$3300 + $200 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Championship NLH
Yung "Andy" Hwang (Houston, TX) admitted he didn't play his best poker at the final table, but he didn't have to. The soft spoken 27-year old let his chips do the talking early in the tournament and when he got heads up he defeated James Anderson (Pittsburgh, PA) to win the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Championship event.
"It's unbelievable," said Hwang who earned $730,053, "I'm at a loss for words."
Hwang had A♠ 6♠ and made a flush on the final hand to secure his largest career payday.
"He's a tough player heads up," said Anderson, who earned $438,698 as runner-up. "I made a pretty light call in the big pot
and probably will be thinking about that one for a while."
Three hands before his elimination, Anderson was deep in the tank on a board of K♣ 7♦ 5♠ 3♥ 2♣ and faced a 4 million bet on the river. Anderson called and mucked when Hwang showed a winning pair of kings.
"I didn't particularly play that great," said Anderson who was crippled after the 16 million chip pot, "but I
don't think I made any mistakes. I just got hands in the right spots and started eliminating people and that's how we got heads up."
Anderson was on a roll when the final six resumed play on Day 5 as he had four straight knockouts.
He first took care of short stack Matt Salsberg (Studio City, CA), a former WPT winner, in 6th place. Anderson then eliminated Jeremy Druckman (Portland, OR), Matt Haugen (Chicago, IL) and Mike Gogliormella (Yonkers, NY) in 5th, 4th and 3rd places respectively.
"He did do most of the dirty work most of the day for me," said Hwang, who said he found himself in some "sticky" spots and struggled to start the day. But that wasn't the case on Days 2-4.
Hwang returned for Day 2 as a short stack, but got an early double-up and went on a rush after the dinner break. He went from 60k to 500k and was third overall in chips when Day 2 play ended.
"Day 3 was cruise control from 500(k) to 3 million," said Hwang, "and yesterday (Day 4) was about the same." Hwang held the chip lead for all of Days 3 and 4 and had it most of the way at the final table.
The tournament began with 1,042 total entries and buy-ins reached $3,438,600 to crush the $2 million guaranteed prize pool.
Mark Ketteringham (Las Vegas, NV) had the chip lead after two starting days and not only grabbed the $5,000 bonus as the Day 1B chip leader, but parlayed his big stack into a 29th place finish.
Scott Herz (Austin, TX) had the chip lead after Day 2, slightly ahead of Hwang, but struggled to make the money in 94th place.
In fact reaching the money was a struggle for everyone as hand-for-hand bubble play lasted more than two hours. Paul Volpe (West Chester, PA) was the bubble boy and missed the $6,637 min cash for 100th place.
Recognizable names who made the money included:
36th Matt Glantz (Lafayette Hill, PA) 16 Borgata cashes
70th Allen Kessler (Las Vegas, NV) - 3x Borgata trophy winner
72nd Jonathan Little (Las Vegas, NV) - 2x WPT winner
77th Matt Matros (Brooklyn, NY) - 3x WSOP bracelet winner
82nd Andrew Badecker (Vernon, CT) 2011 Borgata Fall Poker Open Champion
Familiar faces who made deep runs included:
7th Cuong Phung (Atlantic City, NJ) - June 2012 Borgata Leaderboard winner
16th Russell Crane (Howell, NJ) - 2011 Borgata Spring Poker Open Champion
22nd Jamie Kerstetter (Monroe Twp., NJ) - 16 Borgata cashes
26th Chris Reslock (Atlantic City, NJ) - 3x Borgata trophy winner
In the end it was Hwang who navigated the quality field and took advantage of the deep stacks (30k starting chips) and long levels (75+ minutes) to earn his biggest career win.
"The structure of the tournament is unbelievable," said Hwang who was playing in his first Borgata event. "I hope to be back, we'll see how the schedule goes."
Final Table Results
1st Andy Hwang (Houston, TX) $730,053
2nd James Anderson (Pittsburgh, PA) $438,698
3rd Mike Gogliormella (Yonkers, NY) $265,475
4th Matt Haugen (Chicago, IL) $222,336 (JA)
5th Jeremy Druckman (Portland, OR) $182,514
6th Matt Salsberg (Studio City, CA) $147,671
7th Cuong Phung (Atlantic City, NJ) $117,805
8th Jeremy Stein (Washington, DC) $89,598
9th Kevin Truong (Freehold, NJ) $61,391
10th Adam Cook (Pasadena, MD) $39,821