Sep 13, 2021
By Sean Chaffin
Last December, Soheb Porbandarwala became the first player to win a World Poker Tour® (WPT) Main Tour event via the US regulated online poker market. He added his name to the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup by winning the WPT Online Poker Open on the partypoker US Network for $239,820.
Along with other players in New Jersey, Porbandarwala has a chance to do it again starting this week. The $3,500 WPT Online Borgata Poker Open is set for September 19-21 with a $1 million guaranteed prize pool. Like many Garden State grinders, Porbandarwala is excited to get back to the online WPT action.
“I wouldn’t miss it,” he says. “I’m happy that WPT, Borgata, and partypoker are continuing to offer these tournaments to American markets. Hopefully the isolated player pools combine soon and we can have even bigger events.”
For the upcoming event, players must be located in New Jersey and players can play on BetMGM Poker, Borgata Poker, or partypoker NJ. Porbandarwala, who lives in Connecticut, topped a field of 395 entries, which produced a nearly $1.3 million prize pool. His win came after actually playing some live poker at the Borgata in Atlantic City in the days preceding the online tournament.
He and some friends then drove to Mahwah, New Jersey, for a stay at the Doubletree Hilton with some WPT online poker on tap. Staying in New Jersey proved to be a great decision and plenty of celebration followed his victory.
“The win meant a lot to me personally,” he says. “It’s the biggest win of my life money-wise. In a game where self-doubt is always looming, a win like this is a boost of confidence that’s hard to shake.”
Multiple qualifying events are running onpartypoker US Network right up until the tournament. On Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, players can enter a $400 buy-in main event satellite with each one guaranteeing five seats to the main event. Players can start the qualifying process for as little as $5 with daily qualifiers guaranteeing no fewer than two seats into the next level. Some qualifiers guarantee as many as 20 seats.
On top of that, there is also a $320 mega satellite planned for Saturday, September 18, with at least five WPT Main Event seats up for grabs. For a complete schedule of qualifiers and the Online Series, click here.
Along with the championship event, players will find several side events as part of partypoker’s regular Online Series running through September 19. The festival features buy-ins ranging from $20 to $535. Players looking to land a seat into the main event also have several opportunities.
Beyond the WPT Championship, the site also recently announced a major signing. Four-time WPT champion Darren Elias is the newest partypoker US Network ambassador. His duties include promoting the site and its events, starting with the online WPT Championship.
“I’ll participate in and promote various online events across all markets, starting with the WPT Online Borgata Poker Open in New Jersey,” he says. “I’ll be focusing on the larger events and consulting, from a player’s perspective, with the partypoker US Network team on schedules and structures. I’ll also be representing partypoker US at live events and communicating, as well.”
Elias leads the WPT in wins, final table appearances, and cashes. With partypoker US Network also available in Pennsylvania and Michigan, the poker pro seems a nice fit to represent the brand. Elias, who has $9 million in live tournament winnings, grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania, and now lives in New Jersey.
His schedule now includes playing more online poker on the network and Elias will be among those battling for a title in the WPT Online Borgata Poker Open. Growing the US regulated market is also on his agenda. Look for him to bring the same determination he has at the live tables when the cards get in the air on Sunday.
“While I’m still travelling a good deal for live poker, I’ll be playing much more on the partypoker US Network while home in New Jersey or in other markets, especially Pennsylvania,” he says. “Events like the $3,500 next week are the ones that I look forward to the most and circle on my calendar.
“To have the opportunity to play an event of this caliber – a WPT Main Event – in a legal, regulated market from home is an amazing feeling and shows you how far our game has come. For those reasons, adding my fifth title through this event would be a truly special feeling.”
Getting there won’t be easy and Porbandarwala also has his sights on another deep run. He’s happy to see more major events coming to New Jersey and appreciates partypoker’s focus on getting players of all levels and bankrolls into the action.
“I think these events will continue to draw more and more players,” he says. “partypoker and Borgata offer a lot of satellites to the main event, making it accessible for everyone. Good luck to everyone coming for the throne!”
For more information on the WPT Online Borgata Poker Open, click here.
Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas, and his work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions.