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Steve Saraf Wins 2013 Borgata Spring Poker Open Opening Event for $153,083

Borgata Poker Room

The Borgata Spring Poker Open began earlier this week at the Borgata Hotel Casino in Atlantic City. The series, which kicked off on Tuesday with the $560 Deep Stack event, will run through Friday, April 19. Fifty-four events are on the schedule with buy-ins as low as $200 for a $75,000 guarantee and up to $2,700 for the $1 million guaranteed championship.

Event No. 1, the $500+$60 buy-in Deep Stack No-Limit Hold'em event got off to one of its biggest starts ever, attracting 1,631 entries for a $815,000 prize pool and exceeding the advertised guarantee of $500,000. Last year’s event drew 1,041 players and a total prize pool of $520,500. With nearly 600 players more at this year’s opening event, the competition proved tough.

In the end, Steve Saraf, rallied to take the first Spring Poker Open title and the first-place cash prize after beating Gregory Fishberg heads up for the win.

Final Table Results

1Steve Saraf$153,083
2Gregory Fishberg$96,167
3Leonardo Palermo$60,094
4Artur Dujak$50,650
5Brian McKane$41,999
6Joseph Opie$33,757
7Mark Reynolds$26,299
8Justin Liberto$19,233
9Claire Chiang$13,738
10Mitchell Martin$9,028

It wasn’t an easy road for Saraf who started the final table with the smallest stack of 1.5 million in chips, nearly 11-1 behind chip leader Joseph Opie. After winning a few small pots, Saraf began to build momentum after eliminating Mitchell Martin in 10th place when his pocket queens held up against pocket eights.

Soon after, it was Claire Chiang who was next to go leaving with nearly $14,000 for ninth place followed by Justin Liberto taking over $19,000 for eighth place.

Players started dropping once the chip average fell to just over 20 big blinds. Mark Reynolds couldn’t hold his stack after losing a three-way all-in pot between himself, Opie and Saraf. On a flop of {10-}{Q-}{K-}, Reynolds was all-in with {Q-}{J-}, along with Opie who held {A-}{K-} and Saraf with pocket jacks. The turn showed another king, then a blank on the river gave Opie the pot and left Reynolds with less than one big blind. He was out on the next hand.

Opie, who began as the big stack, eventually found himself extremely short-stacked and was forced to shove his final chips into the middle with {Q-}{10-}. He was called by Artus Dujak who had {K-}{10-}. Opie’s hand couldn’t win, and he was sent home in sixth place for $33,757.

Brian McKane was eliminated in fifth after he saw his {A-}{4-} get four-flushed on the river against Dukaj. Then Dukaj was sent packing after busting in fourth place for $50,650, leaving only three players to battle for the title. A couple of minutes later, Leonardo Palermo headed to the payout desk in third place to collect $60,094.

Saraf had a roller coaster final table after starting the day as the shortest stack. Throughout the final table, he managed to push himself to the chip lead along with spending time everywhere in between. He started the heads-up match against Fishberg as chip leader and managed to keep his lead throughout the match. In the end, it was Saraf taking the first-place prize worth $153,083. Fishberg took second for just over $96,000.

The Borgata Spring Poker Open will run through Friday, April 19, and PokerNews will have various recaps of the larger, more prestigious events. The $1 million guaranteed championship event will begin April 14 and will see a winner into Day 4 on April 18.  

To see the schedule of events and updates, check out the Borgata Spring Poker Open blog.

Data courtesy of the Borgata Spring Poker Open blog. Photo courtesy of

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