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Guo Liang Chen Wins WPT Borgata Poker Open

Guo Liang Chen
  • Borgata regular Guo Liang Chen won the WPT title over a final table that included Cliff Josephy.

Guo Liang Chen became the newest member of the World Poker Tour Champions Club after he conquered a field of 1,132 for a first-place prize of $789,058 at WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship. The Borgata regular raised the trophy on Friday night after a long final table for his biggest cash by orders of magnitude — he previously had $40,000 total.

In the process, Chen denied tournament legend and former November Niner Cliff "JohnnyBax" Josephy his first WPT title, as Josephy fell in fifth after coming into the final table short. It's his strongest finish to date in a WPT Main Event.

Official Final Table Results

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

*includes $15,000 Tournament of Champions seat

Steve Sung, Daniel Strelitz, Maurice Hawkins, WSOP Main Event champ Scott Blumstein, Ben Zamani, Shaun Deeb, Andy Spears and Johanssy Joseph were some of the notable players who made runs into the 110 paid places but fell short of the final table.

After Nick Palma doubled through him once with a three-outer on the river, Chen took another shot at eliminating him by calling a button ship of 12 big blinds with {q-Clubs}{10-Clubs}, according to the live updates. Palma showed up with {a-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds} and bubbled the final table when Chen ran a flush.

Stacks heading in were pretty deep, as only Benjamin Morgan and Will Givens sat below 50 big blinds. Consequently, they were the first two to bust.

Morgan shoved 800,000 with {q-Diamonds}{j-Diamonds} over a Chen open at 30,000/60,000/10,000, and Chen put him at risk with {k-Hearts}{10-Hearts}. Neither player paired up and Morgan missed a flush draw that he flopped to hit the rail. Givens followed when he lost a race with ace-king to Jia Liu's sixes.

Muarem Kica would then bubble the TV final table after losing most of his stack with queens against Thomas Paul's aces.

Matt Parry held the lead as the only player over 100 big blinds with 9.1 million at 40,000/80,000/10,000 when the final table began. Josephy, meanwhile had the shortest stack with about 3 million but found a double just six hands in when he was dealt aces and Paul picked up {a-Hearts}{k-Diamonds}.

Paul handed out another double about 30 hands later when he four-bet shoved for 3.5 million with {q-Clubs}{j-Clubs} at 60,000/120,000/20,000 and got snapped off by Chen, who had {k-Hearts}{k-Clubs} and had three-bet to 860,000. Chen got a sweat as {a-Spades}{8-Diamonds}{2-Clubs}{10-Clubs} hit the board to give Paul a big combo draw, but the {3-Diamonds} was a safe river.

Left short, Paul got his remaining chips in after flopping top pair of sevens in the big blind with {q-Diamonds}{7-Clubs} but Chen outdrew him by pairing his {a-Clubs}{k-Spades} on the river.

After sinking down to about 14 big blinds, Josephy called it off with {a-Diamonds}{3-Hearts} when Gregory Weber shoved from the small blind. Josephy had slightly the best of it against {q-Spades}{j-Spades} but found himself looking at a board of {k-Hearts}{j-Diamonds}{9-Hearts}{j-Hearts} and needing a heart river. The {3-Spades} wasn't enough and Josephy settled for fifth.

Parry's run then ended in fourth. With blinds at 100,000/200,000/25,000, Parry opened button and then shoved 5.2 million when he got three-bet by Weber. Parry's {a-Diamonds}{q-Diamonds} was dominated by {a-Clubs}{k-Spades}, and a king-high flop spelled doom.

It took more than 40 hands of battling for mostly smaller pots before a big development finally happened. Chen had a chance to leap into the lead when he got in a flip with eights against the {a-Clubs}{j-Clubs} of Liu for more than half of the chips. Liu flopped aces up to double and leave Chen the shortest with 20 big blinds.

Chen was dealt eights just four hands later, and this time they were the ticket to a double as Liu held sevens. Chen hit quads for good measure. He finished Liu with {k-Hearts}{q-Diamonds} against {q-Clubs}{j-Clubs} just a bit after that to go heads up with Weber down a little under 2-1 in chips.

The key hand that would see Chen turn the tables happened at 200,000/400,000/50,000. Weber made it 1 million and Chen called. Chen check-called another million on {9-Hearts}{8-Hearts}{3-Spades}. He came out betting with 1.5 million on the {3-Diamonds} turn and Weber called. On the {a-Spades}, Chen checked. He called off his final 5,750,000 after some thought when Weber shoved.

Weber could only muster {q-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds} for a bluff and Chen took it with {9-Spades}{8-Diamonds} to grab a slight lead.

Seemingly invigorated, Chen won eight of the next nine pots to open up a huge lead. When Weber shoved his last 10 big blinds with {k-Hearts}{9-Spades}, Chen woke up with {a-Hearts}{k-Diamonds} to finish the job as neither player hit the board.

“I had faith in myself,” he told tournament reporters. “I’m a very gifted player, so I definitely thought I could make it.”

Photo courtesy of WPT

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