Defeating a table filled with local talent, Erkut Yilmaz was able to beat all comers to capture the championship of the World Poker Tour’s Borgata Poker Open on Friday night. Meanwhile, there’s no rest for the wicked as the WPT wagons had already headed south down I-95 to Maryland Live! for their next tournament.
Yilmaz Rapidly Closes Out 2018 WPT Borgata Poker Open
The six men who convened for the final table at the Borgata Poker Open seemed to have a train to catch as the action only took about five hours to conclude. The speed of the final table was also pushed by the blinds and antes, which were extremely high considering the point of the tournament. Yilmaz was in outstanding shape at the start of the action with his 21.575 million chips, but virtually everyone else – Oleg Shnaider (7.75 million), T. K. Miles (5.9 million), Austin Wentling (3.75 million), Liam He (2.575 million) and Anthony Maio (1.4 million) – was under threat by the rising structure.
Maio, looking for ANY way to get back into the tournament, would push only 11 hands into the day with a K-J off suit, but he would run into Wentling’s pocket Kings and be knocked out in sixth place. Now on the short stack, He attempted to recapture the magic he had held earlier in the tournament when he was the chip leader, but he would depart in fifth place when Shnaider flopped trip Jacks against his pocket tens. By the time the break came after an hour of play, there were only four players left with Yilmaz still dominating the felt.
Wentling couldn’t use Maio’s chips to improve his station in the event. Finding a pocket pair of nines to his liking, Wentling pushed over a bet for Miles and, after Miles called, seemed to be in good shape. But Miles, who had Q♣ 9♣, found another lady on the A-Q-8 flop to take a lead that he wouldn’t relinquish. Wentling, with a rather chagrined expression regarding the meager holdings that Miles had called him with, exited the Borgata battleground in fourth place.
Although Miles had taken the lead with the elimination of Wentling, Yilmaz was only biding his time before he reasserted himself. After an opening bet from Miles, Shnaider three bet all in from the small blind and Yilmaz made the call off the big blind. Sensing a trap by Yilmaz, Miles let his hand go and it proved to be the right move; Yilmaz’s Big Slick dominated Shnaider’s A-J off suit and the six high board didn’t help either player. It would send Shnaider to the rail in third place and put Yilmaz back in the lead going to heads up play.
The duo would battle it out for 55 hands – slightly more than two and a half hours of play – before Yilmaz would put Miles away. On the final hand, Miles limped in and, after Yilmaz checked, a 5-4-3 rainbow flop came. Yilmaz check-raised Miles all in and, following Miles’ call, it was anyone’s hand. Although Miles had flopped top pair with his K-5, Yilmaz had the world with his 6-3 for bottom pair and an open-ended straight draw. The straight draw didn’t hit on the turn but a six did to give Yilmaz two pair. A four would also give Miles two pair on the river, but his inferior fives up to Yilmaz’s sixes up wasn’t enough as Yilmaz took the title.
1. Erkut Yilmaz, $575,112
2. T. K. Miles, $383,399
3. Oleg Shnaider, $283,341
4. Austin Wentling, $211,562
5. Liam He, $159,616
6. Anthony Maio, $121,697
Open for Business at Maryland Live!
While the Borgata Poker Open was concluding, the WPT was already getting action going on its next event. The WPT Maryland Live! kicked off on Friday with the first of two-Day Ones. With a $3500 buy in, unlimited reentries and late entry available until the start of play on Day 2, the free-for-all was off and running on Day 1A on Friday.
Ten levels were on the schedule for Day 1A and the players came out in droves for the action. By the end of the night, 203 entries had been received in the tournament but only 69 people would actually survive the carnage to come back on Sunday. Leading the way was WPT veteran Ping Liu, who has a WPT final table on his resume, but a host of top pros waited behind him and, with Day 1B coming on Saturday, he faces a plethora of challenges come Sunday’s Day 2.
1. Ping Liu, 422,000
2. Brian Altman, 385,000
3. Zechariah Montoya, 285,000
4. Mark Sandness, 266,500
5. Matt Vaughan, 226,000
6. Will Givens, 215,000
7. Mitchell Engle, 210,500
8. Joey Couden, 209,000
9. Filippos Stavrakis, 207,000
10. Matt Affleck, 176,000
Notable names lurking in the field include Kelly Minkin (153,000), Matt Glantz (145,500), Joe McKeehen (141,000), Blake Bohn (137,400) and Mohsin Charania (132,500).
Day 1B will start on Saturday at noon in the Maryland Live! tournament arena, where another throng of players will look to build a stack. The tournament will conclude on Tuesday, when the champion of the event will be crowned.