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2019 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Now on a 5-Week Long Sabbatical; Spencer Sweisford, Jean ‘Prince’ Gaspard & Mike Dichiard Win Side Events

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  • Namita Ghosh February 3, 2019
  • 4 Minutes Read

Every year the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open (WPO) draws big crowds to the Borgata Hotel and Spa in the Atlantic City, and this year was no different. Starting from January 15, the 2019 Borgata WPO enjoyed a full run of 23 events across 18 days.

The series hasn’t closed out yet! The headline tournament of the series i.e. the $3 Million GTD WPT Championship Event was halted at the six-handed final table and is now on a five-week sabbatical. Led by Dave Farah who holds a stack of 18,850,000, the final table will resume play on March 13 at the HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas, as part of televised coverage.

The Championship Event at the series had attracted 1,415 runners, making it the largest WPT event to be ever held at the venue. Amongst the many notable faces at the series was Team PokerStars pro Aditya ‘Intervention’ Agarwal, who made it past Day 1 in the event, but busted late in the day on Day 2.

Even so, side event action continued to churn out winners. On the penultimate day, the Deeper Stack NLH $150K GTD pulled in a monster field of 890 runners with Spencer Sweisford taking down the title for $51,636. This is Swiesford’s largest career score and his first-ever Borgata Poker Open trophy.

Yet another tournament, i.e. the $230 Deeper Stack NLH $50K GTD also played out with 352 hopefuls and topping them all was Jean ‘Prince’ Gaspard who claimed the Borgata Poker Open trophy along with $18,441. For Illinois-based Gaspard, the win has added a second Borgata Poker Open Trophy to his cabinet and taken his live career score to $2.6 Million.

The final event on the schedule i.e. $300 Deepest Stack NLH $100K GTD attracted only 474 runners as compared to last year’s 528 entries. Nonetheless, the attendance smashed the $100,000 guarantee with the final prize pool touching $119,543. The final seven players made a deal on the final table based on their chip counts and the winner was decided in one hand. Cruising past the big stacks was Mike Dichiard who won the final hand to claim the title along with $11,180 in prize money.


Spencer Sweisford Wins Deeper Stack NLH $150K GTD

The Deeper Stack NLH $150K GTD was the 21st event at the 2019 Borgata Winter Poker Open and battling a massive field of 890 runners, Spencer Sweisford won the tournament for $51,636. Sweisford enjoyed a late surge and held strong for the rest of the night to eventually take down the title. He defeated Mark Perry in the heads-up play to take home his first Borgata Winter Poker Open trophy.

The 890-strong entry field took the prize pool to a record $224,458, crushing the $150,000 guarantee. The field thinned out fast but play slowed down considerably near the money bubble.

A short-stacked player then saw his ace-king cracked by an opponent who held pocket kings, with the board bringing a pair of tens and another king on the turn, making a full house for the opponent. The money bubble burst bringing the remaining 81 players in the money for at least $561.

By Level 27, the field had whittled down to the final 18 and Sweisford was in the lead with a stack of 3.3 Million. However, several eliminations later when the ten-handed final table was set, Cody Bell was the runaway chip leader with 4.1 Million in chips, with Sweisford following with 3.7 Million and Bob McGuire holding 3.5 Million. The final table stretched for more than four hours before a winner emerged.

Final Table Recap

Michael Damico was the first casualty on the final table and was eliminated in 10th place. Next to crash were James McKinnon and Bob McGuire who left in ninth and eighth place respectively.

John Hogan had brought the second shortest stack on the final table and managed to survive through the initial play but then ran his ace-ten into Kat Khaterzai’s pocket nines to exit in seventh place.

Kat Khaterzai herself was the next elimination.. She was shown the door by Bell and collected the sixth place payout.

Final table chip leader Cody Bell then moved all in from the small blind with his and found a caller in big blind Bell who held . The board ran out and Bell left in fifth place.

Welther Marmol was eliminated in fourth place after his were dominated by Sweiford’s on the runout .

George Karm found his run cut short in a pre-flop war where he moved all in for 7.7 Million and Sweisford called off.



Sweisford flopped a broadway straight on the runout and with that Karm was drawing very thin. The turn and the river eliminated Karm.

Soon enough the final hand was dealt between Mark Perry and Sweisford where the latter called for his last 6.2 Million and Sweisford turned over but needed to improve against Perry’s . The board ran declaring Sweisford the champion!

Spencer Sweisford
Spencer Sweisford Wins Deeper Stack NLH

Final Table Results (USD)

  1. Spencer Sweisford- $51,636
  2. Mark Perry- $30,077
  3. George Karm- $18,406
  4. Welther Marmol- $15,151
  5. Cody Bell- $12,345
  6. Kat Khaterzai- $10,101
  7. John Hogan- $8,080
  8. Bob McGuire- $6,060
  9. James McKinnon- $4,265
  10. Michael Damico- $2,806


Jean ‘Prince’ Gaspard Takes Down $230 Deeper Stack NLH $50K GTD

The $230 Deeper Stack NLH $50K GTD pulled in a total 352 entries making for a $68,000 prize pool. When the dust settled, it was Jean ‘Prince’ Gaspard who was the last player standing and took home $18,441 in prize money.

Gaspard took on an early lead and never looked back. He went on a rampage on the final table where he eliminated player after player till he was the only one left standing.

The money bubble round was quite short as two players simultaneously hit the rail in Level 22, leaving the remaining 36 players in the money for at least $423. The short stacks fell fast and in no time the event was down to 26 players.

Gaspard took over the field and sent Larry Ribaudo (11th for $888) to the rail leaving the remaining 10 players to play on the final table. He was, by then, holding 4 Million in chips.

Final Table Recap

The ten-handed final table saw quick eliminations as play kicked off. After Frank Esposito was knocked out by Gaspard in 10th place, Rick Zorn and Anthony Anastasi hit the rail in ninth and eighth place respectively.

Gaspard scored his second elimination on the final table, sending Paul Colwell to the rail in seventh place.

What followed were a series of knockouts orchestrated by the eventual winner. Gaspard eliminated John Sykes, John Evensen, Maurice Hawkins and Predrag Zaliac in quick succession.

The heads-up match looked like a formality at the end as Gaspard with his massive chip lead continued to dig into Joe Romagnano’s stack. The final hand saw Romagnano move all in and Gaspard made the call.



The board ran and Gaspard improved to the nut flush eliminating Romagnano in second place.

Jean Prince Gaspard
Jean Prince Gaspard Wins $230 Deeper Stack NLH

Final Table Results (USD)

  1. Jean “Prince” Gaspard – $18,441
  2. Joe Romagnano – $10,243
  3. Predrag Zaliac – $6,371
  4. Maurice Hawkins – $5,122
  5. John Evensen – $4,029
  6. John Sykes – $3,312
  7. Paul Colwell – $2,663
  8. Anthony Anastasi – $2,016
  9. Rick Zorn – $1,366
  10. Frank Esposito – $888


Mike Dichiard Wins $300 Deepest Stack NLH $100K GTD After 7-Way Deal

The $300 Deepest Stack NLH was the final event on the schedule. The $300 buy-in tournament was taken down by Cory Waaland last year, where the final 13 players out of a 528-strong field had arrived at an agreement. This year again, the event saw a deal, but this time it was the final seven players who agreed on revised payouts based on their chip counts, and played out one hand to decide the winner. Mike Dichiard won the hand and claimed the title along with $11,180 in prize money.

Entries kept coming in until the start of Level 9 and by Level 7 the field had already become 400-strong, covering the $100,000 guarantee. Some of Borgata’s most seasoned regulars including James Brady, poker playing couple Leon Motola and April Motola, three-time Borgata title winner Frank Reina were among the known faces seen in action.

The field finally grew to accommodate 474 entries taking the prize pool to $119,543. The Big Blind Ante format that has become hugely popular with dealers and players, was in play.

In Level 12, Dennis Novosel eliminated three opponents in a single hand with his set of tens that dominated ace-king, ace-queen and king-queen.

The money bubble round was lengthy and the bubble finally burst on Level 22 that brought the 45 players in the money for at least $598. The field thinned down fast thereafter leaving only 30 players in the fray. One of the notables to the hit the rail was Reina (33rd for $657) who posted his 76th score at Borgata.

Ralph Macri (12th for $1,554), who had climbed up the rankings to amass a big stack was knocked out places short of the final table by Shaun Hinklein who held pocket aces against the former`s ace-six.

Another player who had risen to prominence but fell whiskers short of the final table was Tyreem Williams (11th for $1,554).

William’s elimination set the final table in motion and it was Indian origin-player Fanikumar ‘Neil’ Patel who was leading the pack with a monster stack of 5.5 Million.


Final Table Recap

Short-stacked Joe Pitti hit the rail first on the final table in 10th place and collected $1,554.

Ed Farah then scored a double knockout in a hand where a 3-way all confrontation saw Farah come out on the top with against his opponents’ and . The four club runout improved Farah to the nut flush and he collected the pot, sending his two opponents out, narrowing the field down to the final seven players.

Following a break, the seven finalists started discussing a deal for an adjusted payout. The stacks were counted and soon, a deal was struck that distributed the remaining prize money as follows: Fanikumar Patel (6,090,000 – $17,225), Ed Farah (5,340,000 – $16,659), Shaun Hinklein (2,61,000 – $11,749), Mike Dichiard (2,340,000 – $11,189), James Kousouros (1,900,000 -$10,206), Regs Villaluna (1,750,000 – $9,848) and Brad Fryman (1,120,000 – $8,179) with each player locking in a payday according to his stack.

The players then agreed to run one hand to decide the winner. Dichiard who was the fourth biggest stack scooped the pot to claim the winner’s spot. In addition to the prize money, Dichiard also added a shining Borgata Poker Open trophy to his cabinet back home!

Mike Dichaird
Mike Dichaird Wins The $300 Deepest Stack NLH

Content & Images courtesy: World Poker Tour/

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