Guo Liang Chen Battles from Short Stack, Wins 2017 WPT Borgata Poker Open

 Guo Liang Chen Battles from Short Stack, Wins 2017 WPT Borgata Poker Open

Coming from the second lowest stack to start the final table, Guo Liang Chen battled through a difficult final table to capture his largest tournament score of his career, the championship of the 2017 World Poker Tour Borgata Poker Open.

Chen had his work cut out for him from the start of action on Friday afternoon. The only player who had fewer chips than he did was arguably the most accomplished player left, 2016 “November Niner” Cliff Josephy, and the players ahead of Chen were no slouches either. Leading the way was Matt Parry, sitting on 9.11 million in chips, while Gregory Weber (6.99 million), Thomas Paul (6.1 million) and Jia Liu (4.81 million) rounded out the final table.

It would take some time for the players to find their footing as they played through the first 49 hands with little fanfare. That changed with the departure of the first player, however. After giving up a sizeable stack of his chips in doubling up Chen, Paul was the new short stack. On Hand 50, he and Chen would clash again on a 7-4-2 flop, with Paul check-calling an all-in from Chen. Paul had caught with his Q-7 for top pair, but Chen had a wealth of outs with his Big Slick. Although the paint on the turn was a Jack, the river paint came through for Chen with the King. With that river card, Chen was able to knock out Paul in sixth place and take over the chip lead.

That lead would be short lived. Weber was active on the final table and, only six hands after Paul was eliminated, Weber would add to the rail. In a ‘blind versus blind’ battle, Weber moved all in and Josephy made his final stand. His A-3 was in the lead pre-flop against Weber’s O-J off suit, but a Jack on the flop changed the situation. Another Jack on the turn left Josephy drawing dead and, after the formality of the river was dealt, Josephy was on the rail in fifth place.

Down to four players, Weber and Chen were at the top but Parry wasn’t ready to relinquish his claim to the title just yet. He doubled through Chen to get back into the mix, but it wasn’t enough to get him any further on the leaderboard. On his final hand, Parry popped up the betting to 450K off the button and Weber three-bet the action to 1.2 million. Parry moved all in and Weber immediately made the call, showing an A-K to dominate Parry’s A-Q. A King in the window all but sealed the hand and, after no Queen came on the turn, Parry was drawing dead and out of the tournament in fourth place.

Now holding almost half of the chips in play, it looked as though it was Weber’s tournament to win. But both Chen and Liu still had their hopes for winning the title. The trio would battle it out for more than 50 hands until Liu and Chen clashed. After Liu moved all in off the button, Chen got a count of his stack and made the call. It turned out to be the right decision as Chen’s K-Q had Liu’s Q-J dominated. After the nine-high board ran out, Chen’s cards reigned supreme as Liu headed to the cage in third place.

Chen had fought through everyone at the final table save Weber, which would prove to be his greatest challenge. Weber’s 21.425 million stack was in the lead at the start of heads up against Chen’s 12.45 million and he even held the edge with the “time chips” (the 30-second chips that gave the players another bit of time beyond the 30 seconds to make a decision), one to zero. With the deck stacked against him, Chen’s chances were slim and none and slim was looking for the door. Chen refused to give up, however, as the battle raged into the Jersey night.

Over the span of 20 hands, Chen gradually worked the chip stacks closer and, on Hand 170, he doubled up through Weber to take over the lead. Chen kept the pressure on and would never let Weber back into the match. On Hand 182, Weber would move all in and, after a brief pause (the only one he had with a 30 second clock), Chen went with a call. The pause was curious as Chen’s Big Slick was dominating the K-9 of Weber and was still in that position after the board ran out 7-5-4-3-Q to give him the title.

1. Guo Liang Chen, $ 789,058
2. Gregory Weber, $ 471,059
3. Jia Liu, $ 288,071
4. Matt Parry, $ 240,965
5. Cliff Josephy, $ 199,294
6. Thomas Paul, $ 161,247

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2017 WPT Borgata Poker Open Day 4: Matt Parry Takes Over Lead at Final Table, Cliff Josephy on Short Stack

 2017 WPT Borgata Poker Open Day 4: Matt Parry Takes Over Lead at Final Table, Cliff Josephy on Short Stack

The penultimate day of the latest World Poker Tour event is at hand as the final table has been determined for the 2017 WPT Borgata Poker Open in Atlantic City, NJ. Coming to the six-handed table, Matt Parry has taken a sizeable lead as Day 3 chip leader and Jersey native Cliff Josephy hangs on by the short stack.

24 men came back to the tables on Thursday with the goal of being one of the final six at the end of the night. Josephy was the only player who was over the four million mark in chips (4.079 million, to be exact), but that didn’t mean there weren’t challenges awaiting him. Parry (3.398 million), Day 2 chip leader David Gerassi (3.354 million), Gregory Weber (2.651 million) and Will Givens (2.426 million) rounded out the Top Five as the cards went into the air on Friday.

Although the 24 men were guaranteed $ 16,306 for their efforts, every man was staring at the $ 789,058 (not to mention the seat at the WPT Tournament of Champions and their name being etched into the Champions’ Cup) that the eventual champion would receive. As such, the early play was tentative as players guarded their chips. Poker pro Erik Cajelais was one of the early casualties, however, with the Canadian running a suited A-7 into Veselin Katrandzhiev’s K-Q off suit and getting unlucky when a King hit on the turn.

The start to Josephy’s Day 4 was good as he extended his lead over the field. After opening the betting off the hijack, Alexander Farin popped his remaining 400K or so in chips into the center from the button. Josephy paused briefly before making the call and finding himself leading, his A-10 routing Farin’s A-6. A ten on the flop extended Josephy’s lead and, although the turn would bring a gut shot draw for Farin, the river paired to keep the former “November Niner” in front to take the hand to move up to almost five million chips and the knockout of Farin.

It wasn’t the same story for another former chip leader, Gerassi. On a Q 3 3 2 flop and turn, Gerassi put the pressure on Gregory Weber by moving all in. Gerassi covered Weber and Weber took his time to make the call, burning through four of his six “time extension” chips before finally making the call. It turned out to be the correct move as Weber’s J J had Gerassi’s J♣ 9 drawing dead. A river 5 would momentarily elate Gerassi until he realized that Weber’s diamond Jack beat his diamond nine, sending the nearly six million chip pot and the chip lead to Weber; Gerassi was left with scraps with 387K and soon after hit the rail in 21st place.

Weber and Josephy ruled the roost when the redraw came at two tables (along with Parry, who eliminated Jason Gooch in 17th place to reach five million in chips), but the threesome would unfortunately end up on the same table against each other. You might think that they would have stayed away from each other but, on the eight handed tables, it was inevitable that there would be conflicts. Parry was the one who took advantage of these squabbles, first cutting some chips out Weber and they rivering a seven-high straight against Josephy to pick up another chunk of chips to take over the lead. What wasn’t happening were eliminations, however, as it took more than five hours (including a dinner break) to get down to the unofficial final table.

Parry was dominant at this point, holding 7.075 million in chips and only Weber within shouting distance with his 5.6 million in chips. Josephy struggled through the time leading to dinner, dropping down into the pursuit pack as the players tried to determine who would be the six men who would come back on Friday for action.

Once again it was Parry who would take advantage of the action. He quietly kept accumulating chips before he brought the evening’s festivities to a close with its last elimination. On the 49th hand of the unofficial final table, Parry would raise the betting and Muarem Kica moved all in over his bet. The call for Parry was a pittance of his sizeable stack and it was the correct one, his A-K holding the edge over Kica’s 7-6. The King on the flop basically ended the proceedings and, once a four fell on the turn, Kica was drawing dead. The formality of the river tossed salt on the wound as a seven came, but Kica was already on his way to the cage for his seventh-place money as Parry took a sizeable lead:

1. Matt Parry, 9.11 million
2. Gregory Weber, 6.99 million
3. Thomas Paul, 6.1 million
4. Jia Liu, 4.81 million
5. Guo Liang Chen, 3.85 million
6. Cliff Josephy, 2.95 million

Today’s final table from the Borgata will be taped for future broadcast on the Season XVI schedule of the WPT on Fox Sports 1. It will also be live streamed on PokerGO (with a 30-minute delay) beginning at 3:30PM (Eastern Time) for those who have a subscription to the site. It promises to be an exciting table as Josephy has the “hometown edge”…whether that will carry him to the title – or whether Parry’s dominance will continue – are going to be the highlights of the evening’s action.

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Steffen Sontheimer Claims Main Event, Overall Championship of 2017 Poker Masters

 Steffen Sontheimer Claims Main Event, Overall Championship of 2017 Poker Masters

Capping a week of potentially his best poker ever, Germany’s Steffen Sontheimer picked up his second victory of the 2017 Poker Masters, the $ 100,000 Main Event, and easily claimed the overall “Player of the Series” championship and the Purple Jacket that goes along with the title.

Three days of play saw the 36 entries whittled down to the final six, the only men (and the entirety of the Poker Masters was a sausage fest – no ladies took part in the series of tournaments) who would receive a payday from the $ 3.6 million prize pool. At the start of action on Wednesday it was another German, Fedor Holz, who led the final table with his 1.471 million in chips. Three more German players, Christian Christner (1.367 million), Sontheimer (1.354 million) and Stefan Schillhabel (1.218 million) provided a German wall against two States of America players, Justin Bonomo (1.05 million) and Seth Davies (740,000), who had their work cut out for them in breaking through the German blockade.

Essentially Sontheimer had the Purple Jacket sewn up from the start as any of the other five men needed to win the Main Event to knock him from his perch AND needed Sontheimer to finish down the table to slip past him. But there was still a great deal of money to divvy up, hence the early action was quite placid as the participants jousted amongst each other for position. How placid? It was almost five HOURS before the first elimination would take place.

On Hand 93, Schillhabel moved all in over the top of a Bonomo bet and Bonomo was up to the challenge. Schillhabel was ahead at the start with his A-3 over Bonomo’s K-Q off suit and his lead improved when a trey came on the flop. Schillhabel dodged paint on the turn but, when a K♣ slapped the river, the result completely flipped over to Bonomo and sent Schillhabel to the rail in sixth place.

Even with the Schillhabel chips, Bonomo was still in dire straits with his short stack. On Hand 122, he got his remaining chips to the center in a completely dominated position. Bonomo’s K-10 was in a terrible spot against Sontheimer’s A-10, but it got even worse when Christner joined the part with his Big Slick. Covered on both avenues, an eight-high flop hit nobody, keeping Christner in the lead and sending Bonomo to the rail in fifth place.

After Bonomo’s departure, the pace of play ramped up. Davies would head out the door in fourth place only two hands after Bonomo, taking a tough beat when his A-7 was outrun by Christner’s K-7 when a King appeared on the flop. Christner’s rush continued when, on Hand 126, he knocked off Holz in third place when his pocket sevens stood up against Holz’s Q-J on an intriguing yet uneventful A-10-2-8-5 board.

At this point, Sontheimer captured the overall series championship and the Purple Jacket. With his final challenger in Holz out of the running, Sontheimer would earn enough cash – the criteria for the Poker Masters Player of the Series battle – that Christner could not catch him. The best that Christner could do was finish in second place behind Sontheimer, with the other option being a fourth-place finish should Sontheimer win.

At the start of heads up play, Christner was in a dominating spot with his 4.91 million in chips. Sontheimer, sitting on 2.29 million as the action kicked off, tried to make some inroads in the first few hands, but Christner was able to pick off the Sontheimer bluffs to increase his lead. Sontheimer righted the ship on Hand 133, getting a big double up when his A-8 flopped an Ace and the turn gave him an eight for two pair against Christner’s pocket deuces. Soon after this double up, Sontheimer would seize control of the event.

On the very next hand, Christner tried to keep the pressure on his countryman with a raise to 115K while holding a meager 7 3. Sontheimer called with a connector, 10-9 off suit, and got even stronger on a J-A-8 flop (open-ended straight draw). Sontheimer check-called a bet from Christner and caught gold on the 7♠ turn for the straight. Sontheimer checked, but Christner saw the straight potential and checked behind him. With a second seven on the turn, Sontheimer checked again and Christner felt good about his trips, firing a 320K bet. Finally, Sontheimer sprung to life, check-raising to 1.5 million, which sent Christner into the tank and his time extension buttons. After a moment, Christner made the call and winced when Sontheimer turned up the straight, shifting the chip lead from Christner to Sontheimer.

It would take another 33 hands, but Sontheimer would never let Christner back in the game. On Hand 167, Sontheimer made a raise off the button and Christner moved all in. Sontheimer nearly beat him into the pot, showing pocket Queens, as Christner meekly showed his pocket deuces for battle. The Jack-high board didn’t hit anyone, giving the pot, the Main Event championship, and the Purple Jacket to Sontheimer.

1. Steffen Sontheimer, $ 1,512,000
2. Christian Christner, $ 864,000
3. Fedor Holz, $ 504,000
4. Seth Davies, $ 324,000
5. Justin Bonomo, $ 216,000
6. Stefan Schillhabel, $ 180,000

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2017 WPT Borgata Poker Open Day 3: Money Bubble Pops as Cliff Josephy Takes Over Lead

 2017 WPT Borgata Poker Open Day 3: Money Bubble Pops as Cliff Josephy Takes Over Lead

The World Poker Tour has pulled into the Borgata in Atlantic City for their latest event, the Borgata Poker Open, and it has once again shown to be one of their bigger events of this Season XVI schedule or otherwise. Coming into Wednesday’s action, the 1132 entry field had been whittled down to 117 players; by the end of the Day 3 play, nearly four-fifths of that field were gone with New Jersey native and former “November Niner” Cliff Josephy atop the standings.

The 117 players who came back on Wednesday were looking to claim a piece (a min-cash was worth $ 6812 and a Hendon Mob flag) of the prize pool, but some of those coming back wouldn’t be so happy. With 110 players earning a prize, that meant seven players would exit the Borgata empty-handed. One player who was guaranteed something for his efforts was chip leader David Gerassi, whose 1.322 million stack made sure that, save for a massive collapse, he was going to be around deep into the money.

With the Action Clock on the field (the WPT this year has instituted a 30-second “shot clock” to move play along; the clock is turned on when the tournament reaches one table before the money), the play was quick coming off the starting gun. Jared Jaffee doubled through Walter Taylor in a classic race, pocket Jacks versus A-Q, and plenty of other action was being pushed on the tables. Still, it would take almost 2½ hours for the seven players to get knocked out, with the elimination of Jordan Siegel in 111th place ($ 0) when his flush draw failed to come home against Joseph Giulino’s pocket eights.

Now in the money, the players flooded the cage. ClubWPT qualifier Jim McLaughlin, Jaffee, and Maurice Hawkins found their paydays for their efforts, but Josephy didn’t want to leave the party. After coming into the day in fourth place, Josephy kept his stack climbing as day worked into night. He bumped off Brandon Hall in 64th and John Moore in 63rd place to rocket over the two million chip mark and would ride that stack to the dinner break as the chip leader.

With 51 players coming back from dinner, there was still a great deal of work left to get the field to a reasonable number for Friday’s action. Gerassi remained viable in the tournament, eliminating Ben Zamani in 50th place, but Josephy kept his foot on the gas. Josephy eliminated Ken Aldridge to crack the three million chip mark, but he saved his best for a clash with Gerassi.

On a J-9-9 flop, Gerassi would check-raise a bet from Travis Greenawalt and a Josephy call to 231K. Greenawalt didn’t have any further interest, but Josephy did. After Josephy called, an Ace came on the turn that slowed down Gerassi a bit. He would check, but Josephy wanted to keep playing as he bet 175K. Gerassi’s previous bravado melted away as he shot his cards into the muck while a tricky Josephy showed the table his pocket nines – the flopped quads obviously had Gerassi beaten from the flop at the minimum.

Josephy would ride that stack to the final gun, the only player to bag up more than four million chips at the conclusion of play:

1. Cliff Josephy, 4.079 million
2. Matt Parry, 3.398 million
3. David Gerassi, 3.354 million
4. Gregory Weber, 2.651 million
5. Will Givens, 2.426 million
6. Benjamin Morgan, 1.958 million
7. Richard Bai, 1.364 million
8. Vittorio Faricelli, 1.287 million
9. Johanssy Joseph, 1.233 million
10. Jason Gooch, 1.148 million

With 24 players remaining in the tournament, it is a bit too early to crown anyone the champion yet. Friday’s play will take the 24 players down to the six-handed official WPT final table, which will play out on Saturday. All the remaining players are guaranteed a payday of $ 16,306, but it is the $ 789,058 up top that will be the target for everyone as the WPT looks to crown their latest champion.

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Late Entrant David Gerassi Soars to WPT Borgata Poker Open Day 2 Lead

 Late Entrant David Gerassi Soars to WPT Borgata Poker Open Day 2 Lead

The World Poker Tour (WPT) Borgata Poker Open Main Event is only through Day 2, but there are only 117 players remaining of the original 1,132 entrants. Granted, that’s “entrants” and not “players,” as this is a re-entry event, but hey, that’s still a healthy number of eliminations in a short time frame. Leading the way into Day 3 is David Gerassi with 1.322 million chips, the only player to have eclipsed the million chip mark.

Due to life events, we did not have a Day 1B update for you Tuesday, so screw it, let’s just move on to Day 2. Once late registration closed after Level 10, the entrant total added up to 1,132: 283 from Day 1A, 682 from Day 1B, and 167 from Day 2. 110 people will make the money, so the short stacks are probably not sleeping all that well tonight. First place will receive $ 789,058 and the min-cash is $ 6,812.

Interestingly, David Gerassi was one of those late entrants, paying his $ 3,500 buy-in with just about an hour to spare. He told WPT.com afterward that he caught a bit of luck early to help slingshot him through the field, saying, “It all started on a hand where I had pocket threes, and I shoved…”

He binked a three on the turn against pocket Jacks and that gave him the cushion he needed to forge ahead.

“Believe it or not,” Gerassi said, “the whole day I did not have pocket aces, I did not have pocket kings, and the highest cards I had were pocket queens. Three times I had pocket threes, one time pocket fours, and that’s it! The rest of them was suited connectors or connected cards.”

Though he reveled in his pocket Threes victory, Gerassi really made hay with two huge hands very late in the day. On the first, according to WPT.com, Ken Aldridge raised to 12,000 pre-flop and Gerassi three-bet to 32,000. Shannon Shorr re-raised that to 81,000 and Gerassi moved all-in over 500,000 after Aldridge folded.

Shorr, with a chip stack about 80 percent the size of Gerassi’s all-in, called all-in himself with pocket Kings. He was in wonderful shape against Gerassi’s J-8 of spades; Gerassi must have gotten caught bluffing there. The flop with T-T-9 with no spades, but look at that – Gerassi now had an open-ended straight draw. The turn was a Queen, giving him that straight and Shorr was unable to find the miracle Jack on the river to stay alive. Gerassi jumped into the chip lead, holding 940,000 chips.

Right away, Gerassi got to work again. On a board of K-8♠-7♠-4♠, he bet 200,000 chips and Anthony Newman moved all-in for double that. Gerassi called with K-7, good for two pair. Newman, though, had A♠-9♠ for the nut flush. But guess what happened on the river. Yup. The K♠, giving Gerassi a full house and stunning Newman.

We’ll see if Gerassi can continue his hot streak on Wednesday, as Day 3 begins at noon eastern.

 

2017 World Poker Tour Borgata Poker Open – Day 2 Chip Leaders

1. David Gerassi – 1,322,000
2. Travis Greenawalt – 976,000
3. Allan Rabinovich – 826,500
4. Cliff Josephy – 791,500
5. Andy Spears – 651,000
6. George Cicak – 622,000
7. Neal Gay – 584,500
8. Ronald Sims – 571,000
9. Maurice Hawkins – 570,000
10. Richard Bui – 570,000

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