Daniel Weinman Earns Big Birthday Cake Candle, Wins WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open
On his 29th birthday, Daniel Weinman came from the bottom half of the final table to eventually take a dominant lead and cruise to victory at the World Poker Tour’s Borgata Winter Poker Open on Friday evening.
Weinman was sitting in fourth place at the start of action on Friday, but there were three difficult competitors ahead of him. Atop the standings was Nathan Bjerno, who had rocketed out to a sizeable lead with his 12.415 million chips. Jia Liu (6.815 million) and Tyler Kenney (the only player with a WPT final table under his belt, with 6.03 million) were within sight of Weinman, but he had Richard Foster (5.13 million) contesting him for the fourth-place slot. Nicholas Immekus seemingly was on the short stack (3.55 million) but, in the right situation, Immekus had a stack big enough to be a concern.
With very deep stacks, it was thought that the players would come out slowly (not to mention the $892,433 in first place money at stake). Instead, the men came out like they had a plane to catch. On Hand #10 Kenney, who was very active early at the final table, popped the betting to 200K, only to see Immekus make it 700K to go from the big blind. After a moment’s pause, Kenney four-bet Immekus and he responded with an all-in. Kenney immediately made the call this time, turning up pocket Queens to run against Immekus’ Big Slick. The 7-5-2 flop didn’t hit Immekus and, after a Queen hit the turn, he was drawing dead (the meaningless river card was a ten) and hit the rail in sixth place.
Kenney, now the chip leader over Bjerno, kept the table at bay as they jousted with three and four bets pre-flop, which became the norm. Weinman, on Hand #26, made his move up the leaderboard in defeating Foster in what would be a huge cooler for Foster. Under the gun, Weinman min-raised and Foster confidently defended his big blind with a three bet. A suspicious (but cagey, as it would prove) Weinman thought over his situation for a couple of moments before simply calling Foster’s bet. On the J-J-5 flop, Foster fired all in and there was no hesitation from Foster; he hammered in the call, turning up pocket Aces against Foster’s pocket Kings, and there was no salvation for Foster. In fact, the Ace on the river added insult to injury in sending Foster to the rail in fifth place as the level ended.
With the blinds and antes now at 60K/120K and 20K, Liu was now feeling the pain of the rapid rounds (Kenney, Weinman and Bjerno were all over 10 million in chips) and had to make a move. He found that chance on Hand #32 when, after a Kenney raise, Liu looked him up from under the gun. A highly-coordinated J♥ 10♣ 9♣ flop came and Liu would check call a bet from Kenney. A 3♣ completed any flush draw, which is what Liu represented when he check-raised all in Kenney’s 770K bet on the turn. Kenney, after reviewing the hand in his mind, came up with the call and turned over pocket Queens with the club. Liu wasn’t dead in the hand with his Q-9 off suit to have the same straight draw as Kenney but an inferior pair. A nonconsequential 4♠ on the river didn’t help anyone, keeping Kenney in the lead and with the chips as Liu exited in fourth place.
The three men remaining – Kenney (16.555 million), Weinman (12.24 million) and Bjerno (10.555 million) – would then slow down the action tremendously. Over the next 30-plus hands, it seemed as if Kenney and Weinman would take turns pounding on Bjerno as his stack went down while theirs headed up. The bounty was good enough that Kenney didn’t seem to mind when Weinman passed him for the lead, but it would become a factor in what would be the penultimate hand of the tournament.
On Hand #65, Kenney raised the button only to have Weinman three bet the action from the big blind. Kenney called to see an 8-5-4 rainbow flop. Weinman check-called a 1.4 million bet from Kenney and, after a ten on the turn, would do the same to a three million bet from Kenney. A river trey saw Weinman check for a third time and Kenney would move all in for more than ten million chips. Only covering Kenney by about a million, Weinman agonized over the decision before finding the call, which turned out to be the correct one. Weinman could only muster a 9-5 off suit for second worst pair on the board, but it was enough; Kenney had been pushing the bluff from the start as his K-9 was only good for King-high. Once it was confirmed that it was Kenney who was all in, the mountainous pile of chips headed to Weinman as Kenney headed out the doors of the Borgata in third place.
With such a monstrous lead, it was thought Weinman (33.805 million chips) would make short work of Bjerno (5.545 million). Bjerno would prove to be a worthy adversary, however, dueling with Weinman for 50 hands but never drawing any closer than a 3:1 disadvantage. On the final hand, Weinman would move all in and Bjerno, in need of a double, called with an A-4. Normally in heads up Bjerno’s hand would have been a good fighter, but Weinman’s A-5 had him outpipped and behind from the start. The A-8-6 flop made a chop more of a chance and the seven on the turn eliminated Bjerno from winning the hand outright as a four on the river would give Weinman a straight. Sure enough, that four fell on the river to give Bjerno an unfortunate pair while giving Weinman the eight-high straight to win the hand and the 2017 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Main Event.
1. Daniel Weinman, $892,433
2. Nathan Bjerno, $524,964
3. Tyler Kenney, $327,578
4. Jia Liu, $275,081
5. Richard Foster, $228,787
6. Nicholas Immekus, $184,787
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