The two starting flights of the World Poker Tour (WPT) Borgata Winter Poker Open Main Event have come and gone and tournament organizers can breathe a sigh of relief, as the tournament has eclipsed its $3 million guaranteed prize pool. Through Days 1A and 1B, there were 1,023 entries ($3,300 + $200), allowing the total prize pool to just break that guarantee. Re-entries are permitted through Level 10, which is just about to end as this is being written, so we’ll see if last year’s Borgata Winter Poker Open record of 1,312 can be beaten.

Leading the field into Day 2 is Shaun McBride, who amassed 224,200 chips during Day 1B, easily more than Day 1A’s leader, 191,100. That’s not entirely unexpected – Day 1B had twice as many entries as did Day 1A, so there were more chips in play and therefore a better chance that the chip leader would gather a few more than his or her counterpart in the previous flight.

McBride has earned more than $200,000 on the live tournament circuit, sticking mainly to smaller buy-in regional events. According to his profile on, he looks like he has become a regular on the World Series of Poker Circuit, with eight cashes in the past year or thereabouts. He had three small cashes at the 2017 WSOP in Las Vegas and cashed twice in preliminary events at the Borgata Winter Poker Open. McBride’s largest cash was one of his first: just shy of $100,000 for winning an event at the Deep Stack Extravaganza III in 2009.

The rest of the top of the leaderboard is largely filled with players whose names most readers wouldn’t recognize. Jonathan Little is there, as are Shankar Pillai and the seventh place finisher at the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open that just finished, Nick Schwarmann, but that’s about it. Poker veteran Amnon Filippi, who used to be a regular in WPT events, but hadn’t played in one for quite some time until now, told, “It’s unbelievable how many new people are playing here at Borgata. I only recognize about 10 people.”

And that’s one of the great things about poker. Anyone with a buy-in can play and who knows, maybe one the “no-names” listed below will become the next household name in the poker world.

2018 World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Poker Open Main Event – Day 1A Chip Leaders

1. Luke Blindert – 191,100
2. Ricardo Amidani – 179,200
3. Geoff Cudd – 167,600
4. Denys Shafikov – 166,500
5. Joseph Giulino – 165,100
6. Eric Panayiotou – 143,500
7. Jose Cayetano – 142,600
8. David Butkus – 140,800
9. Ken O’Donnell – 133,200
10. Thomas Reynolds – 128,800

2018 World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Poker Open Main Event – Day 1B Chip Leaders

1. Shaun McBride – 224,200
2. Nick Schwarmann – 177,700
3. Johanssy Joseph – 176,000
4. Troy Longo – 166,700
5. Raghuram Jonnalagedda – 154,400
6. Jonathan Little – 148,800
7. Almedin Imsirovic – 146,500
8. Chris Orme – 143,200
9. Christopher Thompson – 131,900
10. Shankar Pillai – 125,100

2018 World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Poker Open Main Event – Combined Day 1 Chip Leaders

1. Shaun McBride – 224,200
2. Luke Blindert – 191,100
3. Ricardo Amidani – 179,200
4. Nick Schwarmann – 177,700
5. Johanssy Joseph – 176,000
6. Geoff Cudd – 167,600
7. Troy Longo – 166,700
8. Denys Shafikov – 166,500
9. Joseph Giulino – 165,100
10. Raghuram Jonnalagedda – 154,400

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