Saturday, April 10, 2010

Event #1 Deepstack Day 1-A

Unofficial Chipleaders

Konrad Szydelko (currently in First Place)

Michael Shasho (currently in Second Place)

Event #1 Day 1-A CHIP LEADERS

1. Konrad Szydelko 317,000

2. Michael Shasho 263,000

3. Souvanh Vilayvanh 253,000

4. Eliano Mesquita 221,000

5. Steve "Terminator" Krasner 219,000

6. James Boyle 203,000

7. Hank White 195,000

8. Jon Klein 193,300

9. Brian O'Donoghue 190,900

10. Frederick Li 187,900

Official chip counts will be posted Sunday morning after 9AM

Colossal Collapse

The "Hand of the Tournament" was a premature statement after Scott Strubel (Woodbridge, NJ) took down a 325k pot. Just four levels later and three hands before the end of Day 1A play, Strubel, who's stack peaked at 360k, is on the rail.

"It was some of the worst poker I've seen in my life," says Joseph Capalbi (Brooklyn, NY) who was at table 2 and had a first hand view. "I only met Scott tonight, but I'd say this to his face," says Capalbi, who ends the day with 160k. "He was calling pre-flop like it was a 1-2 table."

Capalbi says the final blow is when Capalbi shoves his last 103k all-in with pocket fives and is eventually called and eliminated by pocket eights.

One benefactor of Strubel's meltdown is Souvanh Vilayvanh who unofficially finishes the night in third place with 253k.

Barry Races And Wins!

Barry Leventhal's A-Q races down opponent's pocket fours and knocks him out.

Barry collects 25,000 on the hand after hitting an ace on the flop.

A couple of seats over, his buddy Pete Lombardo (Brooklyn) watched the action with a stack of 75,000 in front of him.

Barry - "My boy Petie has been playing solid all day."
Looks like Barry has played solidly as well.

Lucky Level 13 - Last of the Night

Level 13 is underway.

14 tables remain - 132 players.

1200 / 2400 blinds 300 antes.

Malevolent Malinconico

When I was searching for the monster stacks a shorty with 14k was offended.

Apparently he channeled that anger into two double ups.

First his K-10 kicked Big Slick's butt (10 on the flop), next his pocket tens held up against pocket nines.

So just like that Michael Malinconico (Tom's River, NJ) went from 14,000 up to 70,000.

Sidenote: Jeff Johnson (Brooklyn, NY) whose 9-9 lost to Michael's 10-10 had 9-9 two hands later and doubled up large. Live by pocket nines, die by pocket nines.

I learned my lesson Michael not to mock the short stack again.

Unofficial Leaders

Steve "The Terminator" Krasner
I'll Be Back!

So I went to each table and ballparked the monster stacks.

Looks like the chip average is around 70,000.

Here are your leaders according to my eye.

Konrad Szydelko.................. 210,000
Scott Strubel......................... 205,000
James Boyle.......................... 200,000
Steve Krasner....................... 200,000
Hank White........................... 200,000
Mike Policastro..................... 170,000
Joseph Capalbi...................... 116,000

Sidenote: Steve Krasner has knocked out four players in the last half hour earning the nickname, THE TERMINATOR from his fellow tablemates.

Level 12 Underway

Level 12 blinds - 1000 / 2000 antes 300

16 tables remain with 158 players competing.

We're stopping after Level 13 concludes.

Sick Hand Worth 200,000

A-K vs. A-A vs. K-K.

With so many substantial raises, Richard Cozza (Hyde Park, NY) went in the tank and actually thought about folding cowboys. Good thing he didn't.

"Yeah, I made a donk call" joked Cozza.

King in the window brought Cozza a monster pot around 200,000.

Richard confessed to making a stellar recovery from over a million dollars worth of surgery this past year. I asked if he was up to the physical toll a deepstack tournament entails. Without hesitation Cozza said he was feeling great and at the top of his game.

He just doesn't want to be the final table bubble which he has become infamous for.

Gilly the Kid

Gil "Gilly the Kid" Roden (Baltimore, MD) is sitting on 80-90,000 towards the end of day one and says he plans on being here at the Monday when it counts.

Gil usually plays cash but enjoys the deepstack format.

Gil says hi to all his fans back home. Go Gil!

Short Stack On Steroids

Tony Nguyen (Fairfax, VA) has nine lives, or at least five.

He shoved his short stack in five times resulting in four wins and a chop.

In the last victory for once he amazingly had the best hand pre. Tony's K-K faces a flop of J-J-brick. He's behind as his all-in opponent shows Q-J.

Tony rivers a king, earning him the double up.

The table is having some fun with Tony. A lot of laughing, joking, and table talk.

Father Lawson Blesses Table

Opponents playing against Josh Lawson (Quarryville, PA) can't believe the luck he's had today. "They let Father Lawson out of the monastery from St. Patrick's Cathedral today", one player joked.

The thinking is you have to say a lot of prayers to be dealt A-A twice, K-K twice, hit 9 sets, and oh by the way, "Quads". Not to mention the multiple more times he would have hit sets if he didn't fold pairs once they didn't hit the flop.

"I've never caught cards like this" says Lawson. He's been playing four years and finished 14th in the 2009 WPT Borgata Poker Open.

Josh the luckbox is sitting on 115,000.

Actually the table commented that because Josh is a good player they're not as upset or jealous.

Hand of the Tournament

Strubel & 360,000

When you get a text, "come to my table NOW!" you don't dawdle. Table 2 is where arguable "the hand" of the entire tournament takes place, a bold statement considering we're only on Level 9 (500/1000/100 ante) of Day 1A.

The hand starts with an under the gun raise to 2,700 and gets 5 callers. The big blind shoves all-in for 11,900 more and all 6 remaining players call, creating a pre-flop pot of more than 100k.

The flop is 10 J 6 and the parade of posers all check for a free card.

The turn is 9♠ and after a bet of 20k, Scott Strubel (Woodbridge, NJ), one of the tournament big stacks makes it 75k to go, putting Joseph Capalbi (Brooklyn, NY) and his 100k, in the tank.

After the internal debate, Capalbi folds, as do two others. The action is on seat 7, who re-pops for another 30k and is all-in.

After another fold, Strubel makes the call, putting the pot at nearly 325k.

Strubel open up and shows Q J, seat 7 has 8 10 and the original all-in player has K 3 and needs a queen for a straight to take the main pot.

For the side pot, Strubel is ahead of seat 7 who has only 6 outs (2 tens, 4 sevens), including a gut shot straight flush draw.

The river is 5 and Strubel takes it all to eliminate two players. "I'm playing on feel," he says while taking his stack to 360k. "I'm like a tarot card reader or something. I felt it was coming."

As for the bystanders, Capalbi claims he folded the "sucker straight" with the 7 8. "I'm not putting my tournament on the line in that spot," he says after turning the jack high straight. "I have to fade too many outs. I lose to king, queen and I have to assume there are flush draws."

Thanks to cub reporter Rich Lipson (Feasterville, PA) for alerting Media Row that things were brewing.

Lipson & Capalbi

Secretary of Defense

Eliano Mesquita

Eliano Mesquita (Toms River, NJ) defends his big blind with 9-7 and fills up on the flop.

His opponent has A-8 and shoves with only top pair.

Eliano insta-calls with his straight and rakes in a 140,000 pot.

"There was a bully at this table but now he's gone."

Eliano is up to 185,000.

Chip Count Update

Here are your current chip leaders, give or take...

Brian Pagano 145,000
Dan Fischer 135,000
Scott Strubel 130,000
James Boyd 100,000
Paul Dadolato 100,000
Robert Behrenst 90,000

Level 9

The Signature Room

Level 9 is underway - $500-$1000 $100-ante

Borgata staff diligently broke down all the tables from the poker room.

Now all 245 players are in The Signature Room.

Average stack is 45,000.

Martin Making Comeback

Frank Martin (Staten Island, NY) was down to 14,000 but climbed his way back to over forty.

He credits the deepstack format for giving him a chance to play more hands and make a comeback.

"There are definitely more loose calls against the short stacks so you have a chance to double up."

Frank says hi to his son Frank Jr. - your Pop is hanging in and trying to make it to Monday.

Queen High Good

Solid Seymour

You don't have to always hit your draws, just ask Bill Seymour (Greenville, NC), who's opponent also misses a flush draw and is eliminated when Seymour wins the 35k pot with queen high.

"We both flopped flush draws," says the 69 year old poker coach, "but I was the one who did all the betting."

Seymour commits more than half his stack and is ecstatic when he sees he has the best hand after calling a reraise shove. Seymour then climbs to 65k by flopping a set of aces on the last hand before dinner break.

"Yeah, I had a real hand this time and I'll show you," as he turns over pocket rockets and adds that he continues to play, "straight forward and solid."

Seymour's well above the chip average as the break continues.

Dinner Break

Players just finished Level 8 and are on a 40 minute dinner break.

Efforting chip leaders, players remaining and average stack.

Schiffting Gears?

Ron "Schifty" Schiffman

A crowd gathers around Ron "Schifty" Schiffman (Cherry Hill, NJ) as he rakes in 90,000.

His J-J gets all in on a flop of A-J-4. Opponent tables K-K and loses.

Ron is no stranger to Borgata tournaments as he made the final table at the 2010 Winter Poker Open deepstack Event #1.

Great Scott

Strubel Strutting his Stuff

Scott Strubel doesn't remember the specifics, but he doesn't have to, as he counts a monster stack of nearly 150k to become the unofficial chip leader.

Jenn Sherwood is the table's version of Rain Man and recites his big hand verbatim for him. "The flop is 3,6,3. One player is all-in and two others flat (call)," says Sherwood the 2009 Borgata Poker Open Ladies 4th place finisher.

Sherwood recaps that Strubel turns a full house with pocket 10s and gets the other remaining player to commit his last 50k drawing dead. It's a 125k pot, putting Strubel in another chip stratosphere with 143k.

"I've been on a sick run," says the Woodbridge, NJ resident. "I've had a nice little two weeks."

In addition to a great start to Event 1, Strubel says he won the Borgata 15k, 7 pm Wednesday tournament two weeks ago and had a top three finish 4 days ago in the same event.

"I also have a couple of Survivor wins as well," adding, "I love this place."

Unfortunately Strubel will have to record his own hand histories the rest of the way as Sherwood is knocked out shortly after Strubel's big haul.

Level 8 is underway (400/800/75 ante) and is the last one before the dinner break.

Deepstack Thoughts by...

Since this is the first Borgata Spring Poker Open I'm asking some players what they think?

Brian Revill (Wilmington, DE) says, "It's the whole reason I'm here."

Brian plays cash every week at Borgata but for the past three years hasn't been able to take off work for the June, September, and February events. "April fits into my schedule and I finally have a block of time to play."

Brian has doubled his stack by picking his spots here and there. He loves deepstack 100% over other formats because play is more relevant and the whole tournament doesn't come down to coin flipping.

Laura McBride (Glenolden, PA) also loves deepstack and the Spring Poker Open dates. "I can be more patient and even suck out once in a while."

Laura is a 4th and 5th grade Emotional Support Teacher. "I love it. It's nice here. I'm a teacher and I try to fit in my poker." Laura is currently 'hanging-in' with a less than average stack.

Others commented they were glad the deepstack started on the weekend.

Chip Counts

After 5 hours of play here are some notable chip counts:

Scott Stubel 143k (unofficial leader)
"Action" Bob Hwang 72k
Michael Shasho 70k
Jesse Yaginuma 57k
Barry Leventhal 45k
James Boyd 30k
Mikey "Unbelievable" Dentale 19k
Bill Seymour 19k
Howard Wolper 15k
Jenn Sherwood 10k

Players are on a 10 minute break with approximately 330 players remaining

Open Seat Here!

Tables continue to condense in the poker room with 15 still in play.

Wild Table 32 has already knocked out five players. Anthony Bertuzzi (Staten Island, NY) and Mike Brown (Long Island, NY) have the satisfaction of felting two players each.

Bertuzzi's up to 85,000 after his straight flush cripples one opponent only to finish him off the very next hand with Queens Full.

A bit earlier, Brown's K-10 sees a flop of 10-10-8 up against opponent's pocket eights. He turns a ten for quads and knocks out his man.

So obviously there's a lot of chips here and a lot of excitement.

Razzle Diazzle - Quad Kings Crush AA

Joe "Bottz" Diaz

Major fireworks at table two where Joe "Bottz" Diaz (New York, NY) gets it all in pre-flop with pocket kings against opponent's pocket aces.

A miraculous flop of KK5 gives Bottz quads and a 70,000 pot.

A witness from the table spoke up, "if you want to talk to the guy he knocked out, just look for someone wandering around in the lobby all bruised and beaten up."

Level 6 has begun. Blinds are up... 200-400 with a 50 ante.

Renumbering the Regulars

Poker Room, Tables 26-34

Borgata regulars who play a lot of daily tournaments are used to seeing tables 1-9 in the back of the Poker Room. Today that section has tables 26-34. "It's weird," says Patty Barsanti-Chou (Metuchen, NJ) who's at table 31. "I'm used to these being low numbers."

The switch is because the Borgata Spring Poker Open is also utilizing The Signature Room, a thirty second walk from the cashier window in the Poker Room. Tables 1-25 are in The Signature Room, with the Day 1A overflow (19 tables) starting in the Poker Room.

As the field thins and tables are condensed, the remaining players in the Poker Room will be moved to The Signature Room. "Now I can look forward to going to the other room," says Barsanti-Chou who's right around her starting stack of 25k.

Level 5 underway (150/300/25 ante)

Barsanti-shou's Signature Dream

Numbers Game

440 players are locked and loaded for Day 1A of Event 1. The plan is to play until Level 13 which will conclude sometime in the 10 pm hour.

Level 4 (100/200) up and running.

Hurry, Hurry!

Inaugural Spring Open Back from Break

A couple of players are freaking out on their way back from break as Level 3 is underway.

With 44:50 on the clock (45 min levels), one player is on a cell phone and says, "I gotta go, they're already starting." The player quickly hangs up and weave his way through the maze of tables to get back to his seat.

Two minutes later (43:05 on the clock), another player casually walks in but is clearly annoyed, "Unbelievable, I missed my big blind."

Blinds are now 75/150.

Early Chip Leaders?

Double, Double Boyle and Trouble

The adage is that you can't win a Borgata tournament on the first day, but you can certainly lose it (ask the guy who's set of kings lost to a set of aces). But for players gathering chips early, it makes things a lot easier.

James Boyle (Havre de Grace, MD) increased his stack from 25k to 45k during the first level when his full house (kings full of ducks) beat a smaller house (eights full of ducks).

The flop is K 8 2, giving both players a set. The turn is a blank, followed by a river deuce to give both players the full boat.

Boyle leads out for 11k in the SB and his opponent limits the damage by only calling. Boyle adds 17k on the hand and is feeling comfortable.

It's the same story for Mike Dentale (Brooklyn, NY) who's 9 high flush takes a nice pot against a set of jacks. "Skill gets you deep, but you need luck to win," Dentale says with 40k at the end of Level 2.

Players are on a 10 minute break.

Blinds Up

Level 2 is underway as blinds are now 50/100.

There's been a couple of early bust outs, but no major bad beats. The floor has already ruled on an exposed hand and players continue to trickle in looking for their seats in The Signature Room.

Jesse Yaginuma, the 2009 September Poker Open Heads Up Champion has just arrived.


Event 1 is a Deep Stack with a $250,000 guaranteed prize pool and two starting days (Day 1A & 1B). Players begin with 25k in chips with blinds starting at 25/50 and 45 minute levels.

Day 1B is Sunday at 11 am, with the field merging Monday for Day 2 when they play down to a winner. You can find a list of all Spring Poker Open Events here.

Level 1 is winding down.

Familiar Faces

Howard Wolper

The early numbers have 414 players on Day 1A and some of the usual suspects are in the house.

Former Borgata champion Howard Wolper (2009 Summer Open Limit) is in The Signature Room along with Mike Dentale and "Action" Bob Hwang (Barnegat, NJ).

Bill Seymour, Jim Boyd, James Boyle and Mike Vogelsong are also in the field.

Mike Vogelsong

Off & Running!

Signature Room

25 Tables are in The Signature Room (opposite the Race Book & next to Bobby Flay Steaks). The overflow crowd is in the Poker Room as the early numbers have more than 350 players here on Day 1A.