Mar 28 11:49 am

ICYMI: BPPS 1000 Recap

Before we get into profiling the players in the Borgata Poker Player’s Series 1500 event, we want to highlight the winners from last week’s BPPS 1000, where James Petolicchio bested a stacked field and Final Table to claim his first ever major tournament victory and make a $40,000 pay day.

The Final Table that returned for Day 3 of the BPPS 1000 was one of the more exciting we’ve seen in recent Borgata memory, as there were an endless amount of storylines to follow, mainly Vinny Pahuja going back to back to make his second straight BPPS Final Table.

For all the “notable” players in the field and at the Final Table, it was eventually Petolicchio walking away with the title, turning it on mid-way through Day 3 and never looking back en route to the victory.

A complete recap of the BPPS 500 action can be found HERE.

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Mar 23 5:43 pm

BPPS 1000 (Day 3): 1st Place – Petolicchio ($41,032)

Level 25 (15,000/30,000/4,000)
Total Day 1B Entries: 141
Players Remaining: 1
Chip Average: 4,200,000

James Petr

James Petolicchio – Borgata Poker Player’s Series 1000 Champion

Whether you’re referring to James Petolicchio’s demeanor at the poker table or his play, the perfect adjective to describe him would be steady, as even though there were some ups and downs both to his stack and his standing in this BPPS 1000 field, he never faltered, staying level headed throughout en route to his first major tournament title.

There were a few speed bumps but after scoring a double knockout to break the eight handed Final Table stalemate, there was no looking back as Petolicchio more or less dominated the action from that point on, eventually eliminating four of the final six players from this Final Table.

While that double knockout would be the defining hand of Day 3, Petolicchio’s breakthrough came very early in Day 2 as he doubled through then chip leader Steven Cormier in a set over set encounter that would springboard James up the leaderboard as the field approached the money bubble.

He’d continue through the money bubble and enter this Final Table as one of the bigger stacks but this championship run was not only about James, as it was a complete family affair with his brother, Stephen, just missed out on making the money in this event and his father, who was here to see the final hand play out, was in Atlantic City celebrating his birthday, accepting a Borgata Poker trophy as a welcomed belated gift.

James is also going to be celebrating more than his first major tournament win, as it’s his birthday tomorrow as well, making the back-to-back five figure scores even sweeter as his last rated tournament cash is from his WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Main Event Final Table run that saw him finish 5th for $38,000 in a stacked field.

He’d best that finish and payout here today as Petolicchio, who’s nickname that “needed to make the blog” is “Muffin Top”, would take home just over $40,000 for the victory.

That concludes the BPPS 1000 action for this week but there is one more Player’s Series event as the BPPS 1500 will begin next weekend with the blog bringing you updates during the week on qualifiers and providing you with information before Friday’s Day 1A flight.

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Mar 23 5:27 pm

BPPS 1000 (Day 3): 2nd Place – Matrone ($22, 567)

Level 25 (15,000/30,000/4,000)
Total Day 1B Entries: 141
Players Remaining: 1
Chip Average: 4,200,000

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Michael Matrone was short stacked throughout his BPPS 1000 heads up battle and would be unable to find a double up, bowing out in 2nd place for a $23,000 score.

After staying alive with a short stack for close to a full level, Michael Matrone couldn’t get away from top pair in a limped pot and it would eventually be his downfall, as he’d be sent to the rail in 2nd place with Joe Petolicchio being crowned the BPPS 1000 Champion.

The action was picked up pre-flop with Petolicchio limping on the button to see a flop of .

Matrone would check raise all-in and Petolicchio would snap call, tabling with Matrone needing to improve to stay alive holding .

He wouldn’t get any help though as the turn and river bricked out with the and the , eliminating Matrone after a well played Final Table.

Matrone was one of the more up and down players at this BPPS 1000 Final Table as he entered with one of the shorter stacks and then peaked early in the day as he got off to a fast start in Day 3 eliminating Helen Ellis before trending downwards over the next few levels.

Matrone would notch the eighth Borgata Final Table of his career in this Player’s Series event and although he’d end without the major tournament title that has eluded him throughout his career, he’d make just under $23,000 for his BPPS 1000 run.

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Mar 23 4:53 pm

BPPS 1000 (Day 3): The Slow Grind…

Level 25 (15,000/30,000/4,000)
Total Day 1B Entries: 141
Players Remaining: 2
Chip Average: 2,100,000

There haven’t been many sizable pots to report through the first few minutes of heads up play and that’s probably because if there were, Michael Matrone would be all-in and at risk as he has been slowly cut down to just over the 500,000 chip mark and although he is still playing over 15 big blinds, he’s working against not only the blinds and antes but a player with a massive chip lead.

James Petolicchio seems to be in complete control of this heads up battle, not getting out of line and looking to continue to grind down Matrone, knowing that eventually he’ll have no other options left other than shoving light.

It will be interesting to see if Matrone can get a double because if he does, he’ll have a workable stack and be able to play aggressively as he did through the early portions of this BPPS 1000 Final Table.

There are just over 20 minutes remaining in Level 25.

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Mar 23 4:43 pm

BPPS 1000 (Day 3): 3rd Place – Kostoulas ($12,993)

Level 25 (15,000/30,000/4,000)
Total Day 1B Entries: 141
Players Remaining: 2
Chip Average: 2,100,000

Chris Kostoulas notches a second major tournament podium finish after winning the Parx Big Stax VIII 300 event in October of 2014.

Chris Kostoulas notches a second major tournament podium finish after winning the Parx Big Stax VIII 300 event in October of 2014.

In a matter of two hands Chris Kostoulas went from being well stacked to eliminated, showing the swings of tournament poker as he’s been sent to the rail in 3rd place by the massive chip leader James Petolicchio.

The action was picked up on a board of with Petolicchio check raising to 250,000 after Kostoulas fired out a bet of 72,000.

Kostoulas would respond to the raise with an all-in shove of his own, with Petolicchio calling as he was more or less price in and risking a small percentage of his massive stack.

With the given action, you’d have thought that at least one player had a monster but Petolicchio was drawing with and Kostoulas had second pair with .

Kostoulas would just need to fade one card to bring himself back up and near the chip average but he wouldn’t be able to, as the spiked on the river to give Petolicchio the nut flush.

Kostoulas would take the beat in stride and head to the payout cage to collect his $13,000 take from this BPPS 1000 prize pool and while he can’t play a high volume amount of tournaments as he works a regular 9-5 job, he’s certainly showed well in the events he has played, he’s notched his second major tournament podium finish of the last six months here in the Borgata Poker Player’s Series.

The Final Table is tilted to James Petolicchio’s side as he controls a massive chip lead, playing close to 3,300,000 of the total four million chips in play.

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Mar 23 4:33 pm

BPPS 1000 (Day 3): Matrone Gets A Little Bump

Level 25 (15,000/30,000/4,000)
Total Day 1B Entries: 141
Players Remaining: 3
Chip Average: 1,400,000

Michael Matrone (Morganville, NJ)

Michael Matrone (Morganville, NJ)

Back from break and the first ten minutes of Level 25 are playing out just how the last level ended as the three remaining players are still feeling each other out with the deep stacks of Chris Kostoulas and Joe Petolicchio controlling much of the action.

Michael Matrone hasn’t been able to do much with his short stack but he did just pick up a decent sized pot to move himself close to the 850,000 chip mark after Chris Kostoulas would check raise Matrone to 205,000 on a board of only to Matrone answer with a re-raise of his own, moving all-in for just under 500,000 total chips.

Kostoulas could be heard saying under his breathe, “What a bad spot.” before taking a few moments to fold even though he was getting a good price to call.

That wouldn’t be the only factor in the calculation though as if he were to call and be incorrect, he’d be the short stack at this BPPS 1000 Final Table.

As it stands now, Kostoulas is just under the 1,000,000 chip mark and Joe Petolicchio controls well over half of the total chips in play.

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Mar 23 4:07 pm

BPPS 1000 (Day 3): Three Handed Chip Counts

Level 25 (15,000/30,000/4,000)
Total Day 1B Entries: 141
Players Remaining: 3
Chip Average: 1,400,000

The pace of play has slowed dramatically over the final few minutes of Level 24 but then again, any pace would see slow after losing five players in just over a half hour.

The three remaining players are now on a quick break, that could end up being their last depending how the next few orbits play out as we could be crowning a champion over the next two levels.

That remains to be seen though but what we do know is that the chip stacks are all fairly close and even though Michael Martone is the “shortest” stack, he’s not short by any means and one hand can drastically change the dynamic of this three handed Final Table.

The complete three handed counts are listed below:

  1. James Petolicchio – 2,250,000
  2. Chris Kostoulas – 1,450,000
  3. Michael Matrone – 550,000
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Mar 23 3:49 pm

BPPS 1000 (Day 3): 4th & 5th Place – Bonita and Gambino ($10,942 & $8,206)

Level 24 (12,000/24,000/3,000)
Total Day 1B Entries: 141
Players Remaining: 3
Chip Average: 1,400,000

Michael Bonita (New City, NY)

Michael Bonita (New City, NY)

Chris Kostoulas looks like he’s poised to take control of this BPPS 1000 Final Table as he’s brought this field to three handed play within the last few hands.

He’d eliminate Paul Spitzberg in 6th place and then notch knockouts in back-to-back hands he’d knock out Matt Gambino and Michael Bonita in back-to-back hands to take control of the chip lead three handed.

The first hand would send Gambino to the rail in 5th place as he would flop the nut flush draw on a board of while holding and Kostoulas would hold for an open ended straight draw.

He’d hit that draw on the turn as the fell and hold through the river to complete the knockout as Gambino meaninglessly paired up with the completing the board.

The table would barely be able to get situated as Michael Bonita was next on Kostoulas’ chopping block, as the action was picked up with Michael Matrone raising in early position only to see the short stacked Bonita move all-in next to act.

Kostoulas was in the big blind and would take an inventory of his chips before calling, with Matrone quickly folding behind.

The two would be racing as Bonita held and Kostoulas held .

The big stack would shoot into the lead on the flop as the board came down and Bonita couldn’t find the help he’d need despite turning a flush draw, eventually being eliminated in 4th place.

Bonita was hampered by a short stack for much of the last few levels, even dating back to yesterday’s Day 2 and he’d say, before collecting his payout ticket, “Can’t complain, I played like a legend.”

We can’t argue against that as Bonita played flawlessly with a short stack to make some very valuable pay jumps and it would have been interesting to see how he would have faired if he was ever able to get over the chip average.

The final three are now playing down to a BPPS 1000 Champion and their chip counts will be updated during the next break, which is less than 10 minutes away.

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Mar 23 3:36 pm

BPPS 1000 (Day 3): 6th Place – Spitzberg ($6,839)

Level 24 (12,000/24,000/3,000)
Total Day 1B Entries: 141
Players Remaining: 5
Chip Average: 850,000

Paul Spitzberg (Tenafly, NJ)

Paul Spitzberg (Tenafly, NJ)

When it was all said and done, Paul Spitzberg can go home knowing that he played nearly perfect poker as two hands at this BPPS 1000 Final Table would just not go his way, the first when he ran his big slick into Michael Matrone’s pocket Kings and the next when he got unlucky in a blind versus blind encounter with Chris Kostoulas that would eventually send him to the rail.

The action was picked up with the table folding to Kostoulas in the small blind and he’d open shove and get almost instantly called by Spitzberg in the big blind.

It was a clear “steal” attempt and Kostoulas would be searching for a pair to save himself from being crippled as the bigger stack held to Spitzberg’s .

But, Spitzberg would get unlucky as the board would run out , sending Spitzberg to the rail in 6th place and bringing a sigh of relief as he knew how close he was to giving up a decent percentage of his chips.

Spitzberg would add to his already impressive tournament resume, making just under $7,000 for his BPPS 1000 Final Table run.

Almost immediately after the hand that eliminated Spitzberg, Chris Kostoulas was at it again, bringing this field down to four players…

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Mar 23 3:27 pm

BPPS 1000 (Day 3): Six Handed Chip Counts

Level 24 (12,000/24,000/3,000)
Total Day 1B Entries: 141
Players Remaining: 6
Chip Average: 700,000

Vinny Pahuja (New York, NY) was eliminated in the double knockout that saw this BPPS 1000 Final Table quickly get down to it's final six players.

Vinny Pahuja (New York, NY) was eliminated in the double knockout that saw this BPPS 1000 Final Table quickly get down to it’s final six players. He’d finish in 7th place, after making a 5th place run in last weekend’s BPPS 500. 

After going close to three full levels without an elimination there was a double knockout to leave just six players remaining at this BPPS 1000 Final Table, their chip counts are as follows:

  1. Michael Bonita – 325,000
  2. Matt Gambino – 400,000
  3. James Petolicchio – 1,600,000
  4. Chris Kostoulas – 600,000
  5. Paul Spitzberg – 350,000
  6. Michael Matrone – 1,100,000
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