Borgata Poker Open
|Dates||Sep 20 - 22, 2003|
|Final Table Date||Sep 22, 2003|
|Buy-In||$5,000 + $150|
|Number of Entrants||235|
Six players who battled through nearly three days of tense play and a field of 235 players showed down at the final table for a prize pool of just under a cool million, and a winner's payout of $487,000. Young bucks Randy Burger, a $12 internet satellite tournament winner; Vegas's own Mickey Seagle; the 2001 World Champ, Spaniard Carlos Mortensen; and David Oppenheim of Los Angeles, all hit the felt with veteran pro Charlie "Scotty Warbucks" Shoten, and amateur – but no rookie – Noli Francisco, a real estate and import/export entrepreneur. Between them, Shoten and Francisco share some 60 years of poker know-how.
Shortly after Seagle got into the action, doubling up on Francisco with trip 9's, the first wave broke on the final table. Right after scaring off all potential callers by going all-in with a set of J's on the flop, internet satellite winner Burger took As-Jd head up with Mortensen's Ah-Ts. When the flop came A-6-5 rainbow and Mortensen checked to him, Burger made a confident $75,000 raise and was quickly called. After the turn brought 9h, Burger went all-in, and Mortensen called. Overjoyed to see his dominating hand when Mortensen showed, Burger was ground sirloin when Mortensen caught a T on the river, sending him back to Mesa, AZ with $41,125 in take-home pay. "I've been playing for 6 months. I qualified for $12..." the financial manager said, philosophically, "there's professionals that have never made it this far..." However, a few of them would continue on at Borgata...
Having had limited opportunities, and perhaps emboldened by the flamboyant play, Seagle picked the wrong time for a stone bluff with 9-4 versus Francisco's Q-8. After the board went J-8-5-7-K, and Seagle's attempts to steal were smoked out by Francisco one by one, Mike Sexton accurately quipped to the TV crowd that the retired Philippino architect had "picked him off like an ear of corn." Down to the shorts, Seagle next tried to take a pair of crabs against Francisco, but this time he had wired 9's, and wasn't impressed. Francisco's ninas held up, and Mickey's treys crabwalked him right out of the tournament with $52,875 and a 5th place finish.
The young Spaniard was the next under Francisco's knife. Oppenheim opened his Q-J for $100,000, and Francisco came right over the top for another $200,000 with A-J. With pocket 6's, Mortensen correctly assessed that with his all-in raise, Oppenheim would fold, and the pot odds would be just right at 3-1. Indeed they were, but then again, the game's not called pot odds, it's called poker, and the flop came A-K-7. After the board came 9, Q, Mortensen checked out of Atlantic City's newest world class resort destination $70,500 richer.
Immediately after his Spanish friend was sent to the rail, Oppenheim staked his 2nd place chip count on pocket 5's. Francisco, feeling the poker gods in place, accepted the potential investment in the bank of Francisco, and was promptly rewarded with a flop of Qc-Jc-6c. When the turn and river came 8s, Qs, the bemused New York cash-game veteran foreclosed on left-coast cash-gamer Oppenheim, who took his $117,500 return in stride: "I know that no matter what's happened, when you come in the top 6 out of 240 or so of the best players you've done well."
Down to the final two opponents, Francisco head up against fellow retiree Shoten, play got...well, let's say...a bit surreal. Having managed to trudge through three long days, and hang around on the final table this long without making any major, tournament-ending mistakes, both players immediately made up for lost time. With Francisco raising $70,000 pre-flop on 7s-8s to Shoten's Kh-4c, the board went Js-Td-3h-6h, check-check on the flop and turn. When Ah came on 5th St., Francisco announced a raise. But Shoten called before he had a chance to say how much. Realizing he was holding five slices of petrified wood, Francisco got off with a discount, the minimum $40,000 bet. Next, it was Francisco's turn for a blunder. After Shoten made a pair of A's, doubling up against wired 7's, Francisco got called making a string bet with K-K to Shoten's J-8 offsuit, and Shoten took the opportunity to muck.
Before Salvador Dali was called in from the grave to officiate, Francisco came in with K-5, to the former New Yorker and Life Insurance exec's 9-6. After a flop of 7h-6h-4c, Shoten bet $50,000 on his middle pair, and Francisco called with the open ended straight draw. When the turn came Kd, Francisco raised a healthy $200,000, and Shoten called, but when the river came Q, Francisco put his fellow 60-something home to bed, tucking him in with $235,000 in green sheets. Francisco had become the Borgata World Poker Open's inaugural champion, accepting his $470,000 payout and commemorative bracelet with fitting nonchalance. After all, this was the man who stated before the tourney: "I had nothing to do, so I decided to buy in." Good call, by far his best of the week...
This tournament is included in the World Poker Tour Season Two DVD Collection. Special features include commentary by Phil "The Unabomber" Laak, Antonio Esfandiari, Daniel Negreanu and Erik Lindgren.