Man Wins Ladies Event at Borgata Poker Open
Runner-Up Nicole Rowe Uses Winnings to Battle Breast Cancer
Nicole Rowe entered event No. 7, a “ladies-only” event at the Borgata Poker Open, hoping for a leisurely distraction from the hardship of having been recently diagnosed with breast cancer.
Over the course of the two-day tournament, Rowe weaved her way through a field of 269 players and found herself at the final table. When all was said and done, she was the last woman standing, but Nicole Rowe did not win the event. That distinction was given to Abraham Korotki of Ventnor City, New Jersey, who controversially entered the tournament despite very vocal objections from both the players and Borgata management.
“I got tired of going home early,” said Korotki, who had just been knocked out of event No. 6 when he decided to register. “I hadn’t had enough poker time.”
Korotki got plenty of “poker time” en route to the ladies final table, where he found himself heads-up against Rowe with the chip lead. After only a few hands had been played, Rowe found herself all-in with A-9 against Korotki’s pocket tens. The pocket pair held, and Rowe was eliminated in second place, good for $11,889.
Rowe, who will undergo a double mastectomy at the end of the month, was disappointed with the finish, but had no problem keeping it all in perspective. “It doesn’t matter,” she said. “It was 16 hours of being cancer free, a diversion from my reality.”
This was Rowe’s second runner-up finish in a ladies event at the Borgata. Her first came in event No. 5 at the 2007 Winter Poker Open, where she earned $17,035.
The New Windsor, New York, resident has pledged $500 of her winnings to breast cancer research and will use the rest to help cover her costs and expenses while recovering from surgery.
Objections and dirty looks aside, Korotki was considerate in victory, congratulating his opponents and pledging a portion of his winnings toward Rowe’s cause. He was unsure at the time, but planned on splitting the sum between charities focusing on breast cancer research, children, and animals.
Korotki pocketed $20,982 for his third career win. He has earned over $650,000 lifetime, including a gold ring in a World Series of Poker Circuit main event in Atlantic City.
Men entering ladies-only events is nothing new. Most states have banned casinos from applying sex-based discrimination to their poker tournaments, but a polite request is usually honored by male cardroom patrons.
However, there have been a few instances over the years, usually for the sake of comedy, where men have entered tournaments dressed in drag. The most famous examples include Phil Gordon and poker author John Vorhaus. (Vorhaus entered the ladies event with the blessings of the management and tournament field.)
In 2007, former baseball player Jose Canseco made headlines when he and five other men demanded entry into a ladies event being held at the Commerce Casino in California.
Note: This report was heavily contributed to by the Official Borgata Poker Blog. Check it out for full preliminary event coverage from the entire series.
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