WPT Borgata Poker Open 2017

Borgata’s World Poker Tour Event Turns Recreational Player Into High Roller

The Borgata Poker Open is always one of the biggest poker tournaments on the East Coast each year. This year was no exception.

The World Poker Tour-branded Main Event once again drew over 1,000 entries. In the process, the tournament generated a $3.6 million prize pool.

Tournament drew 1,132-player field

The field size for this year’s event was not a record-breaker, but it was still solid. With two starting days, the New Jersey casino managed to generate 1,132 entries.

By comparison, last year the $3,500 buy-in event drew a record field of 1,312 entries. Not only was it the largest Borgata Poker Open field ever, it was also the fourth-largest WPT event.

This year saw a drop off in attendance, but still easily bested the $3 million guarantee. The top 110 players made the money. A minimum cash paid out $6,812.

The final table featured a couple of recognizable names, most notably Cliff “JohnnyBax” Josephy. The World Series of Poker bracelet and former November Niner out of New York made his second WPT final table. Josephy finished in fifth place, banking just shy of $200,000.

Jia Liu managed to improve over his fourth-place showing in the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open event earlier this year, finishing in third place.

Guo Lian Chen tops experienced opponents

The eventual champion was one of the more inexperienced players at the final table. Portsmouth, VA’s Guo Lian Chen defeated Gregory Weber heads-up for the title. Chen certainly knows how to succeed at Borgata Casino. He has cashes at the property dating back to 2012. However, few were for much more than $10,000.

The $789,058 payday was obviously Chen’s biggest career cash. Inexperience aside, he still came into the final table with the utmost confidence.

“I had faith in myself. I’m a very gifted player, so I definitely thought I could make it,” Chen told the WPT after his victory. “I was too excited to sleep last night. I’m going to fall asleep tonight with cash in hand!”

BorgataPoker client played a role in event’s success

One of the reasons this tournament manages to generate a big field each year is thanks to online satellites running on BorgataPoker. The NJ online poker site ran a month of satellites for the land-based tournament series.

A bulk of the seats were for the Main Event, however, prelim tournaments like the big-field opening tournament had their own satellites as well.

The online qualifiers certainly succeeded in this prestigious event too. Remember the story of Asher Conniff in 2015? After accidentally registering for a satellite and winning his way into a $15,000 buy-in WPT event at Borgata, he went on to win the entire thing, taking home nearly $1 million in the process.

Image c/o World Poker Tour / CC BY-ND 2.0

Jessica Welman
- A former managing editor of WSOP.com, Jessica Welman has long been active in the world of online poker. A graduate of USC and the University of Indiana, she has also co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road and served as a tournament reporter for the WPT.