The Borgata Spring Open that just ended attracted nearly 7,000 entries and about $3.58 million in prize pool money with the biggest winner being Jia Liu, from Brooklyn, N.Y., who won more than $312,000 in the tournament series championship.
Liu, 25, was the winner among a field of 520 in a $2,700 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournament that was the marquee event in a series featuring 21 tournaments that ended Friday.
Liu had to overcome huge chip deficits twice to capture the big prize. When the game became three-handed, Russ Dykshteyn, also from Brooklyn, had a commanding lead with 12 million of the 15 million chips in play. It appeared only a matter of time before Dykshteyn erased the other two at the table, Liu and Larry Abrams, of Mahwah, N.J.
Surprisingly, it was Dykshteyn who busted first among the three.
In heads-up play, Abrams had the upper-hand over Liu with a 3-1 chip advantage. But Liu patiently closed the gap and took control with first a winning straight and then a flush. Liu finished off Abrams when his K-4 beat Abrams’ A-J on the flop.
Liu was philosophical abourt his $312,000 windfall. “I mean yeah, in the real world it’s a lot,” Liu told the Borgata’s official poker blog. “But in the poker world, I don’t know. I could give it back fast. I’ll just have to see where I go from here.”
Abrams collected more than $175,000 and Dykshteyn pocketed nearly $113,000.
The highest local finisher was Lawrence Sharp, of North Wales in Montgomery County, who was 12th for $16,315.
There was a fair number of poker celebrities at the spring open including Philly’s Matt Glantz, Gavin Smith, Cathy Liebert, Paul Darden, “Miami” John Cernuto, Dwyte Pilgrim, Matt Matros, Brock Parker, Bensalem’s Jamie Kersetter and Lee Childs, who conducted two instructional workshops during the tournament series.
Photo: Courtesy the Borgata.