Daniel Weinman emerged from the bottom half of the final table to take a dominant lead and cruise to victory at the World Poker Tour’s Borgata Winter Poker Open on Friday evening, on his 29th birthday.
Weinman began the action in fourth place, with three tough competitors ahead of him. Leading the way was Nathan Bjerno, who had rocketed out to a sizeable lead with his 12.415 million chips. Jia Liuand Tyler Kenney were within reach of Weinman, but he had Richard Foster contesting him for the fourth-place slot. Nicholas Immekus seemingly was on the short stack but, in the right scenario, Immekus had a stack big enough to be a threat.
With very deep stacks, it was thought that the players would come out gradually. However, the men came out like they had a plane to catch. On the 10th hand Kenney, who was very active early at the final table, popped the betting to 200K, only to have Immekus make it 700K to go from the big blind. After a moment’s pause, Kenney four-bet Immekus and he retaliated with an all-in. Kenney immediately made the call, turning up pocket Queens to run against Immekus’ Big Slick. Immekus finished in sixth place.
Kenney, now the chip leader over Bjerno, kept the table at bay as they battled with three and four bets pre-flop, which became the standard. Weinman, on Hand #26, moved up the leaderboard in defeating Foster in what would be a huge cooler for Foster. Under the gun, Weinman min-raised and Foster defended his big blind with a three bet. On the J-J-5 flop, Foster dove all in and there was no hesitation from Foster; he called, turning up pocket Aces against Foster’s pocket Kings, and there was no respite for Foster. He crashed out in 5th place.
With the blinds and antes now at 60K/120K and 20K, Liu was now feeling the pain of the rapid rounds and had to act fast. He found that opportunity on Hand #32 when, after a raise from Kenney, Liu looked him up from under the gun. A well coordinated J♥ 10♣ 9♣ flop came and Liu would check call a bet from Kenney. A 3♣ completed any flush draw, which is what Liu displayed when he check-raised all in Kenney’s 770K bet on the turn. Kenney, after reviewing the hand in his head, came up with the call and turned over pocket Queens with the club. A 4♠ on the river didn’t help anyone, keeping Kenney in the lead and with the chips as Liu was knocked out in fourth place.
The three men were left on the table – Kenney (16.555 million), Weinman (12.24 million) and Bjerno (10.555 million) – would then slow down the action tremendously. Over the next 30-plus odd hands, it seemed as if Kenney and Weinman would take turns pummeling Bjerno as his stack went down while theirs headed up. The bounty was good enough that Kenney didn’t seem to care when Weinman passed him for the lead, but it would become an important factor in what would be the penultimate hand of the tournament. After some significant events, Kenney headed out the doors of the Borgata in third place.
With a colossal lead, it was thought Weinman (33.805 million chips) would make short work of Bjerno (5.545 million). Bjerno would prove to be a tough nut to crack, however, dueling with Weinman for 50 hands but never drawing any closer than a 3:1 disadvantage. On the ultimate hand, Weinman would move all in and Bjerno, in need of a double, called with an A-4. Usually in heads up Bjerno’s hand would have been a good fighter, but Weinman’s A-5 had him beat and behind from the start. The A-8-6 flop made a chop more of a chance and the seven on the turn sent Bjerno packing. Weinman’s eight-high straight was enough to win the hand and the 2017 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Main Event.
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