Just before the Thanksgiving weekend started, Travis Hartshorn served himself a pile of money by winning the $2,700 Borgata Fall Poker Open Championship for $302,978. Hartshorn defeated a field of 489 entries in the event, which ended Wednesday night after a heads-up battle with David Johnston that lasted about six hours.
The cash is worth nearly double Johnston's previous live poker tournament earnings of about $160,000.
Official Final Table Results
The event carried a $1 million guarantee and managed to surpass that total with a prize pool of $1,222,500. With 489 entries, there would be 45 places paid out. Among those making their way to the money but falling short of the final table were Allen Kessler, Matt Stout, Christian Harder, Paul Volpe, Mike Wang, Tom Cannuli, Tyler Patterson, Mark Herm, Jack Duong and David Vamplew.
The latter lost a huge pot and was the first player out on the last day of the tournament, finishing 11th. He held aces in a three-bet pot with Hartshorn, according to the live updates. Unfortunately for Vamplew, Hartshorn flopped a set of fives and they got stacks in on the turn with Vamplew needing a two-outer on the river that he didn't find.
Hartshorn was already the chip leader and that pot gave him an even larger lead over his remaining opponents. However, he went on a slide after that and briefly lost his chip lead when David Johnston doubled through him with king-queen against queen-ten after they saw a flop four-handed.
After Valerie Novak and Roger Dickerman went bust to leave seven players, Johnston picked up aces on the button at 25,000/50,000/5,000 blinds. He raised to 125,000, Hartshorn made it 400,000 and Daniel Fischer jammed for almost 1.6 million. He had ace-queen and couldn't find enough improvement after flopping a queen, which moved Johnston farther in front.
After dinner, Chris O'Hara, who came back with about 20 big blinds, shoved from the cutoff with and hit the rail when David Butkus woke up with nines in the big blind. Former World Series of Poker Europe champ Elio Fox followed him out the door when his ace-four jam ran smack into Hartshorn's ace-king.
Butkus then called a raise out of the small blind and check-called bets from Hartshorn on the flop and turn to a final board of . Butkus tried firing a river bluff holding what he announced was a pair of tens, but Hartshorn had the good with king-jack for a straight and took control of about half of the chips. Butkus couldn't recover and busted in a flip. A short-stacked Gloria Jackson followed in third.
That left Johnston and Hartshorn, with the latter at a 2-1 advantage against the New Jersey native. It ended up being a battle of more than five hours. Hartshorn had Johnston hammered down a number of times, but Johnston managed to double each time, such as when his kings held on a flop against .
Johnston was able to pull even, but his efforts were washed away when he lost a big pot with ace-queen against ace-king after an ace-high board hit the felt. That left him with about 20 big blinds, and he ended up getting all in with a bit after that, needing improvement against pocket eights. The flop, turn and river all missed Johnston, who was nonetheless on a nice heater and banked nearly $175,000 less than a month after taking fourth in thePokerStars Festival New Jersey Main Event for $15,215.
Image courtesy of Borgata Poker