$170 + $30 Big Stack NL (2 Re-Entry)
A long heads up match capped off a grueling 18 hours of poker, but when the dust settled Tod Liang (Brooklyn, NY) beat Dave Grandieri (Danbury, CT) to win the title and the $23,874 first prize.
On the final hand Liang has A♥ A♠ against Grandier's A♦ 9♥, and when the board ran clean Liang won the first live tournament he's ever entered. "With the internet (poker) being down, I was itching to play," says Liang after an hour and-a-half of heads up play. "It (Borgata) was easy to get to and I knew I had to play."
When heads up play began Liang was down 8 to 1 in chips but doubled up on the 4th hand when he hit trip 6s with Q6 which was initially dominated by AQ. "We were both tired, but I just hung in there."
"Forget disappointed. I want to run my head through a wall," said Grandier, who can't believe he gave up 8 million chips. "What just happened?"
Grandieri, who had his first final table with a 7th place finish during a $500 event in January's Borgata Winter Open, surged to the chip lead with 40 players left. The key hand came when he knocked out Chris Wilson (Vineland, NJ) in a 525k pot, as his pair of 10s dodged Wilson's flush draw.
On the flip side Liang was never above 30 big blinds after only a few hours into the tournament and had to grind his way to the title.
The final table featured WSOP Bracelet holder Shawn Busse (Long Island, NY) who finished 7th/$3,629. He was eliminated just after Borgata regular Leanne Rosenblatt (Brigantine, NJ)
8th/$2,734 and Alex Grace (Fairfax, VA) 9th/$1,889.
The 9-handed final table also included Joel Cartun (Livingston, NJ) 3rd/$8,541, Sudhish "Sunny" Suryawansi (Manassas, VA) 4th/$6,861, Ali George (Staten Island, NY) 5th/$5,469 and Rene Battiston (Clifton, NJ) 6th/$4,524.
The field featured several players who busted early on Day 3 of the Championship Event and included Mike Dentale (Brooklyn, NY), Dmitri Sokolov (Red Bank, NJ) and Mark Wahba (Cleveland, OH), who at one point held the chip lead after knocking out Joe Simmons (Philadelphia, PA)
Other notables of the 603 entries chasing the $102,510 total buy-in included Eric Siegel (Melville, NY), Larry Gold (Farmingville, NY) and Lisa Pickell (Bricktown, NJ).
In the end it was Liang who found a way to overcome a short stack and take home the title.