The World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Poker Open Championship is just two days away, and for the first time ever PokerNews will be providing live coverage of the tournament straight from the luxurious Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City.
The flagship event on the Borgata Winter Poker Open schedule will run from Jan. 26-31. The tournament features a buy-in of $3,500 with two starting flights and a $3 million guaranteed prize pool. Re-entry will be available on Day 1a for those who are eliminated before Level 6, and players eliminated on Day 1a may also re-enter on Day 1b.
For those on the fence about putting up $3,500 to play, there's still plenty of time to qualify through a satellite tournament. Borgata is hosting several live qualifiers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, offering players a chance to win a seat to the WPT event for a fraction of the buy-in.
Here's a look at the qualifier schedule this weekend:
|Jan. 24||7 p.m.||NLHE Championship Qualifier (Re-entry)||$350 + $50 (1 in 10 get a seat)|
|Jan. 25||3 p.m.||NLHE Championship Qualifier||$700+50 (1 in 5 get a seat)|
|Jan. 25||7 p.m.||NLHE Championship Qualifier (Re-entry)||$350+$50 (1 in 10 get a seat)|
|Jan. 26||12 p.m.||NLHE Championship Qualifier (Re-entry)||$350+$50 (1 in 10 get a seat)|
|Jan. 26||3 p.m.||NLHE Championship Qualifier||$700+50 (1 in 5 get a seat)|
|Jan. 26||7 p.m.||NLHE Championship Qualifier (Re-entry)||$500+50 (1 in 7 get a seat)|
Looking back at the history of the event, the first WPT stop at the Borgata took place in Season 2 from Sept. 20-22, 2003, a few short months after Chris Moneymaker ignited the poker boom by winning the World Series of Poker Main Event. The 2003 WPT Borgata Poker Open had a $5,000 price tag and attracted 235 players, creating a prize pool of $1,175,000. The final table included former world champion Carlos Mortensen and fellow poker pro David Oppenheim, but in the end it was Noli Francisco who emerged victorious, making Borgata history in the process.
Since then, the WPT has visited the Borgata at least once every year. After the Borgata Poker Open buy-in was changed to $10,000 in Season 3, the WPT visited the venue twice in Season 4 with the addition of the Borgata Winter Poker Open. Michael Mizrachi won his second WPT title in that event, and it was subsequently won by big names like John Hennigan (Season 5) and Gavin Griffin (Season 6) before being removed from the schedule for five years.
A major change to the WPT Borgata Poker Open was made in Season 8. The buy-in was dropped to $3,500 and the tournament was changed to a multi-entry format. The number of entrants skyrocketed to 1,018 — the largest in WPT history — and well-known pro Olivier Busquet went on to claim victory and the top prize of $925,000.
The event grew even more in Season 9. Dwyte Pilgrim bested a field of 1,042 in dramatic fashion, winning his first major tournament in his own backyard. The largest WPT Borgata event ever took place the following year when 1,313 entrants took to the felt. Bobby Oboodi was the last man standing, collecting $922,441 and the honor of winning the biggest WPT Borgata event ever — a record that still stands today.
The WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open returned last year after the five-year hiatus, and Andy Hwang took down the championship event for $730,053. Hwang outlasted a field of 1,042 including a final table that featured eventual WPT Player of the Year Matt Salsberg (sixth place).
Here's a look at the results from each of the World Poker Tour events held at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa:
|Season 2||Borgata Poker Open||$5,000||235||Noli Francisco||$470,000|
|Season 3||Borgata Poker Open||$10,000||302||Daniel Negreanu||$1,117,400|
|Season 4||Borgata Poker Open||$10,000||515||Al Ardebili||$1,498,650|
|Season 4||Borgata Winter Poker Open||$10,000||381||Michael Mizrachi||$1,173,373|
|Season 5||Borgata Poker Open||$10,000||540||Mark Newhouse||$1,519,020|
|Season 5||Borgata Winter Poker Open||$10,000||571||John Hennigan||$1,606,223|
|Season 6||Borgata Poker Open||$10,000||560||Roy Winston||$1,575,280|
|Season 6||Borgata Winter Open||$10,000||507||Gavin Griffin||$1,401,109|
|Season 7||Borgata Poker Open||$10,000||516||Vivek Rajkumar||$1,424,500|
|Season 8||Borgata Poker Open||$3,500||1,018||Olivier Busquet||$925,514|
|Season 9||Borgata Poker Open||$3,500||1,042||Dwyte Pilgrim||$733,802|
|Season 10||Borgata Poker Open||$3,500||1,313||Bobby Oboodi||$922,441|
|Season 11||Borgata Poker Open||$3,500||1,181||Ben Hamnett||$818,847|
|Season 11||Borgata Winter Poker Open||$3,500||1,042||Andy Hwang||$730,053|
|Season 12||Borgata Poker Open||$3,500||1,189||Anthony Zinno||$825,099|
|Season 12||Borgata Winter Poker Open||$3,500||???||???||???|
Our coverage of the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Championship event kicks off on Jan. 26, so be sure to tune in for all of the live updates! And if you're participating in the tournament, don't forget that you can update your chip stack whenever you want using the PokerNews My Stack App.
For a full schedule and more information about the venue, visit theborgata.com.