By Sean Chaffin
The final table is set in the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open with the six players remaining set to play to a winner on March 13 at HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas at Luxor Hotel and Casino. The action will be filmed for broadcast on FOX Sports and will become the second WPT Season XVII final table played at the arena.
Along with adding his name to the Champions Cup, the winner takes home $728,430 in cash, 1,400 points in the Hublot Player of the Year race, and a $15,000 seat in the season-ending Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions. Here’s a look at the final players heading to Vegas and hoping for the title.
Seat 1: Ian O’Hara – 5,100,000 (34 bb)
This marks O’Hara’s third WPT cash and first final table appearance. This 25-year-old rounder from Coconut Creek, Florida, brings a big background in poker to Las Vegas, however, with more than $2.1 million in live tournament winnings. That includes a ninth-place finish in the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Bellagio in Season XV for $89,875 for a total of more than $100,000 on the tour. He’s now already topped that at Borgata.
A regular on the Florida poker tournament scene since 2012, O’Hara has been playing professionally for eight years and has numerous final table appearances and nice cashes. His first six-figure score came in 2015 when he finished runner-up in a $25,400 event at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open for $527,313. More success followed and he hit paydirt a year later by winning the $2,500 Seminole Coconut Creek Championship for $212,830. He added another title in 2017 in a $2,500 No Limit Hold’em event at Isle Casino in Pompano Beach, Florida, for $51,750.
When not playing poker, O’Hara enjoys powerlifting and watching sports. He began playing poker at age 13 with friends in the garage. O’Hara likes to play big pots, has plenty of skills, and will certainly be a tough customer at the final table.
Seat 2: Dave Farah – 18,850,000 (126 bb)
This becomes the biggest WPT cash and first final table on the tour for this player from Fairfield, New Jersey. Farah may have the slimmest tournament poker record of those in the field. On the WPT, he has two previous cashes for almost $23,000. One of those came last year at this same event at Borgata, where he finished 75th for $8,623.
Farah, 48, has career live tournament winnings of $80,062 and making this final table has already eclipsed that total with just a sixth-place paying out $154,734. Certainly, he’ll be looking to top event that with a big breakthrough performance here. While Farah doesn’t have a tournament win in limited cashes, he does have one nice accomplishment on poker’s biggest stage. In 2016, he finished 344th for $32,130 in the WSOP Main Event.
Married with two children, he enjoys watching his kids play sports when not playing poker. Farah has been playing poker for 24 years and is hoping to turn some of that experience into an even bigger score in Sin City.
Seat 3: Joseph Di Rosa Rojas – 5,800,000 (39 bb)
This final table appearance becomes Rojas’s first cash on the WPT and he’s doing it in major style. Now guaranteed at least sixth-place money of $154,734, Rojas nursed a short stack much of the Day 4 and at one point was down to four big blinds with two tables left. At the unofficial final table, however, he surged after a few big double-ups.
Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, the 36-year-old has more than $770,000 in lifetime tournament winnings since hitting the tournament scene in 2016. While he hasn’t made waves on the WPT until this week, he has a few nice scores of note. His major highlight came in 2017 at the WSOP, where earned a bracelet by taking down the $2,620 Marathon event for $690,469.
Rojas has been playing poker full-time for four years and has a degree in business administration. When not playing poker, he enjoys playing tennis, spending time with family, traveling, and kite surfing. While Rojas may not have the big resumé of some of the others at this final table, he’s shown he get can close the show on a big stage.
Seat 4: Brandon Hall – 14,100,000 (94 bb)
A successful online player with a nice track record, Hall brings some nice accomplishment to this final table. While he may only have three WPT cashes, overall he has more than $1.5 million in live tournament winnings. This marks not only his biggest cash on the WPT, but his first final table appearance.
On the tournament scene since 2008, Hall has several six- and five-figue scores throughout his career. The biggest came in 2009 when he took down the $5,500 Aruba Poker Classic for $753,330. More nice finishes followed and he came close to a WSOP bracelet in 2014 after he finished runner-up in a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event for $381,885. In August, Hall added another nice score after finishing fifth in a $2,650 No Limit Hold’em event at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open.
The 36-year-old from Hanover, Pennsylvania, has been a poker pro for 12 years and attended Penn State for two years. Other interests include tennis, snowboarding, travel, and investing in real estate. Hall has experience and skill on his side. If he can get the chips on his side as well, he’ll definitely be a player to watch.
Seat 5: Vinicius Lima – 3,550,000 (24 bb)
Originally from San Jose, California, and now living in Las Vegas, Lima is also looking at his first WPT final table and first cash on the tour. Compared to some of the others at the table, he might also be placed in the less-experienced camp when it comes to major tournament experience. But that doesn’t mean he’s not without some skins on the wall and a chance to make some waves.
With lifetime live tournament winnings of $263,186 including a few nice wins in smaller tournaments over the last two years. In 2016, Lima put together a pair of small wins before winning a $1,675 Poker Night in America event as part of the Grand Series of Poker at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas for $56,366. The biggest cash of his career came last February in a $1,600 SuperStack event at the Venetian DeepStack Extravaganza for $102,149. By just making this final table, he’s now topped that and hoping for more.
Lima, 24, previously worked in medical sales but has been playing poker full time for the last seven years. Away from poker, his hobbies include basketball, video games, jet skiing, and playing any card. He considers 2017 WSOP Main Event champion Scott Blumstein as his mentor, and is hoping to find similar success in Las Vegas,
Seat 6: Daniel Buzgon – 9,100,000 (61 bb)
This 34-year-old player from Marlton, New Jersey, is right at home playing at Borgata. He’s a BorgataPoker.com sponsored pro with numerous big cashes and scores at the property including winning a $500 Borgata Million event in 2015 for $194,509 and a $400 Almighty Stack in 2017 for $151,803. He also won two WSOP Circuit events here in Atlantic City and won a third in September online for his third championship ring.
Buzgon has been playing professionally for 12 years, and brings a wealth of experience to the tables. A graduate of Arizona State, he has more than $2 million in live tournament winnings. His biggest cash came here at Borgata in Season X when he finished third for $335,433. He also has a second WPT final table appearance, finishing fourth at bestbet Jacksonville the same season for $94,624. This marks his eighth WPT cash and five of those are here at Borgata.
Golf is a major passion for Buzgon when he’s away from the card room.
After a big run here his home casino and with plenty of chips, Buzgon will be a major force when the final table plays out in Las Vegas.
Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas. His work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions.
Looking to win your way to a World Poker Tour event for your shot at becoming a WPT champion? Play for your chance on ClubWPT.com, where eligible VIP Members can play for over $100,000 in cash and prizes each month, including seats to WPT events, no purchase necessary.