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.
It’s that family feeling and a great poker product that brings Vinny back to Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa over and over again. But it’s not necessarily the only reason the New Jersey resident is back this year. Credit, this time, is due to BorgataPoker.com.
BorgataPoker.com is the largest state-regulated online poker room in the Garden State, offering players in New Jersey the chance to play tournaments and cash games on their Mac or PC, or on the go on smartphones and tablets. And it’s where you’ll frequently find Vinny when he’s not playing live.
“I’ve always respected the live product, so when it came to Borgata launching online, I made the move to New Jersey from New York. If Borgata wasn’t one of the options open to me, I likely wouldn’t have made the move to New Jersey.”
It turned out to be a smart move. Vinny has seen lots of success, winning online tournaments and benefiting from things like The Grind, BorgataPoker.com’s monthly promotion that awards players with up to $4,500 in cash and tournament tickets, just for playing real money poker.
Perhaps his biggest success to date came on Sunday, January 17th and Monday, January 18th when Vinny steamrolled two small online satellite buy-ins into seats in this year’s Borgata Winter Poker Open land-based tournament series.
Vinny’s first win came on Sunday, when he turned a $400 buy-in at BorgataPoker.com into a seat in the $3,500 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Championship. The online Super Satellite awarded one seat for every 10 players in the tournament. Then, on January 18th, Vinny entered a $45 buy-in online satellite and won his seat into the Borgata Winter Poker Open event #1, the $560 buy-in tournament in which Vinny finished 60th for over $5,000.
BorgataPoker.com is famous for blurring the line between the online and live poker worlds. In addition to offering players the chance to satellite into Borgata Poker Open events (tournament series scheduled five times per year), the online poker room is home to a weekly Experience Borgata contest, which offers players the chance to win a one-night stay at Borgata in Atlantic City, plus dinner and tickets to a show.
While BorgataPoker.com complements the live world, it’s made a name for itself as a destination all its own, with big weekly guarantees (BorgataPoker.com guarantees over $250,000 each week), rewarding promotions, and the option to play from anywhere in New Jersey on a variety of devices.
Starting February 28th and running through March 13th, the online poker site hosts the fourth Garden State Super Series, with buy-ins ranging from $20 to $1,060 and qualifiers running as low as $2. You’ll find Vinny Pahuja playing in that series, too. After all, Borgata in Atlantic City and BorgataPoker.com are family.