News on tournaments and other action in casino poker rooms
The Borgata Spring Poker Open isn’t one of Borgata’s signature poker events like the Borgata Open in September, but the event is still pumping some needed life into the Atlantic City poker scene.
The opening event of the tournament, which was actually a pretty steep buy-in of $500 + $60, drew an impressive field of 1,041 last Wednesday. That’s not a record, but close to 1,000 players (some players bought in twice) turning up on Wednesday before a holiday weekend is nothing to sneeze at.
They were rewarded with a total buy-in of $520,500, easily outdistancing the $300,000 prize pool guarantee for the tournament. Exactly 100 players got paid for the tournament.
The winner was Brian Lemke of Norristown, Pa., who adds $111,076 to his already impressive record. Lemke has more than $1 million in live earnings and more than $400,000 online.
Lemke is the holder of a WSOP bracelet and won $692,000 in a $5,000 No Limit Hold’Em tournament in 2009.
While that was his biggest payday by far, Lemke has had some A.C. cashes before, including a first at a 2009 U.S. Poker Championship event at the Taj Mahal, good for $38,000. Combined with this win at the Borgata, two of his three career firsts have come in Atlantic City.
Lemke enjoyed a pretty strong chip lead throughout most of the tournament (he was the Day 1 chip leader) and went into the final heads-up play with Joseph Daddario of Hauppauge, N.Y., with a six-to-one chip lead.
Lemke’s win isn’t unusual as the Borgata’s regional opens usually bring out a lot of local pros. Guys like Dwyte Pilgrim, Mike Dentale, and Lee Childs are pretty much regulars at Borgata events these days and have been playing at the open.
Still, the spring open is a good chance for budding pros and talented amateurs to get some experience without facing down too many big time players.
And you can expect some big fields through this week counting down to the Open Championship ($2,500 + $200), which starts Sunday, April 15.
The second event of the Open, a $300 + $50 + $100 Bounty tournament attracted 329 entries.
After that, Easter, and also the lagging popularity of Omaha, held down the fields last weekend.
In the past, the Borgata has tried to avoid the Easter weekend, but didn’t dodge it this year.
Unfortunately, Sunday’s main event, a $260 + $40 semi turbo event, brought in only 193 players and Saturday’s Omaha Hi/lo tournament ($350 + $50) only drew 54.
Still, you have to give the Borgata props for rolling out some variety for the weekend.
And if you’re looking for a bargain to get a seat at that championship table, satellite qualifiers for the championship event begin Friday, April 13, with a $270 + $30 No Limit tournament at 3pm. One in 10 players will win a seat at the championship.
Five qualifiers of varying buy-ins are then scheduled for Saturday, April 14, and Sunday, April 15, (the championship is a Double Play with two opening days April 15 and 16. Sunday winners play Monday).
The least expensive is a $135 + $25 No Limit tournament Saturday at noon that gives a championship seat for every 20 players.
Hey, who can resist a bargain? Last year’s Spring Open Champion made about $277,000.
In some other news, New Jersey’s attempts to bring online gaming to the state took another step forward last week. But throughout the Legislature’s attempts, it’s been understood that federal law would only allow the bets to be placed in-state only by New Jersey residents.
However, a bill currently working its way through the Legislature — it was approved April 4 by a state Senate Committee — would possibly allow betting to out-of-state residents and possibly even international bettors.