After four starting flights ran over three days attracted an astounding turnout which nearly topped 2,500 entries, Event 1 of the Borgata Spring Poker Open has come to an end. The $560 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em Reentry event sported a $1 million guaranteed prize pool, a promise which was easily exceeded by almost 500 entries. In the end, it was Carlos Alvarado who took down top honors (signing for 1st place money after agreeing to a four-way chop), earning $127,652 for besting the massive field. Alvarado is a grinder from Oceanside, New York whose previous high in terms of live earnings came back at the WPT Borgata Poker Open Main Event Championship in 2012.
Joining Alvarado in the winner's circle were Adam Pace, Philip Neiman and Kevin Grabel, each of whom pocketed the same payout after reaching the final four with relatively even stacks.
Pace is a recreational player from Staten Island, New York who topped his previous best cash of $9,998 (which came last January at the Borgata Winter Poker Open. Pace did has part to earn the coveted six-figure score every poker player dreams of, knocking Matthew Itkin out in 8th place before dispatching John Yanni in 6th place.
Nieman is also a New Yorker who proudly hails from the borough of Queens, and sporting the iconic logo of the New York Yankees, he did his hometown proud by taking down a title just like his beloved Bronx Bombers have 27 times before him. Fittingly, it was a huge call with just a queen-high that helped propel Neiman to the win, as he correctly read Matthew Itkin's river bet for a bluff and looked him up with no pair to speak of. Neiman thanked his hometown group of Queens grinders, fellow poker playing friends who have helped him sharpen his skills over the years with regular home games and poker excursions to Atlantic City and other East Coast poker haunts.
Grabel is a member of the newest poker crew on the block - Team Kitten - a close-knit group of friends from Pennsylvania and New Jersey who regularly assemble to create some of the more boisterous rails the Borgata has seen. When we last saw Grabel during last year's Borgata Winter Poker Open, he was merely one of the Kittens standing in support of teammate Ray Ross, who made a final table appearance back in January. Now, after taking down more than $127,000 here today - by far the biggest live score Team Kitten can claim, he has earned the well-deserved title of Top Cat.
Judging by the turnout in this opening event of the series, the Borgata Spring Poker Open is set for a full slate of poker action featuring longtime pros, heroes from the local circuit and aspiring amateurs all looking do accomplish what these four did here today. So keep it here for the next two weeks as PokerNews proudly provides continuous coverage live from the floor of the Borgata.