Volpe gets his Borgata Poker Open win

May 24, 2016, Jo Kim, Dave Lukow, Michael Young  

Nearly 600 entrants registered for Borgata’s $2,700 WPT Spring Open in April. After nearly eight hours at the final table, Paul Volpe came heads-up with Aaron Mermelstein, who was looking to defend his WPT Winter Open title, for $356,255 on top. Volpe, a well-known regular in the region, has accumulated more than $4M in tournament winnings and defeated Mermelstein for his first Borgata main-event title.The final table headlined notable experienced players, such as Jack Duong, Jon Borenstein and Ken Smaron. Volpe had come close once before, grabbing second in the $10K L.A. Poker Classic in 2013 for $651,170.

Mermelstein, who has nearly $1.6M in tournament earnings, approached the final table in hopes of claiming his third WPT title.

“I feel great about my overall finish,” he said. “I watched the live stream and Paul played awesome, he deserved the win. It didn’t really go my way, but there is a ton of variance in heads-up poker and I’m happy with most of my decisions.” He won $200,305 for second.

Matt Mendez, who’s been gaining much attention in the poker community as of late, earned his second career trophy after taking down the $560 Event 1 for $213,192.His first trophy came only weeks earlier in Parx’s $2,500 WPT DeepStacks Big Stax for $100,539. Elena Stover came in second for $138,247, close to being the second woman to win a Borgata major after Stephanie Hubbard.

TAJ MAHAL: The property that once hosted one of the most famous poker rooms in the world before closing last year, reopened its poker room on May 13.

SUGARHOUSE CASINO: The room’s first series, Poker Night Classic, ran March 23-April 11.Matt Glantz, SugarHouse’s new poker ambassador, designed 35 events featuring numerous structures with buy-ins ($95-$1,100) aimed to attract local recreational players.

Adam Levitan captured the $1,100 main-event title for $54,586 as 201 players entered. Levitan secured his spot as the leader deep in Day 2 and well into the final table. There were a few notable locals at the final table, including Abe Faroni, Joe “Worm” Palma and Tom Gleason.

Poker Night in America filmed for two days during the series.The live-streamed $25-$50 cash game included local pros and headliners such as 2015 WSOP champion Joe McKeehen, Todd Brunson, Glantz, Shaun Deeb and Ante Up Atlantic City-Philadelphia Ambassador Jo Kim.The episode will air in the fall on CBS Sports.

Connecticut

FOXWOODS: Sean Dwan outlasted 611 entrants to win the $150 tourney at the Big 50 event in April. Playing out of Port Orange, Fla., Dwan earned $11,061 from the $75K prize pool.

Raymond Downing of Portland, Conn., was second, which was worth $5,800. The payday, the biggest of Downing’s career, brought his lifetime winnings to $9,493. He has five cashes.

Shawn Cunniff pocketed $5,120 for third, Jason Medeiros was fourth ($4,467) and Gennadiy Kostrov of Providence was fifth ($4,467). Foxwoods hosts the Memorial Day weekend event with a $120K guarantee May 27-30.

New York

SENECA NIAGARA: The Summer Slam Warm Up runs May 27-28 and 10 players will receive seats for Summer Slam’s $600 main event.

Mid-Atlantic

WSOPC BALTIMORE: New York pro Joseph Cappello won the World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event at the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore, outlasting Matt Bond to win first WSOPC ring.

Throughout the final table, cheers for “Bo Bo” erupted every time Cappello raked in a pot. After nine hours of final-table play, those cheers reached a climax when Cappello flopped a set of eights to win the title and $292,500.

“This (circuit ring) means a lot. It means more than any amount of money I’ve ever won,” Cappello said shortly after the final table. “To win an event like this with all these great players, 890 players, it feels excellent.”

The 35-year-old New Rochelle native bested a field of 894 in the tourney with a $1.5 million guarantee.

It took two hours and 62 hands of play for Cappello to wear down Bond. With his victory, Cappello earned a seat in the season-ending WSOP Global Casino Championship.

Baltimore native C.J. Welch won the $3,250 high roller, which drew 50 players for a $150K prize pool. Day 2 saw 13 players return, one late entry and after an extended three-handed match, Welch won his first ring and $56,250.
The final hand saw Leonard August fall when he paired his king on the flop, only to shove and find Welch calling with pocket aces.

The event saw Maryland natives Greg Merson, Christian Harder and Tony Gregg all play, but only Gregg made Day 2. Chase Bianchi brought a gigantic lead to Day 2, twice what second place bagged, but had a rough day at the felt and busted before the money.

MARYLAND LIVE: High hands are tripled to $1,500 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7-9 p.m. If you have the high hand for the hour, you win the jackpot. The usual high hand is $500.

DOVER DOWNS: It’s another Getaway Weekend at the Crown Royal Poker Room. Starting June 20 at 7:15, there’s a $30 satellite for the $30K guarantee on June 25. One in 10 wins a seat.

There will be a series of events June 24-26, too. June 24 at 11:15 is a black-chip bounty event. First place is guaranteed to be at least $3K. The buy-in is $225. The starting stack is 20K with 25-minute blinds.

June 25 at 11:15 is a $30K guarantee for $225. The blinds are 30 minutes and you start with 30K chips. To wrap up the weekend, on June 26, there will be a $5K guarantee, $75 buy-in. The blinds are 20 minutes and you start with 15K chips.

There are many cash-game promotions in June. After 25 hours of play, you’ll receive $2 per hour of comp dollars. There will be other comp dollar promotions throughout the month, see poker room for details.

Meet Joe Black Reddick

How did you get into poker? While going through trial, then serving 15 years in federal prison for drug dealing, I came across poker. I learned the old-fashioned way, through losing thousands of dollars’ worth of anything that had value (i.e. food, clothing, essentials).

What kind of a player do you see yourself as? I started playing cash and then ventured of into tournaments, which I really enjoyed more. I don’t consider myself a tourney or cash player, I consider myself a card player. I play everything from poker to gin to dirty hearts.

Has your game changed since being released? I’ve been playing since 1993, but only played (stud) and mixed games, dealer’s choice, up until 2008 when I was released.That’s when I began playing hold’em.In just a matter of a couple of years, I started playing live tournaments. Now, I eat sleep and breathe poker. And, yes, I do travel to play. My goal in life is to have played in every casino in the country. My ultimate goal is to play good, make a few good scores and hopefully go the distance in the main event. — Jo Kim