Mar 14 12:35 pm

BPPS 500 (Day 1B): Hovering Near 300 Into First Break

Level 2 (75/150)
Total Day 1B Entries: 170

The Day 1B field is just a few minutes away from their first break of the day and will return to Level 3 after a 10 minute recess.

As we enter the first break, we are also approaching the 300 player mark in terms of total entries.

While that might not be the most important information right now, that total number is important in the fact that we can start to predict the payout structure of this Borgata Poker Player’s Series 500, giving players who are already into Day 2 a chance to see how much longer they need to survive to make the money.

Using that number and our estimates at how much bigger this field will get, t would be a safe bet that close to 36-45 players will finish “ITM” and with today’s Day 1B field already surpassing the field size of yesterday’s flight, we could see anywhere from 50-60 players advance from Day 1B.

That will put us at close to 100 players going into tomorrow’s Day 2, with close to two-thirds of that field missing out on a pay day.

Those numbers will be broken down more when this Day 1B field is finalized and even though it’s early, the money is always on players minds even if we are still ten levels away from the end of the day…

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Mar 14 12:26 pm

BPPS 500 (Day 1B): Starting Off With A Streaker

Level 2 (75/150)
Total Day 1B Entries: 166

Phil Neiman (Flushing, NY)

Phil Neiman (Flushing, NY)

We opened up yesterday’s coverage with the red hot Jose Montes who is on a sick run to start 2015 and we open today’s Day 1B coverage with another player who is on a run, one that has been nearly two years in the making.

That player is Phil Neiman and while he is a former Borgata Poker champion, the reason we’re highlighting him is consistency as Neiman has four figure scores in every major Borgata tournament series dating all the way back to the 2013 WPT Borgata Poker Open.

That’s a seven series stretch and when you also factor in that he’s achieved the same in the last three Parx Big Stax series, the run becomes even more impressive.

That run of solid results has allowed Neiman to build up a tournament resume that boasts just under $250,000 in career earnings and the fact of the matter is, when you consistently put yourself in positions to cash, the cards eventually fall your way to turn that into a big score, something he did during last year’s Borgata Spring Poker Open.

Neiman made one of the biggest scores of his career in the opening $1,000,000 GTD event of that series, just missing out on a podium finish but making us over $75,000 for a 4th place finish.

We talked a few times how this BPPS series could be a ¬†“warm-up” for next month’s massive SPO tournaments and Neiman will¬†look to not only prepare himself for a repeat performance in that opening event but also continue his four figure streak here in the Borgata Poker Player’s Series.

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Mar 14 12:11 pm

BPPS 500 (Day 1B): Already More Than Yesterday…

Level 2 (75/150)
Total Day 1B Entries: 160

We’ve just moved into Level 2 of the Borgata Poker Player’s Series 500 and there are already more entrants today than there were all of yesterday as the tournament field has already eclipsed the 150 player mark.

This is not a surprise in the fact that later starting flights tend to be larger than earlier ones, but we weren’t expecting this kind of turn out this early as there are still close to four hours remaining in the late registration period meaning we will see this field and prize pool continue to grow over the next few levels.

Speaking of that prize pool, we are close to the $150,000 mark and it would be a safe bet to make that the $200,000 mark will be beaten when it’s all said and done.

The tournament tables have begun to fill with “notable” players and features on those players and updates on the Day 1B field size will continue through the early levels.

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Mar 14 11:45 am

BPPS 500: Complete Day 1A Chip Counts

Level 13 (1,000/2,000/300)
Total Day 1A Entries: 133
Players Remaining: 41
Chip Average: 93,500

As is the case with every Borgata Poker event that has multiple starting flights, we try to bring you the updated counts from the previous day’s flights early in the day’s coverage so players can know what kind of chip counts were bagged last night and followers and fans can stay informed as well.

The tournament staff has done a great job producing those chip counts early today so without further ado, the complete list of counts for the players that bagged in yesterday’s Day 1A flight:

Joseph McKeehen 252,700
Mitch Morris 228,500
Tim Stump 201,000
Ken Silberstein 189,800
James Gilbert 184,300
Lana O’Brien 152,900
Lukasz Rutkowski 152,700
Brian Lee 150,900
James Lillis 146,400
Michael McGuinness 142,000
Nathaniel Parenti 131,300
Joseph Baccigalupi 126,900
Mike Dentale 112,500
Justin Morrell 110,200
John Hyland 107,500
Gary Criss 98,000
Jinglin Chen 95,000
Dan DiZenzo 91,700
Mark Ciccone 88,700
Daniel Buzgon 85,500
Thomas Coan 81,400
Pablo Alvarez-Montoya 79,400
Tony Diorio 73,200
Steven Sarmiento 71,400
Michael Woll 70,200
Jose Montes 69,100
Kevin O’Brien 65,900
David Inselberg 64,600
Sal Busacca 62,000
John Alexander 58,700
Mike Azzaro 56,400
Arsitides Santana 53,900
James Kaplan 52,300
Kerry Small 43,600
Erinc Sen 42,400
Matthew Gambino 42,000
Richard DeVivo 37,300
Michael Marder 31,300
Joseph Steur 23,500
James Piccolo 20,400
Howard Wolper 14,900

The complete chip count list in spreadsheet form can be found here.

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Mar 14 11:04 am

BPPS 500 (Day 1B): Final Starting Flight Is A Go

Level 1 (50/100)

The final pre-tournament announcements have been made and the cards are officially in the air for the final starting flight of the Borgata Poker Player’s Series 500.

This Day 1B session will follow the same structure and schedule as yesterday’s Day 1A with players starting with 30,000 chips and playing 45 minute levels through Day 1.

Those levels will increase to an hour in length on Day 2 but players need to get through 12 levels here in Day 1B first, something only 30% of yesterday’s field managed to do.

The registration cage will remain open through half of this Day 1B session and since the “double play” structure of this tournament only allowed one bullet per flight, this tournament is now playing more like a “freeze out” as no re-entries will be allowed.

As soon as the tables begin to populate we will begin to bring you player features from the early arriving crowd and will keep you updated on the overall field size throughout the late registration period.

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Mar 14 10:58 am

BPPS 500: Minutes From The Start Of Day 1B

The Borgata Poker Player’s Series tournament area is buzzing again as the early arriving Day 1B field begins to find their seats with the final starting flight of this opening BPPS event is about to begin.

Over 50 players have already registered for Day 1B and with later starting flights usually boast bigger fields, this “double play” format should see this field and prize pool balloon above most players expectations here today.

The BPPS blog will pick up the action once the cards are in the air, which should be within the next few minutes.

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Mar 13 9:46 pm

BPPS 500 (Day 1A): McKeehen Best, Three Over 200K

Level 12 (800/1,600/200)
Total Day 1A Entries: 133
Players Remaining: 41
Chip Average: 97,000

Tim Stump (Dover, DE) was one of three players to finish Day 1A over the 200,000 chip mark and will return for Sunday's Day 2 session looking to turn his advantage into a big BSSP score.

Tim Stump (Dover, DE) was one of three players to finish Day 1A over the 200,000 chip mark and will return for Sunday’s Day 2 session looking to turn his advantage into a big BSSP score.

Nearly every survivor of Day 1A was mid-way through counting and bagging their chips while the biggest pot of the night was being played out between Mitch Morris and an unknown player at an outer table.

The action was picked up on a flop of {Kh}{Qh}{8d} with Morris check calling a bet of 16,000.

He’d then check call again as the {5c} came on the turn, this time for just over 25,000.

The {9h} looked like the gin card as both flush and straight draws had gotten there, but Morris would check again and then snap call an all-in shove from his opponent, tabling {Kd}{2c} with his top pair being good enough to win a massive 200,000 chip pot.

His opponent was on a semi-bluff of sorts, holding just a pair of eights when it was all said and done, losing the entirety of his above average chip stack on the final hand of the night.

By the time Morris had finally gotten his chips sorted, counted and bagged the rest of the field had already left the tournament area, but it was worth the wait as Morris would finish second in chips, finishing with an impressive 228,500.

That would book end him between the two other over 200,000 chip finishers, as Joe McKeehen finished with just over 250,000 and Tim Stump ended Day 1A with just over 200,000.

There would be a few players overing right below that mark, with Jim Gilbert (184,000), Lana O’Brian (152,000), James Lillis (146,000) and Michael McGuinness (142,000) all finishing with close to double the chip average.

The next way over players would be led by Mike Dentale who finished with 112,000 along with Dan DiZenzo (91,000), Daniel Buzgon (82,000), Thomas Coan (81,000), Steve Sarmiento (71,000) who are all hovering close to the average.

In total, 41 players will advance to Sunday’s Day 2 which will start at 12 PM and that field will be joined by the surviving players from tomorrow’s Day 1B flight, which starts promptly at 11 AM.

The BPPS blog will pick up coverage early tomorrow morning and soon after Day 1B play begins a complete list of chip count from all advancing players from today’s flight will be posted to the blog.

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Mar 13 9:15 pm

BPPS 500 (Day 1A): Driving Dentale Crazy

Level 12 (800/1,600/200)
Total Day 1A Entries: 133
Players Remaining: 47
Chip Average: 80,000

James Lillis (Robinsville, NJ)

James Lillis (Robinsville, NJ)

Mike Dentale is still well over the 100,000 chip mark, but if it wasn’t for James Lillis he might be playing close to triple that as Lillis has been driving Dentale crazy over the last two levels and is now playing one of the bigger stacks in the room.

Lillis started his upswing doubling up through the big stack and then just recently made a move on the river in a decisive pot on a board of {As}{8d}{Ac}{Ad}{9h}.

Dentale just couldn’t bring himself to fold, claiming, “The only hand I can beat is King Queen.” before the rest of the table, half sarcastically called clock on the in thought player.

Dentale would hem and haw about the decision and with three seconds left on the clock would throw in the necessary chips, only to see Lillis turn over {Jc}{Js}, which was good enough to win the pot.

The rest of the table tried to hide their laughter and Daniel Buzgon would say, “I would have bet my first born that you were folding!”

Dentale might be wishing that did what Buzgon thought was almost a guarantee, as he’s given even more of his chips to Lillis, who is peaking at the right time and looks to be one of the leaders heading into the final 15 minutes of Level 12.

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Mar 13 8:40 pm

BPPS 500 (Day 1A): The Cream Always Rises To The Top

Level 12 (800/1,600/200)
Total Day 1A Entries: 133
Players Remaining: 50
Chip Average: 75,000

Joe McKeehen (North Wales, PA)

Joe McKeehen (North Wales, PA)

Don’t look now, but Joe McKeehen is the chip leader of the Borgata Poker Player’s Series 500 heading into the final level of the night emphasizing the point that the “cream always rises to the top”.

McKeehen was featured earlier today as a player to watch through this event as he has one of the most complete tournament resumes in poker with outright wins at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, Foxwoods Poker Classic, WSOP Circuit and four Borgata Poker championships.

But, for all the wins, his biggest score came in a runner-up finish at last year’s WSOP, when McKeehen finished 2nd in the first ever “Monster Stack” event, earning just over $820,000.

That result, coupled with his scores since then have moved him close to the $2,000,000 mark in terms of career tournament earnings and he look’s poised to add to that number today.

As mentioned earlier, this BPPS structure is the perfect “warm-up” for players heading into next month’s SPO Championship and WPT World Championship, events that McKeehen will certainly be a threat to win, as a World Poker Tour title is really the only thing missing from his impressive tournament resume.

McKeehen is currently playing close to 200,000 chips and is the first player to break that mark today.

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Mar 13 8:21 pm

BPPS 500 (Day 1A): Faces In The Crowd (Part VI)

Level 11 (600/1,200/200)
Total Day 1A Entries: 133
Players Remaining: 54
Chip Average: 63,000

As we play towards the mid-way point of Level 11 there are a few notable players that have been briefly mentioned in previous posts during Day 1A action and we felt that they would be the perfect features for our next “Faces In The Crowd” post.


The first of which is former Borgata Poker champion Thai Ha, who won his first major tournament title during January’s Winter Poker Open earning just under $45,000 for the victory. Ha is currently working a below average stack and will look to spin it up over the next two levels.


Most players that have been working Michael Marder’s chip stack through the entirety of this event would have either busted or lost their minds by now, as Marder has rarely ever been that far ahead of his initial starting stack. But, that discipline is why Marder is one of the more consistent players in this field with over 60 rated cashes and $400,000 in earnings to his name.


While the first two players featured are sitting below the chip average Aristedes Santana is on the positive side of that number and will be looking to build off one of the biggest scores of his career as he’s coming off a 5th place finish at the Baltimore stop of the WSOPC where he earned just over $30,000.

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