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Mark Newhouse Wins 2006 Borgata Poker Open

21-Year-Old Pro Takes Home $1.5 Million in World Poker Tour Win

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An amateur player from New York, a seasoned pro looking to win his first major title, a 21-year-old limit specialist, a wealthy Florida businessman, a young poker pro in the hunt for his biggest cash, and one of the most widely read poker authors in the world - by the end of the 2006 Borgata Poker Open final table one of them would walk away with $1.5 million and a WPT event title.

At 5 p.m. EDT, the remaining six players, survivors of a starting field of 540, received official introductions from announcer Linda Johnson, and took their seats on the World Poker Tour televised final table set. Play began with $15,000-$30,000 blinds and $3,000 antes.

The chip counts and seating were as follows:

1. Mark Newhouse - $7,025,000 (seat No. 2)
2. Chris McCormack - $3,000,000 (seat No. 3)
3. Chris Bell - $1,200,000 (seat No. 5)
4. Blaise Ingoglia - $840,000 (seat No. 4)
5. Anthony Argila - $700,000 (seat No. 6)
6. David Sklansky - $665,000 (seat No. 1)

While all the players were backed by cheering sections, Chris Bell enjoyed the support of some very high-profile friends. The third-place finisher at last year's Mirage Poker Showdown, Bell's fan base included Gavin Smith, Mike Gracz, and Erick Lindgren, all three former WPT event champions.

The loudest group probably belonged to Blaise Ingoglia, and the Florida businessman gave his friends and family plenty of reason to celebrate when he became the first player to double up at the BPO final table. Sitting on $769,000 in chips, Ingoglia pushed all in over the top of a Mark Newhouse raise, and Chris McCormack made the call. Ingoglia's Qheart Jheart made him a dog against McCormack's Adiamond Kclub and his situation only worsened after the 9spade 7spade 3club flop and 7club turn. But the Qclub river changed everything, and Ingoglia's fans erupted as he raked the pot.

Despite a series of all-in moves by various participants, the 2006 Borgata Poker Open final table went over two-and-a-half hours without an elimination. Ingoglia ended that streak.

Going all in more times than any other player, Ingoglia's aggressive playing style helped generate the first bustout when he moved all in on a Newhouse $250,000 raise. Newhouse called, but found himself behind after he flipped over Jspade 8spade and Ingoglia showed Aspade Qdiamond. But Newhouse flopped a jack, and then eliminated Ingoglia from the tournament when the Qheart river gave Newhouse a queen-high straight. With his top pair beat, Ingoglia left the 2006 BPO, his first $10,000 buy-in tournament, as the sixth-place finisher ($261,901).

The wait for the final table's second elimination proved to be much shorter. Half an hour after Ingoglia's exit, Bell made an all-in reraise, doubling an initial raise by Newhouse. Given a chance to notch up consecutive bustouts, Newhouse called and had Bell's Aclub 4diamond dominated with his Asspade 9heart. A veteran pro with over $700,000 in lifetime winnings, Bell's hopes of joining his friends as former WPT event champs ended with the Jheart 9diamond 8spade 6heart 2diamond board and a fifth-place finish ($314,280).

For Anthony Argila, his last two big pots in the BPO came against the same player. An amateur player from New York state, Argila experienced great success and ultimate failure in his all-in hands against McCormack. The first Argila-versus-McCormack hand saw Argila double up after his Kclub 6club flopped two pair to beat McCormack's Adiamond 4diamond.

But in the second battle, it was Argila who lost despite having a superior starting hand. After moving all in on a McCormack raise, Argila appeared on the verge of another double-up when he flipped over Kspade 8club to McCormack's Kclub 5heart. A turned 5, however, gave McCormack the hand's only pair and Argila bowed out as the fourth-place finisher ($366,660).

David Sklansky, an accomplished pro and world-famous poker author, brought more credentials to the table than any other player, but the fewest chips. As the short stack, Sklansky survived by doubling up a number of times, including twice through Newhouse, a frequent contributor to Sklansky's poker website twoplustwo.com.

McCormack also doubled up Sklansky…then busted him seven hands later. A series of reraises ended with Sklansky pushing all in for $3,250,000 and McCormack making the call. The last chapter in Sklansky's 2006 Borgata Poker Open became an easy read when McCormack flipped over 10heart 10spade and Sklansky showed 5club 5heart. McCormack closed the book (bad puns intended) by flopping a set, and Sklansky walked off the WPT televised set in third place ($419,040).

The win gave McCormack a 2-to-1 chip lead over Newhouse going into heads-up play.

1. Chris McCormack - $8,625,000
2. Mark Newhouse - $4,350,000

Newhouse, who makes his living at limit poker, wasted little time in changing the dynamic of his match with McCormack. On the first hand of heads-up action Newhouse raised $400,000 and McCormack called. The Kdiamond 8club 5spade flop led to an $800,000 bet by Newhouse, followed by a $3 million McCormack raise, and finished with Newhouse moving all in. McCormack called, and flipped over Kspade 7club for top pair. But Newhouse's Kclub 5club gave him two pair, and the chip lead changed for good after the 4diamond turn and 3heart river.

Newhouse's hyperaggressive play, a style he used throughout the tournament, tempered some in heads-up play. In spite of the shift, Newhouse continued to rake pots, building his chip lead to over $10 million.

McCormack, a 27-year-old poker pro who honed his game in Florida alongside the Mizrachi brothers, doubled courtesy of a flopped pair of aces to crack Newhouse's pocket kings. The win brought McCormack to $4 million, but Newhouse's lead proved to be too big.

At 10:34 p.m., Newhouse moved all in preflop and McCormack called. Newhouse's Qdiamond Qheart made him a favorite over McCormack's Adiamond Jclub. The 2006 Borgata Poker Open ended with a full house, as the Qspade 10spade 10club 5diamond 4spade board gave Newhouse a boat.

Netting the biggest cash of his career, McCormack earned $802,895 for his second-place finish.

As for Newhouse, a $1,519,020 first-place cash prize, entry into the World Poker Tour Championship, and a WPT title were his rewards for winning the 2006 Borgata Poker Open.

"Its nuts," Newhouse, who satellited into the event for $1,000, said about his first major tournament victory. "Just a great feeling."