There were 177 poker players who went to bed happy last night, as they made it through Day 2 of the 2019 World Poker Tour (WPT) Borgata Winter Poker Open, surviving the money bubble which burst on the last hand of the night. Leading the pack is Alex Aqel with 1.260 million chips. Chase Bianchi is close behind with 1.232 million and nobody else has more than 1 million.

When registration finally closed yesterday, the tournament had demolished the record for a WPT event at the Borgata. The old record was 1,313 entries, set at the 2011 WPT Borgata Poker Open, but this one beat it by more than a hundred, coming in at 1,415 entries. There were absolutely no thoughts of an overlay, as the $3 million guaranteed prize pool was also crushed by more than 50 percent. $4,529,415 are up for grabs with, as mentioned, 177 players making at least the minimum of $6,024. Unless you are an ultra-short stack, though, you have your sights set higher. The top seven players will cash for six figures, while the winner will pocket $728,430.

Aqel, who is also listed as Ala Aqel, is obviously in great position to do more than min-cash, which could potentially juice his career tournament earnings significantly. He has about $462,000 in winnings, with his best cash coming two years ago when he won the World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event at the Potawatomi Casino in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for just over $200,000. The Illinois resident has one other six-figure cash, which was also made in Milwaukee in November 2016, when he won a Mid-States Poker Tour Main Event. Methinks he should frequent the Cream City more. Perhaps not right now, though, what with temperatures before wind chill currently in the double digits below zero range.

The other day, we mentioned that Phil Hellmuth pulled off an impressive feat, winning one of the preliminary events at the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open and then hopping right into a Day 1 flight of the Main Event and advancing to Day 2. This week was actually the first time the 15-time WSOP bracelet winner had cashed at the Borgata and now he has another cash to his credit, making it through the money bubble and on to Day 3 with 519,000 chips. Not a massive stack by any means, but certainly a decent amount with which to play.

The plan for Wednesday is to play down to three tables or seven levels, whichever comes first.

2019 World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Poker Open Main Event – Day 2 Chip Leaders

1. Alex Aqel – 1,260,000
2. Chase Bianchi – 1,232,000
3. Nick Schwarmann – 919,000
4. A.J. Kelsall – 895,000
5. Dylan Gang – 872,000
6. Steven Sarmiento – 858,000
7. Brian O’Donoghue – 856,000
8. Zach Donovan – 843,000
9. Ping Liu – 837,000
10. Joseph Di Rosa Rojas – 770,000

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