Another year, another record for Borgata Poker Open

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The World Poker Tour returned to Atlantic City in September as the Borgata Poker Open was again the center of the East Coast poker universe. Last year the BPO had a record 1,042 entrants, and given the impressive numbers at this year’s World Series, this year’s expectations were to set another record. Not only did 2011 break the record, it did so by more than most tournament series draw in total. A massive field of 1,313 players took to the felt in search of WPT glory.

Before the main event kicked off, a diverse schedule of events was under way, including Atlantic City’s first H.O.R.S.E. tournament, which drew 123 players and went to Jeff Duvall, who came from London for the series. Duvall captured the mixed-game event title and more than $14K. Other events included Omaha/8, six-max, pot-limit Omaha and heads-up, giving a little something for everyone.

Bahbak “Bobby” Oboodi, a 24-year-old pro from Morris Plains, N.J., took down the main event title and more than $922K. Runner-up Jin Hwang was so convinced his run would be cut short of the final table that he checked out of the hotel on Day 4 before play resumed with 27 players. Hwang, a 56-year-old self-employed financial agent from Gambrllis, Md., who started Day 4 in last place, was more than pleased with second.
“I’m so proud of myself; I think I did my best,” said Hwang, whose more than half-million dollars in winnings likely softened the blow of not being the victor.
Quite a few top-notch pros turned out for one of the WPT’s biggest and most popular events of the year, and a number of them fared quite well. Will Failla (11th), Matt Glantz (12th), “Miami” John Cernuto (14th), Vanessa Selbst (23rd), David Williams (31st), John Racener (35th) and Jeff Madsen (60th) cashed.

Heads-up play began with each player holding nearly 40 big blinds, but it lasted a mere 18 hands. The final hand saw Oboodi’s flush overtake Hwang’s two pair. Though heads-up action was quick, Oboodi saw it going another way.

“My strategy for heads-up was to small-ball it. I didn’t want to get into any big hands where I’m going to be put in marginal situations,” he said. “I was fortunate enough to make the flush against two pair on the last hand and it held up and here we are, champion.”

With his title the Borgata and WPT put the lid on another hugely successful series, proving that despite a number of recent setbacks, poker still is flourishing.

— Cris Belkewitch is the Ante Up Atlantic City Ambassador. A member of Team Bustout, his insight can be found at thepokerjourney.net.

BORGATA POKER OPEN

Sept. 7-23
Event 1 • $450 NLHE

1,718 Entries • Prize Pool: $687,200
Vincent Maglio, Revere, MA, $140,852
Event 2 • $400 Bounty
513 Entries • Prize Pool: $179,550
Dennis Roitman, Brooklyn, NY, $43,359
Event 3 • $400 Omaha/8
190 Entries • Prize Pool: $66,500
Yuebin Guo, Brooklyn, NY, $19,352
Event 4 • $560 NLHE
305 Entries • Prize Pool: $152,500
Manh Nguyen, Munhall, PA, $39,941
Event 5 • $400 Seniors
226 Entries • Prize Pool: $79,100
Fabio Balboni, Harrison, NY, $21,481
Event 6 • $1,090 NLHE
219 Entries • Prize Pool: $219,000
Tom Lee, Denver, $59,477
Event 7 • $450 NLHE
476 Entries • Prize Pool: $190,400
Kenneth Moyer, Hatfield, PA, $47,190
Event 8 • $400 NLHE
580 Entries • Prize Pool: $203,000
Joseph Liberta, Berlin, NJ, $49,029
Event 9 • $450 H.O.R.S.E.
123 Entries • Prize Pool: $49,200
Jeffrey Duvall, London, $14,319
Event 10 • $400 Bounty
317 Entries • Prize Pool: $110,950
Stanley Combs, Brookville, OH, $29,058
Event 11 • $400 PLO
140 Entries • Prize Pool: $49,000
Paul Greim, Helmetta, NJ, $14,258
Event 12 • $3,200 Heads-Up
53 Entries • Prize Pool: $159,000
Christian Harder, Annapolis, MD, $61,690
Event 13 • $400 NLHE
374 Entries • Prize Pool: $130,900
Michael Holm, Woodridge, IL, $34,284
Event 14 • $230 NLHE
1,218 Entries • Prize Pool: $243,600
Mike Watters, Mid. Village, NY, $51,974
Event 15 • $400 PLO/8
120 Entries • Prize Pool: $42,000
Thomas Blank, Stamford, CT, $12,222
Event 16 • $2,150 Bounty
246 Entries • Prize Pool: $369,000
Kunal Patel, Friendswood, TX, $100,225
Event 17 • $400 NLHE
398 Entries • Prize Pool: $139,300
Roland Israelashvili, F. Hills, NY, $36,483
Event 18 • $560 NLHE
430 Entries • Prize Pool: $215,000
Terrance Beins, Jackson, NJ, $53,280
Event 19 • $1,090 Six-Max
410 Entries • Prize Pool: $410,000
Spiros Markatos, Dix Hills, NY, $93,259
Event 21 • $400 Bounty
340 Entries • Prize Pool: $119,000
Finian Anuforo, Brockton, MA, $31,161
Event 22 • $230 NLHE
1,048 Entries • Prize Pool: $209,600
James English, Tamarac, FL, $44,724
$3,500 WPT Main Event

1,313 Entries • Prize pool: $4,332,900
Bahbak Oboodi, Morris Plains, NJ, $922,441