Zinno outlasts Selbst for Borgata Poker Open title

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Borgata held its annual World Poker Tour Borgata Poker Open on Sept. 3-20, and it’s not only the most popular tournament series in Atlantic City, but it has brought the largest field of players for the past three consecutive years.

The large volume of entrants in Atlantic City has brought changes to WPT’s world championship event for the upcoming 2014 season. After 11 WPT seasons of holding the championship at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, the event will be at the Borgata in May.

Event 1 of the series set a record of 4,482 entries. Maksim Rozenfield of Staten Island took home the trophy and $363,091.

The $3,500 championship event had 1,189 players for a prize pool of $3.8 million.

“Borgata gets more local players than most other tournaments and less of the big-name pros fly in due to the low buy-in,” Philadelphia pro Chris Klodnicki said. “The large field size makes it tough to win.”
Many notables were in the field, but only few remained as Borgata hosted the longest bubble burst ever in the event.

Anthony Zinno of Cranston, R.I., captured the title, finishing heads-up against pro Vanessa Selbst, who came close to being the first woman to win a WPT televised event. Zinno took home $825,099.
One local player, Joe “Worm” Palma, took home two trophies from Events 3 and 12. Both events were non-hold’em tournaments: pot-limit Omaha/8 and H.O.R.S.E.

“There were much smaller fields for these events and only a small percentage play them well,” Palma said.

Despite Palma’s humble remarks, the field had numerous tough competitors, including Allen Kessler and Chris Reslock.

The busy traffic was apparent as the bad-beat jackpot set a Borgata record shortly after the BPO. The $614,619 pot was rewarded to a $2-$5 NLHE table among eight players. William Varley of Jackson, N.J., took home $245,845 with a nine-high straight flush. The Borgata Fall Open will be Nov. 12-27.

In other Borgata news, it was the first room to be granted an online gaming license in New Jersey.

POKERSTARS: Atlantic City is anticipating its inaugural launch date for online poker. The tentative date is set for Nov 26. PokerStars, the world’s top competitor in online poker, has begun a blueprint for a $10M poker room at Resorts Casino Hotel.

Depending on the final scheduled launch date approved by the State Division of Gaming Enforcement, the gaming company has set a cascade of events to quicken the legal process. Not only will this be a revolutionary change for online poker players in the U.S., but for many N.J. residents seeking jobs. Construction on the new room will begin once PokerStars gets its license approved.

GOLDEN NUGGET: The poker room closed Oct. 10.

— Jo Kim is Ante Up’s Atlantic City/Philadelphia Ambassador You can email her at anteupjokim@gmail.com.