We welcome Asher Conniff as a guest blogger to Borgata Poker Blog! Asher made Borgata history by winning Borgata Spring Poker Open Kickoff event and Borgata WPT World Championship, both of which he qualified for on BorgataPoker.com online satellite events.
Coming into Sunday, I had already had one of the best weeks of my life. Ten days before, I had turned a $60 satellite on BorgataPoker.com into a $560 seat in the Borgata Spring Poker Open $1 million guaranteed kick-off event, a seat which I then turned into the first place prize of $203,231. After years of grinding poker tournaments full-time, both live and online, it was wildly fulfilling to see the fruits of my labor. Needless to say, between the large sum of money I won and the sweet, sweet vindication of beating my good buddy Matt Stout heads up, I was pretty damn happy!!
Back to “that” Sunday. I was at my next-door neighbor’s apartment in Brigantine, NJ, a stones throw away from Borgata. As we often did, a group of 6 or so of us had gotten together that day to hang out while we all played online poker tournaments. Our ritual: we order food, watch sports and talk through hands on our breaks. Armed with a freshly renewed bankroll and sense of confidence, my levels of relaxation were extremely high, and how could they not be!? I also was overjoyed to be heading to Europe the next week with my mother and sister, a vacation that was to span over 2 weeks and had been planned over 6 months prior. Having never been to Europe, I was super excited, and this was obviously the ideal time to be going on vacation. I even skipped the $3500 buy-in Borgata Spring Poker Open Championship event in anticipation of this trip, knowing that if I was to win/nearly win the tournament I would miss my flight!
That Sunday was the final day of the BorgataPoker.com Garden State Super Series (GSSS). As is standard, the final day saw plenty of awesome tournaments running at all different price points throughout the day. One of those tournaments was a $1k buy-in high roller tournament. Another was a $1500 buy-in satellite to the $15000 buy-in WPT World Championship at Borgata, which was scheduled to start a few days later. Knowing that the satellite winners had no choice but to play in the tournament if they won seats, and using the same logic with which I had skipped the $3500 Borgata Spring Poker Open Championship event earlier in the week, I couldn’t play this satellite as the WPT World Championship event clashed directly with my European vacation. Therefore I concluded I would have to suffice with playing the various other GSSS tournaments, and “sweating” my buddies as they tried to win their seats.
Already playing a handful of tournaments, I scrolled through the BorgataPoker.com lobby and went to register for the GSSS $1k buy-in high roller event. I sat in my seat, and a few seconds later I noticed that I had a 3000 chip starting stack. I instantly was confused, as most high roller tournaments online will start you with a lot of chips, usually 10,000+. I pulled up the lobby and, to my horror, I had “misclicked”, and accidentally registered for the $1500 satellite to the WPT World Championship! I instantly freaked out!! To add to the irony of the situation, my online username on BorgataPoker.com is, yes, “misclick”! After talking to my buddies and being calmed down, we all agreed that the best course of action was to play the satellite to the best of my abilities, and then hope if I won I could find a way to transfer the seat, or get a refund; I knew this was highly unlikely to happen, but what other choice did I have, really?
Fast forward 5 hours or so, the 30 entrants had whittled down to 3, and I had just won my seat into the WPT World Championship at Borgata!!! While a part of me was excited, a much larger part of me was nervous, and not because of the $15,000 buy in or anything like that. I simply didn’t want to let my mom down. I knew how much this vacation meant to her, and how much family and family time mean to her. I reached out to the Borgata, who, fairly, told me that the rules are the rules, and that exceptions weren’t allowed. I had no choice but to either stay and play the tournament, or go on vacation and swallow $15,000 in equity. So I did what anyone in this situation would do … I called my mom! When we first spoke, I could sense her frustration, and also her apprehension at the honesty of the story, specifically my accidental registration in the tournament. We talked for a while, and the conversation ended with us agreeing to think things over and get back in touch. A few hours later, my phone rang. It was my angel of a mother, telling me that she realized that I HAD to play the tournament; that maybe, just maybe there was some fate at play here; and that only an idiot would take a $15,000 loss to make a vacation on time. We agreed that I would play, and whenever it was over for me I would catch the next flight out of America and meet them. I find no words to describe the sense of relief I got from hearing her support and logic, and I also find no words to properly describe her in general, as she is an amazing woman and someone who anyone would be lucky to have as a mother. With her blessing, I made the decision to stick around and give this WPT World Championship a shot. The rest, as they say, is history.