News on tournaments and other action in casino poker rooms
It’s been a good run for the Borgata Winter Open, which has pumped some much-needed life into a bleak January in Atlantic City.
The first event of the Open drew 1,873, a record for a Borgata tournament. The Open’s big event, its $3,300 + $200 Championship event, has come in at 733 players and a total buy-in of $2,422,000. The tournament carries a $2 million prize-pool guarantee and even after the dealer’s vig of three percent and two $5,000 bonuses for early chip leaders, that guarantee has been easily met.
That’s actually a little better than last year’s championship event, which drew 718 players. Of course with that high a buy-in, it’s amazing that the casino can draw that many players at all.
The field will play down to a final table on Friday, Feb. 3, and then a winner. The top prize is $542,771.
As for big-name pros, the casino has drawn most of the East Coast regulars that call the Borgata their home base.
Players like Steve Dannenman, John Racener and Josh Brikis, to name only a few.
One guy having a great Winter Open is Will “The Thrill” Fialla, who has been playing steadily in most events. He’s already won the opening event and $165,000 and has been cashing on several more.
He could end up winning the Borgata’s leader-board promotion, which tracks players’ action throughout the tournament. The winner gets a seat at the Borgata Spring Open Championship in April. With about $3 million in lifetime cashes, however, Fialla hardly needs it, but a win is a win.
The point is that the Borgata’s events, with the slight exception of the Borgata Open in September, which is part of the World Poker Tour, continues to be a regional force. Looking at the players lists for the tournaments, the vast majority are from New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York with a healthy representation of players from East Coast states from Massachusetts to Maryland.
And you have to expect that. With the constant spread of casino gambling, it’s hard to imagine a January event drawing players from around the country.
For example, the WSOP circuit events had a competing event at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas this month. It should be noted that the Borgata Winter Open outdrew that tournament by a lot, but clearly there’s a lot of choices for players. And don’t forget that the superstars of poker are in Australia for the Aussie Millions.
So for a fairly rich regional East Coast event, the Winter Open is doing just fine.
In some other news, the Golden Nugget poker room is up and running and has settled into a schedule of four daily tournaments.
The casino has an elegant 20-table room, which while small, does round out the poker experience in the marina district, with all three marina casinos now offering poker.
The Nugget offers a very early (or late, depending on your point of view) tournament at 4am, so it’ll be interesting to see if that draws. Tournaments are also offered at 10am, 4pm and 10pm. All are $68 + $12 buy-ins, which puts them in a nice mid-range of action more affordable than both Harrah’s and Borgata.
We also have a hit to report: the Caesars Entertainment Combined Bad-Beat jackpot. The hit came on Jan. 19 and was good for $307,482.
In this case, quad fours was tripped up by quad eights. The hand loser (or bad-beat winner) received $93,313 while the winner of the hand received $62,565. The jackpot also paid $1,068 to 142 players in the four Caesars rooms.
This was the 20th time the combined jackpot has hit since it was introduced in August 2010. That shakes out to a hit every month and a half or so.
When the combined jackpot was first introduced, there was some hope — especially with its high initial minimum hand of quad queens — that it would lead to some record jackpots. But that hasn’t really worked out as the jackpot just keeps hitting.