“Who called the clock?”
Anyone who has played poker before has heard this question asked before, usually rhetorically. It’s the first step in a series of disdainful comments made by a player who is offended that someone would call the clock on them. It can lead to awkward confrontations, especially when the player who had the clock called on him just lost a big pot.
I’m here to tell you that the person who is out of line is probably the one who had the clock called on him, not the clock caller. Although the ability to call the clock on another player, after which a player has one minute to act, has been a rule in poker for decades, it seems that in the “old days” of poker it was somewhat taboo to do so. Well, it’s a new day, especially in tournaments where the blinds are constantly going up and there’s a lot more pressure to increase your stack than in a cash game.
Tanking has become an epidemic in poker tournaments and is very bad for the game. Not only does it make the game more boring and less enjoyable when you have to sit through 2 to 4 minute decisions throughout 8 to 10 minute hands, but it also makes everybody at the table a little less likely to win the event. Per-hand edges are small – the less hands you play per hour, the harder it is for you to accumulate chips and give yourself a chance to win the tournament.
Tournament directors and organizers have gone so far as to consider instituting a “shot clock” in poker tournaments and providing Tournament Directors the ability to call the clock rather than relying on players to do it. I personally stood up at the Poker Tournament Directors’ Association’s (“TDA”) most recent summit while they discussed this idea and told them that while I appreciate their efforts, I think the onus is on us as players to speak up when someone’s tanking habits are out of line. While I think a shot clock would combat the tanking epidemic effectively – and I initially liked the idea – I’ve realized that it would probably be bad for poker in the long run.
On January 30th, 2016 the Borgata hosted their second Charity Series of Poker (CSOP) event and the CSOP’s sixth event overall. The tournament drew 105 entries which generated a prize pool of $18,370 and, more importantly, raised a grand total of $13,275 for Habitat for Humanity of Atlantic County and Community FoodBank of New Jersey. That’s a 74% increase over the $7,638 we raised for the same charities at our first CSOP Borgata event!
The CSOP would like to thank The Doc’s Place restaurant, ProCaliber Poker, and Great Shot Golf for their generous support along with the featured pros and celebrities who took the time to promote and attend the event. We were joined by film critic and Good Day Chicago host Richard Roeper, WSOP bracelet winners Jeff Madsen and Vanessa Selbst, 3-time WPT champion Anthony Zinno, One Drop champion Tony Gregg, and 2015 Borgata WPT champion Asher Conniff. We’d also like to thank all of the other players who came out for an evening of poker for a good cause and of course Borgata for agreeing to host the event as well as making their own donation to the charities!
Recent November Niner and fedora aficionado Neil Blumenfield earned a $1,000 bonus for holding the chip lead when registration closed and Borgata favorite Esther Taylor-Brady grabbed the other $1,000 bonus for the most re-entries. New Jersey poker pro Jamie Kerstetter was the last player to arrive but was also the last player standing and earned a CSOP Borgata title! She picked the first place prize of $5,512, the glass Borgata trophy, and a $500 gift certificate from ProCaliber Poker.
I really wish I had more to report from WSOP 2015, I really do. I wish I had epic stories of success and swings and high stakes action.
The truth of the matter, however, is I had a fairly irrelevant summer, poker-wise. I cashed in just enough events to not take a financial bath while I was out in Las Vegas, and I also played less than I had in previous years due to the freedom afforded me by my Borgata wins. The definite highlight of my summer was watching my close friend Justin Liberto win the $2500 6-Max for his first bracelet! As you could imagine, we had a good time afterwards!
Shortly thereafter, I made my first-ever trip to Europe. My first stop was in Berlin, for WSOP Europe. I had a great time there, cashing three events and making my first ever WSOP final table. After two summers of relative disappointment at the WSOP, it was nice to have a good showing, even if it was in Europe! Also, Berlin is a phenomenal city. I was able to check out their annual Festival of Lights while I was there, which is something you have to see to understand the beauty of – I’ve attached pictures of the event to give you an idea.
While the Borgata Winter Poker Open is in full swing—running events until February 5—the Borgata Poker Room hasn’t forgotten the rest of the month and we’ve put together a great line-up of tournament events and promotions.
First up is a $250,000 Guaranteed Borgata Almighty Stack tournament set for February 13 – February 16. Spend your Valentine’s Day weekend with a 100K stack and some poker love. The tournament is a $400 + $50 two-day event in Borgata’s Signature Room with four starting sessions.
Day 1A: Saturday, February 13 – 11AM
Day 1B: Sunday, February 14 – 11AM
Day 1C: Monday, February 15 – 11AM
Day 1D: Monday, February 15 – 6PM
Day 2: Tuesday, February 16 – 12PM
From February 19 – February 27, the Borgata Poker Room presents another Deepstacks Challenge series, comprised on nine separate tournament events.
Players earned Tournament Leaderboard Points for participating in qualifying BorgataPoker.com online tournaments during the month of January and earned Tournament Leaderboard Bonus Points based on cash placed finished, buy-in amount and total number of tournament entries. Congratulations! The top 30 place finishers won monthly leaderboard prizes, and the top 500 place finishers for the January 2016 Tournament…
It’s not just the Borgata Winter Poker Open in Atlantic City that’s seeing sky-high prize pools. This weekend at BorgataPoker.com, we’re supercharging the guarantee in our Sunday Major.
On Sunday, January 31st at 5pm, step into our $100K Guaranteed No Limit Hold’em Tournament for $200+15. That’s double the guarantee of our regular Sunday $50K GTD for the same $215 buy-in.
You can register for the tournament right now, or win your way into it through a low buy-in satellite.
Don’t forget, just like our regular Sunday Major, the $100K Guarantee comes with one re-entry option. So load your account just in case you bust out early. You’ll be able to jump back in with a fresh chip stack in a snap.
The $3 Million Guaranteed WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Championship event gets underway this Sunday, January 31st at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City. Seated among a large field of would-be champions, you’ll find New Jersey resident Vinny Pahuja proudly wearing a BorgataPoker.com patch. If Vinny looks familiar to you, it’s not just because you might have dined next to him at Fornelletto, one of Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa’s exceptional restaurants. Most likely, it’s because you’ve seen him stacking his way to victory in countless Borgata Poker Open events for the good part of a decade.
“I’ve been coming to Borgata for live events since 2008,” says Vinny from the tournament floor of Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. “I don’t think I’ve missed a major tournament in seven or eight years. I’ve always loved the product. I spend so much time here throughout the year that everyone from the floor staff to the dealers are like family. Everyone is so welcoming that there’s a nice comfort level every time I play at Borgata.”
If describing an Atlantic City casino and the people behind the poker room as family sounds a bit bizarre, take a look at Vinny’s tournament success list and his sentiments start to make a whole lot of sense.
Most recently, Vinny, who has won nearly $2 million playing live poker, finished 60th in Borgata Winter Poker Open’s event #1, a $2 Million Guaranteed Deep Stack NLH tournament that saw 5,101 entries compete for a $2,550,500 prize pool. But that’s just one notch on Vinny’s Borgata bedpost.
Vinny’s top tournament win came back in the 2008 Borgata Summer Poker Open when he finished 2nd for $289,000. He also notched a first place victory in September 2014 in the Borgata Poker Open’s $1,500 No Limit Hold’em tournament for $58,491. That win followed his April 2014 first place finishing the Borgata Spring Poker Open’s $1,000 No Limit Hold’em tournament for $43,648.
I’ve been playing poker full-time for a decade now and am truly blessed to make my living doing something I genuinely love to do. When I go more than a few days without playing I often start to crave the action even after all these years. It also gives me a level of freedom that just can’t be found with most jobs, something that I’m constantly reminded of as I watch my fiancée work long hours with little vacation time as a new attorney.
The only thing that was missing for me after I had settled into my career as a professional poker player was a sense that what I was doing was important and that it was serving a real purpose in society. I’m not claiming that I was going to be a Nobel Prize winner had I not chosen poker, but I’d like to fancy myself as someone who’s smart enough that I was going to have some impact on the world.
And so the Charity Series of Poker (CSOP) was born.
When I was Vice President of my collegiate chapter of Habitat for Humanity, I talked a company into donating a television and a few other prizes for the $10 re-buy fundraiser poker tournament we established. We raised almost $1,000 and had a great time doing it. Fast forward several years to today, where we are doing the same thing on the poker tour with the help of some of the biggest names: poker pros, celebrities, and the finest poker venues in the country.
Congratulations to our 32 winners from the BorgataPoker.com Heads Up Invitational Freeroll Tournament on Sunday, January 24, 2016