Thursday, November 24, 2011

Championship Event Recap


Andrew Badecker 2011 Borgata Fall Poker Open Champion

The inaugural Borgata Fall Poker Open Championship's high caliber field was highlighted with three WSOP bracelet holders at the final table. In the end, it's young pro Andrew Badecker (Vernon, CT), who won the event and the $388,657 first prize.

Badecker outlasted bracelet winners Freddy Rouhani and Cliff "JohnnyBax" Josephy and the rest of the 670 total entries to take home the coveted Borgata trophy early Thanksgiving morning.

"Borgata is hands down my most run good casino," said the 24 year old, who won a title in the September 2010 Borgata Poker Open, "I've never had a losing trip here."

Badecker defeated Tony Nguyen (McLean, VA) heads up as he started with a 2 to 1 chip lead and never let the rookie poker player double-up. Badecker eliminated Nguyen with king high holding K♠ 2.

"This is my first year playing," said the engineer, who earned $218,531 for his three days of work. "I'm really happy coming in second considering I was short stacked all the way to the final table."

Outside of Rouhani (Brigantine, NJ) 7th/$59,084 and Cliff Josephy (Muttontown, NY) 6th/$73,653, Badecker's biggest final table threat was Ari Albilia (Syosset, NY) who had the chip lead most of the way. But Alibilia went out 3rd/$137,594 after he was crippled by Nguyen's full house before being eliminated by Badecker.

Day 3 began with 63 players fighting for their piece of the $1,675,000 total buy-in, as everyone was in the money. The eliminations were at a steady clip until the final 10 grinded towards the serious turkey.

After Joe Wertz (Mountoursville, PA) finished 10th/$21,044, there were three knock outs on three consecutive hands that started with Tom Maguire (Florham Park, NJ) in 9th/$30,756, followed by Mike Linster (Island Park, NY) 8th/$44,516, and Rouhani.

Play grinded to a halt after Mike Devinksy (Middletown, NJ) was eliminated in 5th/$89,031, as 4-handed play lasted two hours before Peter Park (Jersey City, NJ) busted 4th/$111,694.

Badecker's elimination of Park gave him more than half the chips in play as he controlled the tournament the rest of the way.

The event kicked off Sunday and, after two starting days, the entries totaled 670 and featured lots of recognizable names. WPT title holders Will "the Thrill" Failla, Cornel Cimpan, and Kevin Saul were joined by WPT Season IX Player of the year Andy Frankenberger, but none of them made the money.

Notables who cashed included 2010 Borgata Spring Open Champion Alex Queen 32nd/$7,932, 2010 Borgata Summer Open Champion Billy O'Neil, "Action" Bob Hwang 15th/$15,378, Dave Zeitlin 14th/15,378, and Victor Ramdin 48th/$6,313.

Ramdin, who added to his $3.5 million in career earnings, was impressed with the quality of the field and the turnout.

"East Coast poker showed an impressive display," said Ramdin, who held the chip lead part of Day 2. "This many people willing to play right before Thanksgiving shows we love our poker."

And the most dedicated player was Badecker who, after collecting the biggest payday of his career, got a ride for the five hour trip home to celebrate the holiday.

"It's not too often you get the whole family together at one time," he said. "I'm probably going to be a little late, but I think it will be okay as long as a bring the trophy."

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