Former Champs, Hurricane Harvey Pledges Headline WPT Borgata Main Event

Martin Derbyshire September 12, 2017 783 Reads
WPT Borgata

The World Poker Tour returns to its defacto East Coast home this week for a tournament that regularly draws some of the best poker players from across the entire country. Only this time, many will be playing the WPT Borgata Poker Open for more than just themselves.

The WPT Borgata Poker Open Main Event kicks off in Atlantic City, New Jersey September 17, 2017. The buy-in is $3,500 and organizers have guaranteed a $3 million prize pool. The event will feature two starting flights with unlimited re-entries. The flights begin at 11 a.m. on September 17 and 18. Players can also buy in until the end of Level 10, which is expected to be the second level on Day 2, September 19.

The tournament will wrap up on September 22 with action from the final table of six players being filmed for television on FOX Sports. The final table will also be live streamed on the poker content subscription service PokerGo beginning at 3:30 p.m. local time, September 22.

The WPT at Borgata

As the name suggests, the WPT Borgata Poker Open will take place at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. The property has been a fixture on the tour since it first opened in 2003 during the WPT’s second season.

In fact, Borgata ran two WPT stops each year through the mid to late 2000s. It set field-size records for tour events each time out. Plus, the first two times the WPT held its World Championship event outside of Las Vegas, it did so at Borgata.

Jattin loses lead, Sylvia loses runner-up title

Last year, 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event runner up Jesse Sylvia won the title and an $821,811 first-place prize. The event drew 1,179 entries creating a massive $3,773,979 prize pool.

Sylvia was no-doubt a memorable winner. However, the 2016 WPT Borgata Poker Open is perhaps best remembered for the meltdown endured by Columbian Farid Jattin.

Jattin entered what was his third career WPT final table, and second at Borgata, holding just a little less than half the chips in play. He started out helping to triple up Sylvia in the early going. Then, after losing close to half of his stack in a series of pots, Jattin five-bet all in with five-high. He ran that into Sylvia’s ace-king. A short-stacked Jattin dusted off the rest of his chips soon after, finishing sixth when he ran eights into aces.

Sylvia ultimately went on to defeat Zachary Gruneberg heads-up to win the title.

WPT Borgata players to watch

Should they return to play again this year, Sylvia, Gruneberg and Jattin will certainly be worth keeping an eye on. However, there are three players US Poker has identified as ones to watch in the WPT Borgata Poker Open. In fact, each has also pledged to donate a percentage of their winnings to help those devastated by Hurricane Harvey.

Hurricane Harvey caused an estimated $180 billion in damage when it made landfall in Texas at the end of August. An estimated 50 people were killed, more than 1 million people were displaced and 200,000 homes destroyed.

New York‘s Asher Conniff has spearheaded relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey survivors among members of the East Coast poker community. He pledged to donate five percent of any cashes during the entire Borgata Poker Open series.

Conniff is no stranger to success at Borgata. In fact, he won the $500 + $60 Deep Stack event for $203,231, and the $15,000 + $400 WPT World Championship for $973,683 during the same Spring 2015 Borgata series. It will be worth watching to see if he can repeat that success while playing for Hurricane Harvey relief.

Burr, Blumstein make the pledge

Brigantine, NJ local Melissa Burr has made the same five percent pledge. A regular in high stakes cash games on the East Coast, Burr has been relatively absent from the tournament scene since making three final tables at the 2014 WSOP. However, with the Hurricane Harvey pledge in place, Burr will likely be making her best effort at Borgata.

Finally, Morristown, NJ’s Scott Blumstein is returning to his home after winning the 2017 WSOP Main Event for $8,150,000. Blumstein has made the same five percent Hurricane Harvey pledge. He will certainly be worth watching in his first major tournament back home in New Jersey since winning poker’s most coveted crown.