The 2018 Borgata Poker Open came to a close in the early morning hours of Saturday morning when the 21st BPO trophy found a new home.
About eight hours earlier, Erkut Yilmaz took 1st place in the Championship event, along with $575,112 and both BPO and WPT Champions Cup trophies. Yilmaz took a huge lead into the final day of the Championship and held that lead until heads-up with poker pro Timothy ‘TK’ Miles. They proceeded to battle for more than two hours, with the lead changing several times, before Yilmaz finally collected all the chips and the title. Miles added another $383,399 to his career earnings, pushing the total past $3.2 million.
This series saw a lot of firsts. For the first time, the BPO was not held in the Event Center, but in a temporary Tournament Area between the Poker Room and Signature Room. This was a one-time occurence and this area will now he turned into the new Borgata Sports Book. The Winter Poker Open in January will be back in the Event Center as usual.
Another first was buy-in guarantees on the non-No Limit Hold’em events. The Omaha/Stud High/Low, HORSE, and PLO tournaments all had guarantees for the first time ever. There was also an “Old School” Freeze-out NLH tournament with no re-entries, and a Double Black Chip Bounty tournament added to this year’s schedule.
Justin Leeds claimed the top spot in the $1 Million GTD Kick-Off event, which saw 3,106 entrants. The final four players all took home more than $170,000 for their efforts in the three-day event.
Altogether, the series had $7.6 million in guarantees and paid out more than $8.3 million in prize money in Main Events alone, not including secondary and satellite events. A complete list of Main Event winners and their winnings is below.
The next major tournament series is the Fall Poker Open, which runs November 6th through the 21st, so start making plans now. The tournament schedule has not yet been released. Follow @BorgataPoker on Twitter to catch the announcement when it is. Until then, Borgata’s regular schedule of Daily Tournaments will resume. For those of you in New Jersey, there’s alway another tournament coming up on BorgataPoker.com. October 14th – 21st, the Garden State Super Series (GSSS) will be running with more than $450,000 in guarantees.
For now, it’s farewell from the Borgata Blogging team of Tim Kelliher, Chris Murray, Al Rash, Brittany Paige, and myself. Hope to see you in November during the Fall Poker Open!
Shortly before six a.m., the BC Bounty came to a close with a terrific hand played by the final two contestants.
Blake, who never trailed during the heads up and was easily in control since the massive double with nines against Lee, had turned the nut straight against his chatty and popular opponent, Jackie Liu. Being an incessant value bettor, her late street checks were often unprotected, and checking into the shove on the river by the rated tournament expert, she was very likely to only have pure bluffcatchers.
While this can work in general, a top player like Blake can take advantage of this aspect of a betting strategy by forcing far too many folds from the capped range. Jackie combatted this scenario by interpreting his range for value shoving being narrow, and was willing to make the call with second pair, a weak .
This time, though, he had it, crushing the brave bluffcatch from Jackie with for turned broadway.
A great tournament gives her a well deserved $35,795. Not only did she play great poker, she was part of the insistence on playing out the tournament and fighting for the uncompromised right to the cash and the trophy.
As for Whittington, he dominated the final table not through aggression, but always seeming to end up in the right spots and to not be guessing but deciding, the sign of an experienced and sharp player. He’s no doubt a worthy champion of the Black Chip Bounty – congratulations, Blake.
Very quickly Blake has expanded his lead to about three to one. He’s applying more pressure than Jackie can handle at the moment.
Liu – 5.5 million
Whittington – 14 million
The all-ins fade for a moment, as perhaps Liu has gathered just enough bigs to make it dangerous for Blake to continue ripping it in.
She takes two pots in a row on the flop, moving from a nadir of 4.1 m back up to 5.3 m.
Then, another all in from Whittington, who seems to want to end it. He had refused a deal earlier but broached it again. Jackie is determined to play on.
Another flop in position for Jackie, but this time Blake does not simply go away. They see a turn on , which Blake now leads. Jackie takes a long time to process this unusual action, then shoves. Great decision – Blake snap folds.
First, Jackie Liu completed a second double through Whittington, jamming and fading Blake’s .
It’s a big pot for Jackie, who surpasses Lee for second, with a little over 7.5 million.
Whittington takes a hit, having risen as high as 12 million. However he immediately gets it back when Chris Lee in the small goes with fives for his 3.6 million over a button raise from Jackie.
Blake has the answer with nines, and gets the money in as well. Jackie folds, and Blake improves to a full house by the river. Chris, Blake, and Jackie shake hands as a long three handed battle is over.
Heads up begins with Whittington holding a slight advantage of 10 million to nine million.
With Lee on the ropes, Whittington was given the opportunity to cripple him.
Lee found a 1,500,000 bet on the river, with the board reading .
After several minutes of tanking and questions, Blake let it go, while Lee lets himself back into the game.
Soon afterward, left out of the action and wounded, Jackie began shoving her 20 bbs.
Surprisingly, Lee found a call from the small blind, while Blake folded. Lee turned over , in reasonable shape against Jackie’s naked ace. Despite a spectator thinking a straight had bailed out Lee, ace high held.
Huge double for Jackie.
From the button, Blake Whittington raise , and Chris Lee defended his BB with .
On an eight high, two club flop the two got the money in, but Lee could not improve.
Double for Blake, who now has the lead at over 9 million, while Lee falls to third.
Three hands later, same formation. Blake further depletes Chris by making work.
Jackie Liu 5.1 m
Chris Lee 4.5 m
Blake Whittington 9.4 m
Another stack is gone. Guillermo Hamilton was midstacked throughout the night, but the hit he took from Thayer Rasmussen put him on the defensive. He got in versus and could not overcome a nine on the board.
Exact Chip counts at break:
Jackie Liu 6.625 m
Chris Lee 8.315 m
Blake Whittington 4.815 m
Discussions for an adjusted payout are more serious now, but in the end… play on.
Estimated Chip counts by seat
- Guillermo Hamilton 2.2 m
- Jackie Liu 5.5m
- Chris Lee 4.2 m
- Thayer Rasmussen (bust)
- Blake Whittington 6m
Thayer Rasmussen got in his last 7 bigs with a pair of sixes, but Blake Whittington got there with to end a strong run and bring us to the final four.
An adjusted payout has been floated several times but objections rule so far.
Excellent run by Kindsigo for sixth place, $11,932
Estimated Chip counts by seat
- Jaana Kindsigo (busted)
- Guillermo Hamilton 4.2 m
- Jackie Liu 5.1m
- Chris Lee 3.6 m
- Thayer Rasmussen 1.3 m
- Blake Whittington 5.5 m