Players love having lots of chips, and the World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Poker Open $450 Almighty Stack gives players 100,000 to start with. Given that, it’s no surprise that 1,857 runners fired away in the event, creating a prize pool of $742,800, well above the $500,000 guarantee.
When the dust settled on Friday, four players decided to make a deal for the remaining prize money, and it was Andy Spears, one of the more recognizable regulars in Borgata events, who took the most money with $94,800.
Spears is a high-volume pro who can be found playing events all over the country. He banked his third-biggest cash to move past $1.1 million in tournament earnings.
Official Final Table Results
*Reflects final table deal
The unlimited reentry event paid out 180 places. Some of those who cashed included Damon Ferrante, Jake Schwartz, Jack Duong, Russell Crane, Craig Varnell, Matt Stout, Kathy Liebert and Greg Himmelbrand.
According to the live updates, Spears won a massive three-way all-in pot with queens against ace-king and with two tables left to move into the chip lead. He entered the final table in a virtual tie with Bradley Jansen at just under 60 big blinds apiece.
Jansen moved into sole possession of first with the first two eliminations after it was down to 10 players. He wielded aces twice in key hands, once to cripple Jeff Picataggio and then again to eliminate Jason Rosenberg, who picked up jacks at a bad time.
With eight players left, Chris Baud got it all in with queens and found himself at risk but leading against the ace-king of Zach Donovan, who has racked up over $2 million in cashes online mostly as “zackmorris99” on PokerStars. Donovan found an ace right away and busted Baud.
Spears then continued to run hot in races. First, he called a short-stacked Ryan Tamnanini when the latter shoved with jacks and Spears picked up in the big blind. A queen on the river sent the pot Spears’ way. He followed that up with another knockout when Michael Murphy tried shoving over with 16 big blinds after Spears opened late with nines. Murphy had but bricked out on the community and took sixth.
That left five players and Kevin Kwak was the shortest of the bunch. He tried to snag Donovan’s big blind by shoving in the small with a 13 big blind stack, but Donovan called off for a bit less with king-ten. He was pleased to see he was dominating king-five and an board kept his kicker barely playing for the double. Kwak was left with crumbs and busted in short order.
Spears, Jansen, Donovan and another Borgata regular, Phong “VIP” Nguyen were left and they opted to discuss a deal for the remaining prize money. Spears nabbed most of the money and his first Borgata trophy after the four hammered out their agreement.
Photo courtesy of Borgata