Atlantic City’s Borgata has long been a mecca for many poker players, running regular major tournament series and hosting World Poker Tour events. But since the pandemic, high-stakes tournament poker has mostly taken a backseat at the property.
That looks to be changing soon. On Tuesday, the Borgata and BetMGM announced the launch of “The Return: A Borgata Championship Event.” The series features four tournaments running Jan. 2-8 with online qualifiers also available on the BetMGM platform.
“The return of championship poker to Borgata is a long time coming,” Borgata director of poker operations Vincent Alonge Jr. said in a news release. “Borgata is the premier gaming destination on the East Coast, which includes best-in-class poker tournaments.”
What to expect at the Borgata ‘Return’
The $5,300 Championship highlights The Return schedule with a $3 million guaranteed prize pool. Action begins with starting flights on Jan. 4-5 and the final table playing out Jan. 8.
Along with the major overall guarantee, organizers are also promising at least $1 million for the winner with no payout structure adjustments. The series also includes some other interesting events.
The property’s first Mystery Bounty event kicks off the series, with a $2,200 buy-in and $1 million in guaranteed bounties. The event features a top bounty of $250,000.
A $1,000 Borgata Bounty event also runs Jan. 6-8 and a $10,000 Super Survivor Jan. 7-8. The poker room also hosts multiple live satellites including a $600 Big Stack tournament on Jan. 3.
Early tournament registration for the Championship and Mystery Bounty begin on Dec. 1 via the BetMGM online platform. In-person sign-ups for all events begin Jan. 1 in the Borgata poker room.
BetMGM online poker players can qualify
Online poker is also playing a major role as seen in this summer’s BetMGM Poker Championship at Aria in Las Vegas. That tournament featured online qualifiers from all of the site’s poker markets. BetMGM is available in:
- New Jersey (BetMGM, Borgata Poker, and partypoker US skins)
- Pennsylvania (BetMGM, Borgata Poker)
- Michigan (BetMGM)
- Ontario, Canada (BetMGM, partypoker)
“BetMGM recognizes the strong legacy of tournaments at Borgata and is thrilled to collaborate with the team to bring online qualifiers to ‘The Return,’” BetMGM director of poker Luke Staudenmaier said. “In the upcoming months, we look forward to offering online poker players various ways to qualify for this momentous event which will kick off 2023 with a bang!”
Darren Elias pleased to see Borgata action return
Some major poker moments have played out at the Borgata since the property opened in 2003. Some of the big names taking down WPT titles at the property include Daniel Negreanu, Michael Mizrachi, John Hennigan, Olivier Busquet, and others.
New Jersey’s Darren Elias is no stranger to Borgata success as well. The four-time WPT champion and BetMGM ambassador took down the WPT Borgata Poker Open in 2014 for $843,744. He’s pleased to see major high-stakes events return to Borgata.
“It feels great to see major poker events at Borgata after all this time,” he said. “I know East Coast players have been anxious to see more tournaments closer to home. I have a feeling this is just the beginning of a big 2023 at the Borgata.”
Received my @BetMGMPoker trophy today from recent Online Championships, nice touch. Players can expect more trophies, leaderboards, and added perks from @BetMGM going forward. 🏆 pic.twitter.com/ZanEbzAJqI
— Darren Elias (@DarrenElias) October 10, 2022
Having an online option only makes for a better event, Elias says. Online poker players are seeing more opportunities to qualify for major online tournaments in recent months, including chances to win Platinum Passes online for the PokerStars Players Championship in the Bahamas.
The Return now adds to that trend and harkens back to the poker boom, when players could regularly major live tournament packages by playing online.
“It’s great to see BetMGM online qualifiers in our eligible markets where players from the US and Ontario can win packages to go compete in these major events,” he said.
“I had these opportunities as a young up-and-coming online player, but it’s been a long time since this was possible for the American online poker player. I’m happy to see the return of these qualifier systems and opportunities for players.”