News on tournaments and other action in casino poker rooms
When exactly does a poker player make the leap from a casual amateur player to a full-time pro?
It’s not always as simple as quitting your day job.
At least not for Jia Liu, of Brooklyn, N.Y., who is the 2012 winner of the Borgata Spring Poker Open Championship.
With his $312,483 win at the open, Liu’s total poker winnings come in at about $500,000 since 2008. He’s played at the WSOP and at a number of other Borgata events.
But with this win, he moves up a notch. Yet Liu is still hesitant to call himself a pro.
“I still look at poker as something I do on the side,” Liu told the Borgata Poker Blog. “I’ve been playing a lot the last couple of years especially, but I’m not a pro. ... Of course, now I don’t know.”
The championship event drew 520 players and a $1.3 million total buy-in.
Liu survived a tough Day 1 to cruise through Day 2 and Day 3 and reach the final table with a chip lead. But that soon evaporated and he was at a severe chip disadvantage through most of the final table.
Sill Liu managed to hang on and eventually found himself heads-up with second place finisher Larry Abrams of Mahwah, N.J. ($175,700).
Twice he found himself in deep trouble, but again, a lucky flop of a straight here, and the wise lay down of pocket aces against an Abrams full house there, allowed him to survive and even climb back into the chip lead.
He finally out-flopped Abrams with a pair of kings to win the final hand.
“It’s still not sinking in,” the 25-year-old said after the win. “I’m numb right now, this is sick. I was looking at second or third.”
The Borgata’s most popular events of its five major poker opens are the Borgata Open in September and the Winter Open in January.
The Summer Open, this year set for June 6-22, competes head on with the WSOP in Vegas and the spring and fall opens tend to just attract moderate fields and regional players.
But this year’s Spring Open drew well with two tournaments breaking the 1,000 players barrier and nice fields throughout.
Of course, the Borgata may have been helped out — again — by its bad-beat jackpot. The casino’s jackpot has a habit of climbing into the stratosphere during Borgata events and was at $592,000 going into this week’s play.
That’s already a new record for the casino (beating the current record of $586,000), assuming the full jackpot hits.
The Borgata splits its jackpots into a small bad-beat jackpot with a minimum hand of quad deuces and nines and a full jackpot for a minimum of quad 10s. Whenever the small bad beat hits, it shaves $50,000 off the total.
And that usually happens often between full jackpot hits, keeping the jackpot from reaching record numbers.