

Here's an early all-in...

Another view of the Event #1

1:10pm... Players are on a 15 minute break after the second level completed. We have an unconfirmed number with 1319 entrants, which includes over 200 alternates. This numbers are not 100% accurate, but as soon as the info comes available, I'll post it along with today's payout structure. The ballroom filled their 70 tables and every single one of the 34 tables in the poker room were also packed with players. There was some confusion this morning with the overwhelming rush of people trying to sign up. If you intend on playing in future events, I suggest that you get here several hours early or register the day before your event.

1:30pm... Level 3 is underway. Blinds are $75/$150. Some notable players in attendance today include Arnold Spee, 2005 WPT Borgata Open Champion Al Ardebili, Syracuse Chris Tsiprailidis, and Tony Licastro.

2:00pm... Several of the tables have been cleared already as players have been getting busted at a quick pace. There are about 90+ tables left or roughly 900+ players.

2:15pm... Player Spotlight: Chris Reslock. One of the more popular players in the event today is Chris Reslock, an Atlantic City resident who had an amazing 2004. He's a 52-years old and married with three kids. He started playing poker on the side in the late 1990s to make some extra money. In a ten day span last month, the former tax driver took first and second in two major Atlantic City tournaments.

Reslock won the $10K circuit WSOP event at the Showboat in Atlantic City in December. He beat John Juanda in a marathon heads up session that lasted until the wee hours of the morning. The final table also included 2005 WPT Foxwoods Champion Nick "TheTakeover" Shulman. He also took second place at the US Poker Championships at the Taj Mahal. He won almost $500K in to weeks! Since 2000, he's won six tournaments and made a name for himself as one of the tougher tournament players in Atlantic City. He's also a cash game player and can be found playing middle and higher limits in many of the local casinos including the Borgata.

2:30pm... We're on Level 4 with $100/$200 blinds. There's an Arnold Spee sighting here in the ballroom.

3:00pm... Bouncin Round the Room: In the smoky hallway, I heard one kid complain about getting his Hilton Sisters cracked in between heavy puffs on a cigarette, "I had my pocket Queens cracked by A-J. The flop had two aces on it." Random Borgata Babes are in the ballroom signing autographs of their calendar and the line to talk to them is longer than the line at the men's bathroom.

3:30pm... Players are on a break. Tournament directors are going to move all the players on tables in the poker room, upstairs so the entire field will be in the ballroom, freeing up space in the poker room for cash games and satellites.

3:56pm... After a minor delay trying to get all the tables consolidated, action has resumed with over 600 players left on 60 tables. Cards are back the air. We're at Level 5 with $200/$400 blinds and a $25 ante.

4:00pm... Tournament Details Update: The top 100 places will get paid prize money. There were around 1320 entrants who bought in today and first place will win 26% of the prize pool or roughly $170,000. That's not a bad payday for a $500 tournament.

5:00pm... The ballroom is packed with Event #1 participants, single table satellite players, and the satellite which will begin at 6pm. Players are on Level 6 in Event #1. Blinds are $300/600 with a $50 ante.

5:30pm... If you don't know, tournament players are eligible for reduced room rates at the Borgata. You have to present your tournament buy-in receipt (minimum of $500) at the hotel front desk to receive this special rate. Special room rates are for tournament players only. Rates are valid between today and 2.2/2006. Based on availability.
Special room rates for tournament players:
Sunday - Thursday: starting $109 per night
Friday 1/20/06: starting $179 per night
Friday 1/27/06: starting $129 per night
Saturday 1/28/06: starting $129 per night
For room reservations call 1.866.MY BORGATA

6:00pm... Level 7. Blinds are $400/800 with $75 antes. 270 players are left on 27 tables. Over 1,000 players have been eliminated, so the action is moving fast. At the end of this level, players will go on a one hour dinner break.

7:00pm... Players are currently on a dinner break. There's a confirmed Al Krux sighting here in the ballroom.

8:00pm... Players have returned and we're on Level 8. Blinds are $600/1200 with $100 antes. There are approximately 230 players remaining on 23 tables. Action will stop at the conclusion of Level 12.

8:30pm... We have an unconfirmed list of payouts. The top 100 places will get paid out of 1319 entrants and a $659K prize pool.
Event #1 Payouts:
1. $171,944
2. $91,155
3. $52,920
4. $46,305
5. $39,690
6. $33,075
7. $26,460
8. $19,835
9. $13,561
10-12. $7,938
13-15. $5,954
16-18. $3,969
19-27. $3,308
28-36. $1,588
37-45. $1,323
46-54. $1,191
55-63. $1,059
64-100. $993
9:15pm... We're now on Level 9. Blinds are $800/$1600 with $200 antes. There are approxiamtely 165+ on 17 tables.

9:42pm... We have 148 players remaining on 15 tables. We are just 48 players until the money!

10:20pm... We're on Level 10. Blinds are $1K/2K with a $300 ante.

10:30pm... I had a long talk with Tom Dwyer from He's a long time fan and it was good to chat with him for a while. He played in a few sats today.

10:45pm... There are 11 tables remaining. We're very close to the bubble. Play is now hand-for-hand.

11:20pm... There are 101 players left. We have officially reached the money bubble.

11:33pm... The bubble has burst! All remaining 100 players have made the money. They will win at least $993 for their hard work today.

11:45pm... 15 minutes are remaining in Level 10. Quote of the Day from a random player: "Are there any more tournaments beginning tonight where I can get sucked out on again?"

11:52pm... Here's another picture dump. I took these in the last 15 minutes.

The staredown

Nice stack

Have a Coke and a smile!

The flop got a lot of action

Timer for Event #1

12:01am... Level 10 is over and players are on a thirty minute break.

12:40am... We're on Level 11. Blinds are $1500/300 with a $500 ante. We will be playing two more levels tonight before play is suspended.

1:15am... There are 69 players remaining on 7 tables.

1:38am... There are 59 players remaining.

1:45am... We're on Level 12, the last level of the night. Blinds are $2K/$4K with $500 ante.

2:05am... There are 5 tables left with 49 players still in the hunt.

2:30am... Congrats to fellow poker blogger Ryan from Absinthe's Troubles who just won the first event of the LA Poker Classic at Commerce Casino in Los Angeles. Way to go, dude!!

2:50am... Play is done for today. There are 4 tables left with 40 players remaining. Play for Event # 2will resume at 2pm. Dennis Scanlon who is playing in his first live multi-table tournament ended Day 1 as the chipleader. Here are the top 10 chipleaders:
Event #1 End of Day 1 Chipcounts:
1. Dennis Scanlon 227,500
2. Carlos Ochoa 222,000
3. Ravi Nderjit Anand 203,000
4. Kenny Elazzeh 178,500
5. Jason Hickey 163,000
6. John DiSandro 160,500
7. Thomas Dale 156,500
8. Albert Frampton 156,000
9. Fatmir Cukovic 151,000
10. David Figgs 147,500
Event #2 starts on Saturday at 11AM. See ya tomorrow.

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