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Borgata Fall Poker Open Main Event, Day 1

by Andrew Brokos |  Published: Nov 25, '13


I’m skipping ahead a bit in time here in my chronicling of Carlos’ and my trip to AC, but there are a few of you with a financial interest in this, so I figured you’d want to know how it’s going right away. Also, Carlos and I recorded a “live” conversation about the trip so far that you’ll be able to hear on the podcast episode I’ll publish later today.

Edit: Somehow failed to record my conversation with Carlos, so won’t be able to include that tonight after all. Sorry, show is going to be a bit shorter than usual as a result.

Anyway, I finished Day 1A with 110,500 chips. We started with 30K, and the average is probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 60K, so I’m pretty pleased with that result. It was a wild ride, though, with a lot of ups and downs.

I recognized only one player at my starting table, but he was the very accomplished Darren Elias, so that was enough to make it a potentially tough table. Fortunately, he was sitting just a few spots to my right, and the rest of the table didn’t seem too challenging (though a few of them surprised me in that regard).

Darren had a few of the weaker players on his immediate right, and he was just making life hell for them in the early-going, using his position and the deep stacks to apply a ton of pressure when they were obviously weak. Though it was frustrating to see so many chips flowing into his capable hands, this ultimately proved beneficial for me.

We were still at the 25/50 level when I overcalled a raise with 66 in the small blind and got an AA6 flop. The pre-flop raiser, one of the guys Darren had been picking on, bet 300, I raised to 1200, and he quickly called. I doubted he could fold an Ace, but I didn’t want to count on him doing the betting for me, so I needed to find a way to get as much of the 23K remaining in his stack into the pot. I started by overbetting the turn, tossing a 5K chip into a pot of about 3600. To my delight, he quickly shipped his whole stack, and I was happy to call. I faded seven outs to bust his AJ and nearly double up. Darren primed him, but I was the one to benefit from the resulting blow-up.

The whole table was talking about how crazy it was for him to go broke there, but two players were especially vocal about it. I made a mental note to run big bluffs on them in the near future, which is how I managed to get my stack back below 30K before the antes kicked in. Apparently some poker players talk a better game than they play, who knew?

The first of these bluffs began with me raising 88 under the gun. One of the talkers three-bet from middle position, I called, and we saw a A46 flop. We both checked. I’d seen this guy limp and call AK before, so I wasn’t sure he’d 3-bet it against an UTG raise, and I also thought he’d probably bet the flop if he had it. So, when the turn brought a 5, I overbet the pot, 2500 into 1750 or so. He called.

The river paired the 6, I bet 7000, and he agonized and called with AQs. I can really only chalk that up to a bad read and/or a good job of mixing up his play, as he’d showed up with a hand I hadn’t expected to see.

The next big bluff came a while later, when I’d overcalled a raise from the other big talker with Kd 4d on my big blind. The flop came 88J with two diamonds. I checked, he bet less than half the pot, got one call, I made a pot-sized raise, and the pre-flop raiser quickly shoved about three times the pot. I didn’t see his cards, but based on the situation I highly doubt he had better than one pair. With somewhat shallower stacks I could actually see calling with my hand, but the real possibility of him having AA, AK, KJ, or the nut flush draw, all hands that kill some of my outs, made me want to fold.

I reined in the aggression and set out to make the most of my spewy table image. I got the opportunity when I overcalled a raise with 44 on the button only to have the small blind put in a squeeze. Someone else called in front, and there was still a lot of money behind, so I called again, still looking to set mine. The KJJ flop was no help, but we checked it around. I was still done with my hand on a 9 turn, but we checked it again.

And then there it was, a beautiful 4 on the river. Now the small blind bet 2500, about a third of the pot. The other guy folded, and I threw out two blue 5K chips. He shrugged and called, disgustedly throwing away his Aces when he saw my hand.

Not long after that, I flatted a raise with JJ only to have this same guy jam behind me. He ended up having AQs, so it wasn’t as great as I was hoping but still a good spot for me, and I was lucky enough to win the flip and eliminate him.

Both players I busted were replaced with much, much tougher tournament players. Also, the long-vacant 9 seat on my left was finally filled by Orson Young, a regular in the highest stakes cash games at the Borgata.

I kept my held down and was lucky to get into some pretty good spots and keep accumulating chips, both and without showdown, mostly by making strong hands. Both Orson and Darren were eventually eliminated, but both were replaced by beastly new players, including another winning regular in the big Borgata games. Thankfully by that point there was only an hour left in the day, and I managed to avoid spewing off to any of them.


Andrew Brokos is a professional poker player, writer, and teacher. He is also an avid hiker and traveler and a passionate advocate for urban public education. You can find dozens of his poker strategy articles at and more information about group seminars and one-on-one coaching at

Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of


8 years ago

How do you know those " talkers" weren't setting You up?


8 years ago

Maybe they were!


8 years ago

Good Luck Andrew! gogogogo!


8 years ago

Thank you sir!

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