The Borgata in Atlantic City claimed fourth place in World Poker Tour’s all-time-most-entries list after its 2017 WPT Winter Open series on Jan. 17-25.The $2M guarantee opening event ($560) drew an astounding 5,512 entrants, totaling $2.756M for the final prize pool. With seven players left standing, the table agreed to a chop for six figures each, ranging from $216,155 to $153,832.Aristoteles Neto took home top pay and the trophy as chipleader, followed by Rob Nguyen for $205,048 and Ralph Macri for $204,773.
Moe Farah, one of Philadelphia’s most recognized tournament pros, came in sixth in the opener for $171,244, marking his 91st tournament cash and his biggest live earning.Farah also has made a name in New Jersey’s online gaming sites, being the sole player to win two $50K majors on the same day.Farah completed the series with a 20th-place finish for $18,605 in the $3M main event, which drew a record-breaking 1,312 entrants.
“Once we got down to two tables in the opener, most of the more experienced players were eliminated, leaving everyone else playing a much tighter game,” Farah said. “I tried to take advantage of that by constantly applying pressure, winning a bunch of small pots.The main event, however, was a completely different story.I was stuck playing with some of the best players in the world.”
Surprisingly enough, the championship final table had only one player, Daniel Weinman, with a career live earnings of $1M-plus. Weinman, a mixed-game cash player of eight years, dominated the final table on his 29th birthday.After an amazing Day 4 of running extremely well, Weinman took home the trophy and $892,433.
CSOP: Charity Series of Poker gathered 111 players for the $220 event in hopes of raising funds for Support the Kid, a non-profit volunteering organization for children with cancer.Matt Stout, founder of CSOP, won the event after going heads-up with T.J. Shulman, claiming his first Borgata trophy.
“Since Borgata has been my home casino for around a decade, the fact that I didn’t have a BPO trophy before this event was downright embarrassing,” said Stout, who felt shy about winning the event he founded. “I’m just glad the families of children with cancer will be receiving more than four times the amount I won.” The event raised $12K-plus.
The next CSOP will be in July at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.
SUGARHOUSE: Poker Night in America is scheduled to make its third appearance at the Philadelphia property this month.There will be a heads-up session on March 19 between Mike Dentale and Cate Hall, which was provoked by a recent Twitter war, as well as full-ring session packed with high-profile cash players from around the world.SugarHouse will host a tournament series throughout the month.
“The SugarHouse PNIA on the weekend of March 17 is going to be great.” PNIA’s Matt Glantz said.“We have a handful of big-name pros attending the event: Phil Hellmuth, Doug Polk, Shaun Deeb, Olivier Busquet, as well as myself.(It) will be live-streamed on twitch.tv/pokernighttvand then produced for TV at a later date. It should be an epic event.”
Michael Camacho beat Daniel Heyman to win the $250 Winter Poker Meltdown at Turning Stone for $22,456. It was the first victory. Heyman got $17K for second. Lue Huang, who was third, pocketed $9,923, while Veerab Zakarian earned $6,899 for fourth. With 507 entrants, the prize pool was $106,470.
Scott Miller, from nearby Syracuse, received $5,164 for fifth.
Alan Findlay of Scotland won the $200 deepstack turbo bounty in a chop for $1,651. He once won the $300 event of the Fall Poker Classic 16 at Seneca Niagara and has seven victories since 2013.Michael Baldwin was second at Turning Stone ($1,650). The prize pool for the deepstack turbo was $4,650. Up next is the March Mania Hold’em Series.
FOXWOODS CASINO RESORT: Running March 18-April 3, the Foxwoods Poker Classic guarantees $1.5M. The series features 20 events, including the $2,200 championship, which has a $400K guarantee.Event 1 is a $600 tourney with re-entries and a whopping $500K guarantee. The series closes with Event 20, a $300 big stack with re-entries on April 3. The guarantee is $25K.For more, go to foxwoods.com or see the ad in our March issue.
In other tourney news, Peter Sennon and Rami Jradeh earned $14,070 apiece in the $400 MLK Holiday Special, though Sennon was credited with the win. David Grandieri was third ($11K).
Overall, there were 241 participants, bringing the prize pool to $81,118.
MGM NATIONAL HARBOR: The new property in Maryland has started tournaments on Monday and Wednesday mornings. The no-limit hold’em events begin at 11 and cost $120 for a 20K starting stack.
MARYLAND LIVE: Please see the ad on the back cover of our current issue for the $1M Madness high-hand giveaways all month.
DOVER DOWNS HOTEL AND CASINO: The poker room continues to host its popular Getaway Weekend, running March 17-19.
On March 17, there’s a $20K guarantee at 11:15 a.m. for $215, 25-minute blinds and a 30K starting stack. At 7:15 p.m., there’s a $1,500 guarantee for $35, 20-minute blinds and a 30K stack. March 18 is a $40K guarantee at 11:15 a.m. for $275, 30-minute blinds and 30K stack. At 7:15 p.m. is $1,500 guarantee for $35, 15-minute blinds and 30K chips. On March 19 at 11:15 a.m. is a $10K guarantee for $115.
VIRGINIA PASSES BILL: Virginia passed Senate Bill 1400, which classifies poker as a game of skill. The bill also establishes a regulatory framework for legal tournaments. The bill passed out of a recent key senate committee and then progressed to consideration on the senate floor, where it was read without objection. It has moved to the House of Delegates.
CHARITY POKER: The Montclair Lions’ 12th annual Interested Classic charity tournament will be March 18 at noon. Donations are $60 per seat. There’s a $5K guarantee, though the 2016 payout exceeded $11,500. The event will be at 3800 Graham Park Road in Dumfries, Va. For more info, contact Dave Marr at 703-670-8590 or Jim Cech at 703-680-2363.
Meet Jason Koon
Pro Jason Koon, 31, recently won the PokerStars Championship’s first $100K Super High Roller, beating more than 40 players for $1.65M, so Ante Up felt it was time you met him.
He’s from Weston, W.Va, and has been playing live poker since 2008.
Where does this PokerStars win rank for you? This could be the best. … I’ve won the $50Ks and the $25Ks before, but I’ve never closed out a $100K. And this is the $100K, you know?
How has your game grown recently? This is not going to make some people happy, but I don’t believe to be the best player in the world you can be a purely-feel player. I’m not saying there isn’t a live element, and it still exists, and you need to be great at live reads and tells and things like that. But your fundamentals have to be precise if you want to win at the highest stakes. It helps from an execution standpoint and it also helps from an ego standpoint, because I execute the strategy that I think is best. I don’t get caught up in these leveling wars and ego-fests. If I make a play and I bust, if I thought I was the right play, I don’t feel so bad about it.
Do you still have goals? I do have a lot of goals, mainly just personal goals: understanding myself better, getting better at the game. I think there’s a finite amount of time and the window is closing on making a good living at no-limit and I’d like to ride that out because I love the game. And I’d like to retire thinking that I put the most into it and that I ended up being one of the best players. Just working on my skills at the game, trying to stay humble, trying to stay hungry. — News wires