BPO goes to Maloney in Atlantic City

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The World Poker Tour Borgata Poker Open’s $3,500 championship came to an end in Atlantic City after five days of play and Donald Maloney claimed $487,874 and his first WPT title.

Maloney, a Glendale, Ariz., native and former hockey player, talked about his previous career and future plans.

“I feel like hockey and poker are my two greatest talents,” he said. “I still skate all the time and they are pretty much my two biggest hobbies. I’d like to get back into hockey at some point if I can.”

The final day with six players and when only three remained, they chopped. After the adjusted payouts were determined, the players moved all-in blind for the title.

“The last hand was pretty interesting,” Maloney said. “The guys had decided that they were exhausted and really didn’t want to play anymore. So we decided to do a flip. It went runner-runner straight, so it was definitely meant for me to get the title and I’ll always remember it. … Poker is great and I love playing tournaments; I plan to be back and hope to be back in the winner’s circle.”

More than 2,500 runners entered the $600 deepstack kickoff as Benson Tang and John McGuinness chopped. Tang had a 2-to-1 lead on McGuinness when they got heads-up and an agreement was reached before any cards were dealt.

Tang, a corporate lawyer in New York, took first for $200K, the BPO trophy and his first victory. He was chipleader at the start of Day 3. 

Chicago-area pro Aaron Massey won the Almighty Stack after a three-way chop, taking home $137K and the BPO trophy. There were 2,760 entries, which fell short of the 2,791 last year, but still is a whopping number that beat the $750K guarantee. Patrick Ibrahim pocketed $115,918 for his part of the deal and Yingxin Chen earned $85K.

PARX CASINO: After a four-way chop, pro Victor Ramdin won the Big Stax 300 for $48,777 at the Philadelphia-area property. Joseph Agron took home $45,455, Bin Yeng got $39,493 and Johnny Lau cashed for $36,030. Lau won the trophy after drawing the high card, which was a nine.

New York

RIVERS SCHENECTADY: The Holiday Deepstack series is Nov. 9-11 with three tournaments. Buy-ins are $260-$570. As for results, Ryan Hagerty won the WPT DeepStacks main event. The Somerset, N.J., native took home $70K-plus, bringing his career earnings to $290K-plus.

SENECA NIAGARA: With $370K in guarantees, the Fall Poker Classic kicks off Nov. 8. The eight-tournament series has buy-ins starting at $125. Event 8 is the $1K championship with a $200K guarantee and two starting flights at 11 a.m. (Nov. 15-16). Players start with 30K chips and 40-minute blinds. This three-day event ends Nov. 18.

TURNING STONE RESORT CASINO:  Noon-8 p.m. on Sundays, there will be $250 high hands every hour. Also, $100 will be paid via drawing at the end of each quarter and at the conclusion of the Thursday and Monday night football games.

Maryland

After entering as one of the short stacks at the final table of the WPT event at Live Casino in Maryland, Nitis Udornpim got his name etched onto the WPT Champions Cup and earned $319,415 for his remarkable comeback victory.

Despite some big names at the table, including WPT champs Anthony Zinno and Brian Altman, Udornpim survived, boosted by a huge all-in pot against Altman, which moved him to second with three players left. Two hands later, Udornpim eliminated Altman to get heads-up with Stephen Deutsch.

 “It feels great to be a WPT champion,” Udornpim said. “I couldn’t have run any better today, so I’m pretty excited with the result. It feels good to win a tournament in my home state. I moved here about a year ago and this has been my home casino ever since.

“The final table was super interesting. I was seventh or eighth in chips the whole final table of nine. I actually knocked out the first three people of this final table and still came into the day with just 25 big blinds.”

Udornpim also earned a $15K entry in the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions and it was the biggest cash of his career. His best cash had come in June at a $1,100 MSPT event at the Venetian where he finished seventh for $80,491. In 2018 he won a WSOPC ring in a $365 pot-limit Omaha event for $10,172 at the Horseshoe in Baltimore.

Live Casino is hosting another series through Nov. 7 as the $1,100 main event has a $200K guarantee. 

Connecticut

FOXWOODS RESORT CASINO: Nov. 7 is the next Thrilling Thursday promotion, which awards $1K every 30 minutes (10 a.m.-
8 p.m.) for the high hand in the room. Monday Madness will by Nov. 18 with $500 paid every 20 minutes.

Soukha Kachittavong, Foxwoods’ all-time leader in tournament cashes, is having another great year. He made his mark at his home casino in September with two victories.

After winning the $400 Labor Day Weekend special for $14K, he followed that up by winning the $400 Weekend Mini Series on Sept. 21 for $17K. Rounding out the top four in this tough final table was Michael Guzzardi, Kevin O’Donnell and Luke Vrabel.

MOHEGAN SUN: Thursday hosts a popular $8-$16 HORSE game. Also, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m. feature a $7.5K guarantee for $120 and a 25K stack. Players who register in the first level of any weekly tournament get an extra 5K chips.

Massachusetts

ENCORE BOSTON HARBOR: Saturdays at 11 a.m. is a $30K guarantee for $360. Players get 30K chips and 30-minute blind. The Saturday $20K guarantee at 11 a.m. costs $240.

MGM SPRINGFIELD: The 23-table poker room runs daily high-hand, splash-the-pot and royal-flush jackpots. On Thursdays at 6, the room features a popular $5-$10 game with a $500 minimum buy-in and no max. S

Meet Katie Stone 

A New Jersey pro, Katie Stone learned to play poker in 2005 and started playing full time in 2008.

After turning pro, what has been your poker journey? I was playing mostly live tournaments throughout North America and Europe at the time, but realized the future of poker was online as were all the biggest prize pools and best players. So by the beginning of 2010, I was a playing full time online. After Black Friday happened in 2011, I moved to Mexico for a few years to continue playing online, but was able to move back to my home state of New Jersey at the end of 2013 when online poker became legal there. I play mostly online poker nowadays on BorgataPoker.com, for which I am a sponsored pro, and also play all the good live events up and down the East Coast.

Do you prefer online over live? When I first started playing online, being able to see so many more hands per hour and then being able to review and learn from them later, was what attracted me. I also enjoyed the more flexible schedule as well as variety of games. This still holds true and since online poker is the tougher player pool most of the time, it forces you to keep working on your game and to never be satisfied. However, online poker also allowed me to stay and work from home throughout my pregnancy and two years of nursing. 

Do you ever take a day off from poker? Sure, and this is another reason why I love what I do. Because poker requires you to stay so mentally sharp, you really have to pay attention to your physical well-being and how you prepare and treat your mind and body. I’m a big napper; most days I’ll be at my desk for a few hours in the morning looking at hands from the night before and then I’ll take a 90-minute nap before I start my nightly session. — Jo-Kim 

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