The Borgata Fall Open, which ran Nov. 7-23, saw Darren Elias capture the main event for $293K. The series featured 19 tournaments, including the $2,700 championship that had a $1.18M prize pool and 473 entries.
In 2014, Elias had his biggest cash here, taking first in the World Poker Tour Borgata Championship for $843,744. Borgata being his home casino, Elias finds it extra special to make the final table near his home.
“You will see me at almost all of Borgata’s main events when (for its) seasonal and WPT series. … I generally stick to North America, which are mostly WPT and (World Series) events,” said Elias, who was on his way to Las Vegas for the Bellagio Five Diamond series. “I consider myself a relatively low-volume player in that I only play around 50 live tournaments a year and try to focus on quality over quantity. I believe players can easily get burnt out by playing too many events and I would rather play fewer and be at my best.”
Though his home is in New Jersey, Elias has been playing less online recently as he finds it more enjoyable to play in a live setting. “I dislike the ecosystem of online poker in today’s day and age,” he said. “Perhaps if the U.S. is able to share liquidity and link together a few big-market states, then you may see me on the online felts again.”
Elias will be spending the next few years mainly playing in North America, particularly the PartyPoker live series featuring $5M and $10M guarantees.
CHARITY: Anna Khait won the annual WPT charity event for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia on Nov. 30. The $2,500 (plus $1K add-on) event raised $800K-plus from more than 200 entrants, including pros, celebrities and high-end clienteles. All proceeds went to CHOP, specifically brain-tumor research.
Khait has been a strong advocate of charity events for the past six years despite her busy schedule on Survivor and traveling as a poker pro.
“The CHOP All-In for Kids WPT charity tournament is such an amazing event for raising money toward a life-changing cause,” Khait said. “The WPT does such a wonderful job with this event and I couldn’t be more excited to have won it this year.”
Jonathan Rappaport won the $400 tournament of the Black Friday Weekend Special at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket. The Massachusetts resident earned $13,566. Michael Hashim, who was second, won $12,997. The event had 355 entries, driving the prize pool to $119,489. Overall, 45 players cashed. David Pimentel (third) added $11,730 to his bankroll while Brad Noonan (fourth) earned $10,404 and Robert Holtz was fifth ($10,273).
Up next is the $100K guarantee MLK Holiday Special event Jan. 13-15. Call for details.
SENECA NIAGARA: Chris Damick got by Blake Napierala to win the $200 Fall Classic Warm-up and $18,934. Napierala got $11,685 for second. Matt Marcinkiewicz was third ($7,656).
There were 499 entrants, creating an $80,587 prize pool. Canada’s Alex Avdelopoulos banked $5,319 for fourth, while Karla Bow (fifth) took home $3,949 and James Girdlestone (sixth) collected $3,062.
TURNING STONE: The Winter Poker Meltdown runs Jan. 4-7. The $50K-guarantee main event costs $250. See the ad on this page. Also, at press time, the Verona poker room’s Jumbo Bad Beat Jackpot was approaching $500K.
DEL LAGO RESORT & CASINO: Players and fans can keep track of all poker action via the InTurn Poker app. For more information, go to dellagoresort.com/casino/p oker/.
Spokesman Steven Greenberg downplayed reports the newest upstate casinos, including del Lago and Rivers Casino & Resort, haven’t met financial projections. “They’re new entities,” Greenberg said. “You’ve got to give this some time.”
LIVE CASINO: The Maryland poker room hosts a 16-event tournament series Jan. 4-14 and is highlighted by a $1,100 main event. The three-day main event begins Jan. 12 and boasts a $200K guarantee. Other tournaments include a $360 kickoff event with a $100K guarantee, a $400 black-chip bounty event and a $500 double black-chip bounty tournament. The series has something for everyone with poker variations such as HORSE, pot-limit Omaha, Omaha/8 and stud/8.
Live Casino hosts two Ante Up Restock the Shelves events Jan. 25-26. The events will be Jan. 25 at 7:15 p.m. ($150 double green-chip bounty) and Jan. 26 at 12:15 p.m. ($200 eight-max). For each can of food donated, players receive 1K extra tourney chips (10 cans max).
And finally, see the ad on Page 31 of our latest issue for the January $20K Quad Challenge and the multiple high-hand specials.
DOVER DOWNS HOTEL AND CASINO: Three NLHE tournaments, including one with a $25K guarantee, will run Jan. 26-28. Here’s the schedule: Jan. 26, 11:15 a.m., $10K guarantee, $125 buy-in, 25-minute blinds; Jan. 27, 11:15 a.m., $25K guarantee, $200 buy-in, 30-minute blinds; Jan. 28, 11:15 a.m., $5K guarantee, $65 buy-in, 20-minute blinds.
Meet Gregory “Fish” Fishberg
Most players in the Philadelphia area are drawn to you for the poker action you provide. Do you think you’ve been able to utilize your image for profit in cash sessions or tournaments? Before 2015, I was primarily a cash-game player. From 2005-10, I was a fixture at the Borgata’s $5-$10 NLHE game. Then Harrah’s (Philadelphia) opened, so I played there till Parx opened while running multiple underground poker rooms during that time. I had to shut those down when the casinos opened in (Pennsylvania). During that time, I played less than 10 tournaments a year. In 2015, I started playing tons of events and less and less cash.
I utilize my image in tournaments well. I get paid and stack people off in crazy spots because of my style. However, my cash game suffers now and I’m working hard on being able to adjust back and forth. My cash-game style is night and day now compared to back then. I’m too loose and just all around play worse, but I’m working on that. I prefer tournaments now. I love the idea of putting up a small dollar amount for the opportunity to win a lot.
What turned you on to poker? I’ve been a gambler my entire life. I used to bet sports with a bookie since high school and played in an illegal blackjack place until I could get in casinos. I also played poker with my friends growing up, but not hold’em back then. I played mostly stud games and fun seven-card games with wild cards. Finally, I got sick of losing piles vs. the casino in blackjack, so I tried to take back an edge by playing vs. players and took it more serious.
What’s your biggest loss vs. biggest win? My biggest loss in poker was in pot-limit Omaha when I sat for a session in a huge game ($10-$10-$20-$40). I was playing above my head because at that point I was still learning PLO. I’m much stronger in no-limit, especially in tournaments. My biggest win came from tournaments. I guess the biggest was a little over $100K, but I also have multiple $60K, $70K, $80K and $90K scores. — Jo Kim