When not playing poker, Orson Young can often be found just hanging out – usually on a rock or cliff. The 33-year-old from Hoboken, New Jersey, often heads to the mountains for some adventure or to a climbing gym to perfect his skills. He has a passion for the outdoors and rock climbing allows him to also feel a sense of accomplishment.
On Tuesday, Young experienced a similar feeling after reaching a new peak – winning the World Poker Tour Online Borgata Poker Open at partypoker US Network. He scored $192,748 and added his name to the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup for the effort.
The win became the biggest of his career and was made even more special for the affiliation with his regular casino. His username on the partypoker platform is even “Borgatcha”.
“I feel extraordinarily fortunate to have joined the WPT Champions Club,” he told USPoker. “Not many WPT events occur in a year, which makes them pretty rare. I’ve played the most amount of hours at the Borgata, which I’ve considered my home casino throughout my poker career. Therefore winning a Borgata WPT is more meaningful to me.”
Joining the WPT Champions Club
When playing a major online event like the WPT, Young likes some solitude. Some quiet helps him concentrate and play his best. This week, he played from his apartment in Hoboken so he could focus.
A few big moments stick out in his mind. One came with two tables left and he was really put to the test. On a board of 9♥6♠4♠8♣4♦, his opponent moved all in for more than 17 million chips. A wrong decision and Young would have been eliminated.
The poker pro and investor ultimately made the call with 8♠5♠ and second pair. His opponent showed a complete bluff with 7♥3♥, vaulting Young into third place.
“This hand was the turning point of the tournament,” he says, “where I went from a middle/shorter stack to a big stack.”
Another critical hand came early at the final table when Young’s pocket Jacks held up against fellow New Jersey grinder Ryan Hohner’s Ace-Queen.
Along with avoiding distractions, Young also tried to keep a level head and remain pragmatic even when building a nice chip stack. But when he finally won the tournament, at least some degree of celebration was in order.
“I didn’t want to get my hopes up as I know how quickly tournaments can change, especially online,” he says. “Right after I won, I received a bunch of phone calls and texts from friends and family. I then met up with my brother for some celebratory drinks and ramen, the only place nearby that was still open late on a Tuesday.”
Life as a New Jersey grinder
Like many poke players, the newest WPT champion was inspired to play by Chris Moneymaker’s historic 2003 win in the World Series of Poker Main Event. He began playing mini sit and go tournaments with high school friends in his basement.
While Young loves live poker, much of his play has now been online over the last year. Due to COVID, he began playing more online cash games and tournaments.
“Nowadays I play online a few days a week and try to play live at Borgata or Parx Casino once a week,” he says.
A big highlight of the WPT event was also making the final table with his friend Daniel Buzgon. The Borgata Poker ambassador made a huge run and led the final day’s action. However, he bowed out in third place for $102,933 after scoring the fourth WPT final table appearance of his career.
Feeling extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to play this tournament and make the final table along side one of my best friends and legend @DBuzgon. Thank you for the great tournament @WPT @SavagePoker and commentating @tonydunsttv!! #borgata #homefield @BorgataPoker https://t.co/TlkEcDKZhY
— Orson Young (@YoungOrson) September 22, 2021
What’s ahead for the partypoker WPT champion
With a nice six-figure score, the win now allows Young to play some live events at the WSOP this summer. A deep run in Las Vegas would make it an even nicer fall. Taking in some of Nevada’s outdoor opportunities is also in the works.
“I’m planning on heading out to the WSOP at the beginning of October with the intention of staying there for the whole series,” he says. “Vegas is one of my favorite places to stay given they have world-class climbing and hiking, so if I get sick of poker there’s plenty to do.”
Young is thankful to live in a state with regulated online poker. He’s hoping that the industry continues to expand for others around the country.
“I was playing online when Black Friday hit and it was detrimental to the poker economy,” he says. “Legal US online poker can’t come any sooner in my opinion.
“Seeing other states like Pennsylvania and Michigan gain access to legal poker is exciting. Hopefully more states get online and are able to combine the player pools. I’m fortunate to be able to play a big event like a WPT from my home. I hope that others are able to enjoy that luxury soon. “