Friday, January 25, 2013

Brian O'Donoghue - Unparalleled

Brian O'Donoghue Goes Back-to-Back During the 2012 BPO

In September of 2012, Brian O'Donoghue (Bayside, NY) accomplished something no one else has ever done here at Borgata and possibly anywhere else.

He won back to back tournaments on consecutive days.

His odyssey began on Monday, September 10th when he entered event 10, which was a $350 + $50 Deep Stack No Limit Hold'em tournament.  The event carried a $100,000 guarantee and drew 615 entries.  Only 48 of those made the cut to return the next day. "I started off losing a lot, down to 10k early...on the bubble, I had 180k and went up to 1 million by the end of day one" O'Donoghue explained.

On day two, Tuesday, September 11th, he began as the chip leader with over 1.3 million chips when the average stack was a mere 320k.  It was almost midnight when Brian had all 15 million chips in play and his first Borgata Open trophy.  He collected $50,132 for the win.

In his post-game interview, O'Donoghue was asked if he would be playing the next day and he replied that he was going to take a day off and relax.  As he was leaving the Event Center, however, some friends convinced him he should register for the next day's event that night since a large crowd and long line was expected the next morning.  O'Donoghue got in line and was the last person to register before registration closed Tuesday night.

After spending some time chilling with friends, Brian tried to get some sleep, but a snoring roommate and muscles that were restless from sitting all day conspired to keep him up.  After sleeping for only an hour and a half, he gave up and took his computer to Borgata's Living Room.

On Wednesday, September 12th, O'Donoghue was in his seat in the Event Center promptly at 11am for the start of play, less than 12 hours after his win in event 10.

Event 15, the $200 + $30 Deep Stack No Limit Hold'em event, also carried a $100,000 guarantee.  It was a one day event, meaning they would play until a winner was determined.  As expected, the turnout was huge and registration line was long.  When the numbers were finalized, there were 1,237 entries in the event, more than double the entries in event 10.  Play continued through the night and into the morning of Thursday, September 13th.

It was after 8am when the final hand was dealt and Brian O'Donoghue had won his second Borgata Poker Open event, along with $51,588.  "I'm speechless" he said after it was over.  "The table was ludicrous.  I had to be very patient but I had the perfect seat position.  With the way the table was playing, I had to just stay patient and wait for my spots."

Now, more than four months later, it still seems unreal.  His life hasn't changed much "other than getting recognized around here a hell of a lot more".  When asked to reflect on his accomplishment, he said "Endurance was the key". 

Brian O'Donoghue started playing poker in 2003 in college and honed his skills online, using training sites like PokerXFactor.  He gravitated to sit-and-gos because they meshed better with his classes and part-time work schedule than multi-table tournaments.  Growing up and going to college in New York, it was natural for him to hit the Atlantic City casinos when he turned 21.  He tried his hand at the regular $100 tournaments, but when he found a backer is when his tournament game opened up.

"The first time I played a $1,000 buy-in tournament I was really nervous" he said. In Spring of 2005, at the ripe old age of 21, O'Donoghue was introduced to his first Borgata Poker Open series, but it wasn't until Summer of 2008 when he had his first breakthrough in a live tournament.  It was the $500,000 Guaranteed Deep Stack NLH event ($2,000 buy-in) right here at Borgata.  He finished sixth for over $90,000.  He was still in college and went on to get his degree in Political Science, but he knew his future was in poker and he played tournaments whenever his schedule would permit.

O'Donoghue is one of the most mild-mannered poker players you'll ever meet. When on the felt, he doesn't hide behind sunglasses or under hoodies.  He doesn't erupt when he takes a bad beat.  He just takes it all in stride.

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