11AM: Event 10 - $300 + $50 No Limit Hold'em (1 Re-Entry)
Craig Hunkele from Allison Park, PA outlasted 174 entries in a 14 and ½ hour poker marathon climaxing in a heads up battle with Josh Weizer (Meadowbrook, PA) an on-line poker player who was going crazy with cabin fever since the black-out.
But first lets rewind to 11am where players began the day with 10,000 chips and could re-buy through Level 6 and believe me, many, many did.
Some regulars who bought in included the likes of: Barbara Rogers, Wooyang Lin, Marguerite Spagnuolo, Borgata blogger Bradley Utz, and Gordon Eng who was the bubble. Gordon’s last 57,000 was at risk with KK vs the QQ of Frank Libassi (Brooklyn, NY). Queen in the window left Gordon shut out in 19th place without cashing.
Tony Licastro, despite having more than $1 million in career earnings, including a $55,000 first place payday in the 2009 September Poker Open, also did not capitalize on any of the $52,200 total buy-in.
Matt "Muffins" Mazzeo (East Williston, NY), David Eilers (Rocky Mount, NC). and Charles Jones (Pittsburgh, PA) all rocketed up to 50,000 in chips during the first few level but only Eilers cashed for 16th place $760 .
It was a pleasure to meet 14 year U.S. Marine Corp Gunnery Sergeant Randy Barr who is on leave from the Marine Corps Air Station in Cherry Point, NC and will be playing at Borgata until
his next deployment to Afghanistan in August. In a big hand Barr's Queens held up agaist KJ and 6-8 but he also fell short of taking home any cash.
From dinner break up through the final table it was all Craig Hunkele and Josh Weizer as they knocked out player after player and turned this tournament into a two horse race.
After blitzing through eliminations 15-11, the following final table was set: Chris Cruz (Whitestone, NY), Leonard Cologna (Union Beach, NJ), Josh Weizer (Philadelphia, PA), Wazir Baksh (Queens, NY), Chris Farley (West Deptford, NJ), Scott Taleisnik (New York, NY), Barbara Rogers (Lock Haven, PA), Carmen Fiore (Philadelphia, PA), Athanasios Diakos (Jersey City, NJ), and Craig Hunkele (Allison Park, PA).
Third place and $4,810 went to Christopher Cruz from Locust Valley, NY while second place went to "former" internet poker player Josh Weizer. Josh, going through internet withdrawl took home $8,354 for his efforts of which he described as "torturous".
But the winner of the 2011 Spring Poker Open Event 10 trophy along with $15,190 went to Craig Hunkele from Allison Park, PA. His key hand came at the final table when A-9 hit a 9 then held up against 4-4 and A-J all-ins.
This was Craig's biggest Borgata cash ever and he dedicated the entire tournament to his son Jason who is celebrating his tenth birthday today.
On his son's birthday, Craig Hunkele got the cake and blew out the 174 other players candles.