The $3,000 buy-in Main Event of the 2009 Borgata Winter Open recently concluded and emerging victorious from the pack of 1,017 entrants was poker pro Steve Weinstein, who goes by the screen name thorladen online. Weinstein is also a world-renowned bridge player.

Originally scheduled to be a stop on the seventh season of the World Poker Tour (WPT), the Borgata Winter Open was scrapped from the schedule last November. The casino, the largest in Atlantic City, remains the host of the Borgata Poker Open each September. In 2008, the tournament was won by Vivek Rajkumar, better known as Psyduck in the online poker world. Weinstein’s win was worth $520,000 after a four-way chop in the $2 million guaranteed event. The tournament actually shattered its guarantee by a wide margin, as over $3 million was in the prize pool.

Weinstein hails from Andes, New York and has set numerous records in the game of bridge, which he gained notoriety for in the 1980s. He won the PokerStars Sunday 500 tournament last November for over $90,000. The $500 buy-in $500,000 Guaranteed event is among the richest recurring poker tournaments held. His win in the Sunday 500 occurred one month removed from a victory in another high-stakes event, the $200 rebuy ($200,000 Guaranteed) on PokerStars; he received a $51,000 payday for his efforts.

Here were the top 10 finishers in the Borgata Winter Open Main Event. The paydays given by casino officials do not reflect the tournament’s four-way chop:

1st Place: Steve Weinstein (Andes, New York), $658,405
2nd Place: Todd Terry (Hoboken, New Jersey), $434,767
3rd Place: Robert Merulla (New York, New York), $236,452
4th Place: Robert McLaughlin (Washington, D.C.), $205,942
5th Place: Michael Contessa (Rochelle Park, New Jersey), $175,432
6th Place: Franklin Caldwell (Nicholasville, Kentucky), $144,922
7th Place: Ory Hen (Hollywood, Florida), $114,412
8th Place: Carl Pion (Brampton, Canada), $83,902
9th Place: Charles Marchese (Shoreham, New York), $61,020
10th Place: Shawn Paul Pilot (North Hills, California), $39,663

Terry won a $1,500 buy-in World Series of Poker (WSOP) Circuit Event tournament at Harrah’s Atlantic City in 2006 for $96,000; Team PokerStars Pro member Vanessa Rousso was among those at the final table. McLaughlin made two final tables during the WSOP festivities in Atlantic City in December, taking home a total of $81,000. Pilot finished 271st in the 2008 WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas for $35,000. The tournament, in the end, was won by Danish poker player Peter Eastgate, who became the youngest WSOP Main Event winner ever at age 22, breaking the mark set by Ultimate Bet pro Phil Hellmuth.

Weinstein commented to Borgata officials on the tournament’s structure, saying, “The structure was tremendous. I’m not a tournament player; I play cash games, so to have a deep stack event like this with so much play was great. For someone who loves post-flop poker, it was excellent.” He entered the final day of play in 17th place out of 27 contestants. Others who battled it out at the famed casino included Team PokerStars Pro member Victor Ramdin, online poker legend and WSOP bracelet holder Cliff “JohnnyBax” Josephy, 2007 WSOP Main Event final table member Hevad Khan, Ultimate Bet Star Player Tiffany Michele, and poker pro Anna Wroblewski. The latter won a $2,500 preliminary event during the World Poker Tour’s Festa al Lago in 2008.

Last January’s running of the Borgata Winter Open, which was held as part of the sixth season of the WPT, was won by Gavin Griffin. He won $1.4 million for his efforts as well as a place in poker history by becoming the only player ever to win titles on the WPT, WSOP, and European Poker Tour. There were 507 entrants in the final running of the WPT sanctioned event, generating a prize pool of nearly $5 million.

The Borgata’s poker room consists of 85 tables. The casino itself is home to 4,100 slot machines as well as 200 gaming tables.

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