Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Event 20 Recap

$270 + $30 + $100 Black Chip Bounty NLH

They came from as far away as Hawaii, California, Minnesota, and Florida to play in the tournament, but the winner only needed to take a short elevator ride from his Borgata hotel room to win Event 20 of the Borgata Fall Poker Open.

Jimmy Bergen (Eldersburg, MD) outlasted the 223 player field thanks to a pivotal river card while playing 4-handed that clinched the title and the $16,353 first prize.

"I didn't even know there was tournament until 10 minutes before it started," said Bergen, who was still in town after he busted from the Championship Event. "We were going to get up and leave when he (friend Ari Eiblum) said this was today."

Bergen was the chip leader on the key hand when he called the all in bet of Ron Vitello (Cherry Hill, NJ) who was the second biggest stack. Bergen's pocket 5s was dominated by pocket 7s, but he hit a straight on the river to take a commanding chip lead and the title.

"That was the whole tournament right there," said Bergen, who cashed in this year's WSOP Main Event. He finished ahead of Tyler Chen (Piscataway, NJ) 2nd/$9,637, Nissam Benjamin (Brooklyn, NY) 3rd/$5,548, and Vitello 4th/$4,497.

For Vitello, a WSOP circuit ring winner, it was a disappointing finish after he had 500k in chips on the money bubble, 1/5 of the chips in play. He carried the big stack to the final table, but Vitello's fate was sealed when the 8♠ hit the river to end his day.

The geographically diverse field featured many players who made the money including Ronald Spain (Plymouth, MN) 27th and Kevin Sullivan (Los Angeles, CA) 26th, who both earned $526. While Bundhit Intachai (Waipahu, HI) 20th and Timothy Bryan (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) 18th both took home $584.

The entries also included two players who were eliminated from Day 2 of the Championship Event and quickly entered the tournament, but neither Ari Engel nor Mike Melkersen cashed.

Other successful Borgata regulars who contributed to the $60,210 total buy-in, but didn't cash, included Event 14 winner Johannsy Joseph, Dave Inselberg, Ryan Eriquezzo, Adam Lippert, Matt Mazzeo, Mike Summers, Patti Barsanti-Chou and Howard Wolper.

The rest of the final table included Lawrence Payden (Chester Springs, PA) 5th/$3,504, Alan Haddy (Oakland, NJ) 6th/$2,920, Alfred Benecke (Brooklyn, NY) 7th/$2,336, Vick Harris (Forest Hills, NY) 8th/$1,752, Wayne Wolff (Middlesex, NJ) 9th/$1,168, and Ilya Vasserman (Huntingdon, NY) 10th/759.

Alli Schultz (Upper Saddle River, NJ) was the last woman standing and finished 14th ($642).

But she and the rest of the field couldn't overcome Bergen who was an ace magnet.

"I got a lot of good cards, especially at the final table," he said. "I must have had an ace at least 50 times. They (Chen & Benjamin) were laughing and asked if I had an ace and I showed it every time.

"I played good cards, used my position and didn't get sucked on too many times," said Bergen, who also took home the coveted Borgata trophy.

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